Our Experts: Charlie Carter (Training Manager)

Introduction to our Training Manager, Charlie Carter.

I head up the training team at Enotria, bringing wine and spirits education to our customer base and staff. Whether that’s bespoke training, focussed on a site’s wine and spirits list, or delivering formal Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses which are internationally recognised qualifications.

I became fascinated with the wine industry after a 3-month backpacking tour of Europe in 2012. After returning to the UK, I found myself a job in hospitality and built up my wine knowledge and service skills. I went through WSET level 3, then sat a degree course at Plumpton College in International Wine Business. Whilst there, I also studied for the WSET Diploma. After graduating in 2020, I moved to London. A year later I got my first job at E&C, working in the Sales Operations dept. After a year there, I applied for the Training Manager vacancy. This is the exact role I had hoped to fill one day. My qualifications and experience were enough to secure the post!

What is your favourite thing about teaching?

It all comes down to knowledge sharing. Over the last ten years working in the industry, I have built up a wealth of knowledge and experience, and I get a thrill from sharing this with people, and helping to get others fired up about wine and now spirits too. I also enjoy the continuity, often teaching the same people on their journeys through WSET courses, from level 1 to 3 in wine. Watching their curiosity and enthusiasm for the product grow and evolve is incredibly motivating.

Since becoming Training Manager, what has been your best achievement?

This year has been a record-breaking year for us with WSET, we have put over 700 hospitality staff from our client base through courses this year, no mean feat considering we are a team of two. WSET and numbers aside though, I think the success of our bespoke training and train the trainer content has been incredible. We have seen a visible uptick in premium wine sales from those who have utilised our resources, and this is great to see. It reflects the increased confidence of floor staff when communicating about these products with customers.

What is your favourite wine region?

This is a tough one to answer, and it changes all the time. Today, it’s the Mosel Valley in Germany. It is a stunning region with picturesque towns and villages dotted along the river. Trier is the regional capital, and it has a great wine bar that is subsidised by the local government. The wine list is extensive and remarkably affordable! Spent every evening exploring the list. I also happen to love Riesling, which is the region’s main variety. It is made in all styles from dry, through to lusciously sweet. I enjoy them all! The visit also offered up a food & wine pairing that will live long in the memory: Flammkuchen – A regional speciality a bit like pizza with Crème Fraiche, onion, and lardons. The smoky crust and lardons lent themselves well to the sweet Spätlese Riesling I had with it. The acidity lanced wonderfully through the creamy crème fraiche too. Don’t ask me the time of day this was enjoyed!

Why do you believe it is important to offer this training to customers?

Growth starts with a confident and knowledgeable staff base. Our training is all geared towards providing the relevant knowledge and upskilling for our customers to succeed. This not only supports business growth, but staff retention and satisfaction too. Furnishing on-trade staff with formal qualifications in their professions is also helping to future-proof the industry and raise standards across the sector.

What is a typical week like for the training team?

This year, WSET has dominated the working week, often teaching a level 3 course, two level 2 courses and a level 2 course in Spirits all in the same week. The demand has been incredible and keeping up with it has kept us busy! Our national reach means that I can often be up in Newcastle one day and down in Bristol the next! What has kept the week grounded though is having regular office-based courses running too. A week wouldn’t be complete without a day running bespoke wine training for customers, focussing on specific wines from within the venue’s offering, discussing them in context and outlining food pairings. Believe it or not, I manage to keep Fridays free to catch up on all the admin.

Any exciting projects lined up for 2024?

We are looking to maintain our WSET programme this year, so will be as busy with this as ever! Other than this, there are a few exciting projects we are kicking off in 2024, including a workshop to enhance our fine wine programme, a bespoke course on the wines of Italy, and developing producer-specific digital learning resources to host on our FLOW platform. We are also keen to host resources to enhance the WSET level 3 learning experience and support independent study.