Spend the day learning about wine from Napa Valley expert Paul Wagner and College of Charleston Business School Professor John Crotts.

This full day of wine education is split into two sessions. In the first session, wine distributors and wine sellers will enjoy learning specific techniques about selling wine as a product. In the second session, everyone from the wine distributor to wine seller to wine aficionado will learn how to talk about wine by using story telling.

Everyone who attends one or both wine education classes will receive Continuing Education Units for their time spent in class. Also, attendees will have the opportunity to network with Paul Wagner, John Crotts and others in the industry.

A special congratulations to the co-authors of Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets to Building a Consultative Selling Approach. This book was recently awarded the top spot in its category by Gourmand International for drink-related business books published in the United States. Co-authors Paul Wagner and John Crotts will be leading the workshops. Read more about the book’s award and its connection to the College of Charleston on our blog.

Wine Sales: A Consultative Approach for Distributors

TBD  |  $125 

Wine education is a hot topic with at least three major organizations offering education: The Court of Master Sommeliers, The Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and the Society of Wine Educators.  Those programs, and the schools that offer these courses, are swamped with enthusiastic students.  But the missing element is how to sell wine as a product on any level.  That is the one skill that is essential for success in the business.

This course focuses on how the buyer-supplier relationship develops and hones the skills needed to succeed as a sales representative, provides practical step-by-step examples of successful techniques and gives hard-bitten sales tactics that are proven to work in the marketplace.

The curriculum and exercises are the result of a lifetime of work with some of the top buyers in the world of wine—they know what salespeople do wrong, and what they do right.

This course will be co-taught by Paul Wagner and College of Charleston professor, John Crotts, Ph.D. 


Learn How to Tell the Stories Behind Your Favorite Wine

TBD  |  $75

Impress your clients, friends and family by learning the stories behind the wine you’re selling and drinking. This workshop with Paul Wagner will give you the tools and perspective you need to talk expertly about wine, starting today.

Individuals with a passion for personal wine collections will also enjoy learning about how to share the story of their personal wine collection with friends and family.

Wine distributors and sellers will appreciate Wagner’s nuts and bolts approach to selling wine. In this workshop, he provides a highly practical guide to the process of selling more wine to your customers, whether they be in a restaurant, a tasting room or a wine shop. Based on the material included in his award-winning book Wine Marketing and Sales, which was honed via countless workshops with major wine sales companies and presentations at conferences such as TexSom, this workshop will teach you how to use storytelling to talk about wine.

This course teaches you what you need to know to sell, not with high-pressure tactics, but with consultative techniques that create rapport, build relationships, and close deals. This workshop provides both the theory and the practice of proven sales techniques adapted specifically for the world of wine.

This course will be taught by Paul Wagner. 


author and instructor paul wagner

Paul Wagner has been an instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department for the past twenty-five years. He has also been a guest lecturer at many universities and has spoken at more than eighty conferences throughout the world. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. His recent book, co-authored with John Crotts, Ph.D., and Byron Marlowe, received Gourmand International's top award for the USA in the best wine book for professionals category.

Wagner of also founded Balzac Communications & Marketing, serving a host of clients including:

  • Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux
  • Caymus Vineyards
  • Seagram Chateau and Estate Wines
  • Consorzio di Chianti Classico
  • Furmint USA
  • La Rioja Alta A.S.
  • Constellation Wines
  • Sogevinus of Portugal, Bodegas Salentein
  • Villa Trasqua
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
  • Regione Siclia

author and instructor paul wagner

John C. Crotts, Ph. D., is a Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the School of Business at the College of Charleston. His research and teaching encompasses the areas of sales and negotiations. Crotts and Paul Wagner co-authored Wine Distribution Sales: A Consultative Selling Approach along with Byron Marlowe of Washington State University’s wine business program. This book recently received Gourmand International's top award for the USA in the best wine book for professionals category.

The proposed distribution sales process he will purport is based on more than three years of research in personal selling skills gleaned from countless interviews with effective wine sales professionals and the buyers they call upon.

Educated at Appalachian State, Minnesota State, and the University of Oregon, Crotts earned a Ph. D. in Leisure Studies and Services from the University of Oregon in 1989. His recent continuing education includes executive trainings on negotiations from Harvard University and Northwestern University.

Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets to Building a Consultative Selling Approach

Book signing and reception beginning at 3 p.m.  |  option to purchase book at a discount 

author and instructor paul wagner

This book provides an understanding of the principles, strategies, and practices used by some of the leading wine producers, distributors, importers/exporters, specialty retailers and their most effective salespeople.

Both in direct-to-consumer sales and business-to-business sales, it is the salesperson, supported by great products and effective marketing collateral, who is entrusted with a firm’s most precious asset—its customers: consumers, organizational buyers, and channel partners. This book will refresh your skill set and give you new concepts and strategies to add to your quiver—drawn from the best in the business.

Wine Sales and Distribution was award top marks in its category by Gourmand International. Read more.