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Yeah! Owner of Kenny’s Wine and www.homedeliverywine.com, Kenny Bradley decided to take an unusual step in his business and go back to college with some of his staff to achieve a worldwide-recognised level 1 qualification in wine. nose-for-wine The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualification covers the different wine styles, sales of wine, service of wines, service temperature, the hospitality of wine and a section on food and wine pairing. There are four Kenny’s Wine Stores in the NW and it is positive to see the company display such confidence in bricks and mortar retail, alongside its online offering, by investing in their staff. Kenny puts this down to his employees: ‘We believe we are doing ok, despite the economic downturn, because of our staff and the way they treat our customers and this comes down to training. Professional qualifications gives staff the right skills for the trade and also builds loyalty and helps in employee retention. We have a bespoke training program for our convenience stores but had nothing for our wine side of the business. I felt it was imperative to correct this imbalance and decided to enroll staff and myself on the level 1 WSET course. ” Even as recent as three years ago, most professionals in the sector were oblivious to the significance of formal training. Today the scenario has changed as not just winery owners and hotels, but even retail shop owners, such as Kenny’s Wine Stores understand the difference that a trained resource can make to their business. He continued: “As a wine merchant, to be taken seriously, you need to have qualifications in order to back up your claims and advice you are giving customers. Going back to college for a short time has given me a jump start and furthered my passion and thirst for knowledge within the wine industry. Ultimately I would like to continue to eventually achieve my Master of Wine, but we will see what the future holds.” Homedeliverywine and Kenny’s Wine stores are aiming to become Northern Ireland’s leading experts in wine by purchasing the right wines for their customers, leading the trend in emerging markets, sourcing bespokely through their network when required and having recognized and relevant qualifications in order to deliver on all the promises effectively and correctly.