The Wine Guide was established to assist new and existing hospitality venues with managing all aspects of their beverage operations. Currently there is an extreme shortage of skilled personnel in the hospitality industry, and many venues have realised that for their businesses to succeed, they need to train and motivate their staff in many different aspects of service.
Ben Edwards and Daniel Sims have both been working in the hospitality game for a combined total of over 30 years. They have always been responsible for running beverage operations as Sommeliers in some of the best venues in the country. Consistency of service has been pivotal to their success, and it is this professionalism that they bring to their clients' businesses.
In addition to this, it is the job of The Wine Guide to help our customers get the most out of their major profit centre, that is, the sale of all beverages, especially wine.
Few would argue that the world of wine can be a daunting and complex place, so The Wine Guide is there to help demystify and make communicating about wine as simple as it can be. This is done through an orderly and logical education process that evaluates the level of professionalism of our customers staff, and gives them the ammunition to interact with their clients. This not only leads to more profitable sales, but also to more repeat visits, and this is the lynch pin of a successful hospitality venue.
The Wine guide brings a long-standing and professional association with wine companies and small boutique wine growers in Australia. This enables our clients to benefit and access a range of different wine orientated services.
These include pouring discounts and deal structures that can reduce a venues cost of goods by up to 15% on some products. Our experience and knowledge of the industry enables us to negotiate an effective, suitable and tailor made deal to any venue. This all comes with an independent focus and ensures no conflict of interest that may compromise the quality and philosophy of the venue.
Staff Training is an integral part of the philosophy of the wine guide. Motivated, knowledgeable and well trained staff do not only value add to your business, but effectively add to your bottom line profitability especially in terms of sales and stock control. Investing in your staff is incredibly important.
It is essential that staff are well prepared in all aspects of the business that they work in. In our experience, not enough time and effort is put into ensuring that staff understand the beverages they are selling, and therefore are selling the businesses they work for short, by missing out on more profitable sales and enhancing the diners experience. This greater level of knowledge and service skill adds to a venues appeal for repeat use by customers.
The Wine Guide understands that each venue has its own identity and its own point of difference in regard to the wine list. With increased public knowledge of wine and focused media attention on well-constructed wine lists, a well balanced and written list is essential to a venues success. There can be little doubt that the beverage component is the profit centre of any successful venue.
Clients have included venues such as:
“Seagrass seems a fine place to drink interesting wine. I know we did.”
JOHN LETHLEAN, The Age Epicure
Eureka Level 89
Palace Cinema Group (East Coast Venues)
Pouring discounts and deal structures can reduce a venues cost of goods by up to 15% on some products. Our experience and knowledge of the industry enables us to negotiate an effective, suitable and tailor made deal to any venue. This all comes with an independent focus and ensures no conflict of interest that may compromise the quality and philosophy of the venue. The Wine Guide can negotiate deals on your behalf to ensure a balanced and fair arrangement is made. With a combined experience of over 35 years in the wine industry, our long term relationships and associations are of increased benefit to new and established businesses. These deals can include not only pouring discounts but start up associations, glassware and off invoice discounts.
Staff Training is an integral part of the philosophy of the wine guide. Motivated, knowledgeable and well-trained staff do not only add value to your business, but effectively add to your bottom line profitability; especially in terms of sales and stock control. Investing in your staff is incredibly important.
It is essential that staff are well prepared in all aspects of the business that they work in. In our experience, not enough time and effort is put into ensuring that staff understand the beverages they are selling, and therefore are selling the businesses they work for short. They are missing out on more profitable sales and enhancing the diners experience, which in turn helps promote return business. This greater level of knowledge and service skill adds to a venues appeal for repeat use by customers.
Inventory Control and good point of sale systems are an integral part of business. From accurate cost of goods reporting to stock control, and variance reporting. These systems can often be complicated, detailed and time consuming, we have experience with a range of point of sale systems and can assist in the Right Way to set these systems up.
The Wine Guide has a long-standing relationship with a number of corporate clients and can host a range of quality wine focused events. These can include Tutored Wine Tasting/Education Sessions, Hosted Wine Events or Hosted Wine Master class sessions. These can be for in house education or for client entertaining purposes. The Wine Guide enjoys a professional standing with such companies as Mercedes Benz, ING, Redken, BNP Paribas to name a few.
With years of Hospitality experience and strong links to many catering agencies, the wine guide can assist in facilitating your next event. This can be through discussing menu, correct wine options and a host of other aspects.
The Wine Guide is heavily involved in the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival via Sommeliers Australia in facilitating their internationally recognized wine program.
The Australian wine industry is as diverse as it is competitive. The Wine Guide can assist in a range of winery related services including marketing advice; wine events, networking and quality assessment that can help estates navigate through the competitive wine environment. Benchmarking exercises are a particularly strong area in which The Wine Guide can help your business.
Ben Edwards comes from a hospitality background, having worked in some of Melbournes award winning restaurants as Head Sommelier. These include Stella, est, est, est and circa, the prince. In 1999 Ben won the prestigious Champagne Devaux Young Sommelier Award, and in 2003 was awarded the honour of being Dux of The Len Evans Tutorial. The Presidency of The Australian Sommeliers Association in Victoria has been his responsibility since 2002.
Ben started the most difficult process of studying for his MW while starting up a new business, and has progressed to the second year of the program with the intention of completing it in this lifetime. As a regular contributor to the A2 section of The Age for 18 months, Ben focused on Victorian boutique wineries, and also contributed on occasion to other magazines on a freelance basis.
Show judging has been a regular aspect of Bens involvement in the wine industry, with involvement in the Cool Climate Wine Show since its inception and with judging duties at Royal Sydney, Royal Adelaide, The National Wines Show in Canberra and the Victorian Wines Show along with other regional shows.
Recently Ben worked as the wine buyer and Head Sommelier for the Mathis group of restaurants which include Soulmama in St Kilda, Taxi Dining Room, Transit Lounge Garden, Transport Hotel, Lower House Wine Bar and Upper House Dining Room at Federation Square. After the sale of the businesses at Federation Square to the Sovereign Hotel Group, Ben has moved on to start his own wine consulting company, The Wine Guide.
Ben has also just been appointed as co-contributor to James Hallidays Wine Companion regarded as the leading reference guide for wine in Australia, a prestigious and highly respected appointment. He has also been president of the Australian Sommeliers Association (Victorian Chapter) for the past 6 years and recently was appointed joint President of the newly formed national body called Sommeliers Australia.
Dan 'Hollywood Sims has been playing with wine since 1996 when he started working at the first (and at the time best) wine bar in Melbourne, Walters Wine Bar. His inspiration was derived from a visit to the Margaret River, and needless to say he has never looked back.
After Walters, Dan enjoyed an 18 month stint at Punch Lane where he confirmed his passion for wine and food.
By the end of his stint Dan was getting itchy feet and needed to see more of the world where the wines he loved were being grown. He ended up in London working at Al Duca with Giorgio Locatelli, and instantly fell in love with all things Italian. Being in London gave Dan the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience first hand France, Greece and of course Italy. Back in London Dan was appointed as Assistant Sommelier at one of Londons hottest wine spots, Noble Rot.
Upon his triumphant return to Melbourne, Hollywood started working at the Prince Wine Store, and it was here his education into wine rose to new levels. Imbedded in a productive yet relaxed wine culture working with Philip Rich (Financial Review) and Matt Skinner, Dan was given the opportunity to learn and grow as a wine professional.
After the Prince Wine Store, a very productive stint at Punch Lane loomed where he took the business to new heights. Under his watchful gaze the wine list was awarded a prestigious three-glass award from the Wine List of the Year Awards. Previous to Dans involvement Punch Lane had failed to even register in the same awards!
Dans obvious passion and ability was making his presence felt in the restaurant game in Melbourne, as he was approached by restaurant guru Paul Mathis to take on the challenging role of Head Sommelier at Taxi Dining Room. It was here that he met Ben Edwards who became a great friend and Mentor (now co-contributor to James Hallidays Wine Companion, avid Show Judge and President of Sommeliers Australia since 2002). The two of them grew the wine list to 1200 wines, which was highly praised and awarded. Dan also got to enjoy the thrill of being a part of the team that was awarded The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the year in 2006.
Two years with Taxi saw Dan being approached by Matt Skinner to get on board for the high profile position of Head Sommelier at Fifteen Melbourne. To do this Dan had to spend time in Londons Fifteen to make him comfortable with the whole concept of the Fifteen Foundation. Dan felt so comfortable in fact that he went on to be recognized as the inaugural Sommelier of The Year presented to him by The Age Good Food Guide in 2007.
Today, Dan is working with Ben Edwards supporting the hospitality industry in Australia with their vast and quite obvious wine knowledge and skill. With this team together writhing wine lists, doing staff training and looking after high profile clients the message is clear, watch this space!
Dan Sims represents the new generation of sommelier - savvy and educated yet keen to dispel the myth of the snooty wine waiter. That's why he can turn a Barossa-shiraz-loving businessman into a connoisseur or make the wine novice feel at ease.
Sims, wine manager and head sommelier at Fifteen restaurant, says: "Whether a person orders a sauvignon blanc (inexpensive) or a bottle of barolo (expensive), they get the exact same wine service."
These are some of the reasons Sims has won the inaugural Sommelier of the Year award for The Age Good Food Guide 2008.
In launching the award, the guide is recognising the growing importance and status of the sommelier in the dining-out experience.
"People go in to a restaurant with an expectation of the food. But they can also walk away with an incredible wine experience; it's like an added bonus," says Sims.
Sims, 31, wants people to get excited about wine, any style or variety. "It's fantastic when you recommend a wine to someone and they ask, 'Where can I buy that?' It is a sommelier's job never to preach but to guide people with questions. You have to gauge how far you can take them out of their comfort zone (and into a different style) that's still in their price range."
And Sims doesn't pretend to know everything about wine. "There was a time when I knew less than nothing. So there are no stupid questions about wine," he says.
The Wine Guide
Independent Wine Expertise
Consultant Sommelier Services
m +61 (0) 411 857 901