The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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98 / the tasting panel / february 2014 EDUCATION A s an industry advocate of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust's trade certiica- tion program, Republic National Distributing Company's tag line could well be "Wine Knowledge Is Sales Power." When Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) irst began offering trade certiications from London-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) to its associates more than a decade ago, company executives couldn't have anticipated just how impressive their corporate-wide performance would be. To date, close to 600 RNDC associates have made their way through the WSET's rigorous curricu- lum, one that spans four levels and culminates in the coveted Diploma, with results that have exceeded anyone's expectations. "When WSET's statistics revealed that our program had achieved some of the highest pass rates in the world, it became very clear that we were on the right track," said Joe Gardner, Vice President of Fine Wine for RNDC. Initially, the company worked with New Orleans-based Master of Wine D. C. Flynt, who administered the wine-centric curriculum to its associates until it took on the role of program provider itself in 2010. Recognizing the vital role that continuing education plays in growing its competi- tive advantage in a rapidly-evolving industry, RNDC has strengthened its alliance with WSET by becoming the nation's irst distributor/wholesaler to support the organization as a Corporate Patron. By joining the ranks of industry stalwarts such as Möet Hennessy and Brown-Forman as a Silver-level sponsor, RNDC has made a signiicant commitment to partnering with WSET, one designed not only to motivate its employees but to signal the role that education will continue to play in the com- pany's future. Ian Harris, WSET's Chief Executive, acknowledged RNDC for their early adop- tion of the curriculum and their ongoing support: "Over the last several years, there has been considerable pressure on training budgets and RNDC has emerged as a leader in the U.S. for trade education." Harris noted that the popularity of WSET's programs in the U.S. is growing and was up by 19 percent in the U.S. last year alone. In the coming months, WSET will be focusing on developing alumni programs for Diploma graduates and furthering awareness of their globally- recognized certiication programs. "We're unique in the wholesale distributor tier; unlike our competitors, 50 percent When Knowledge Is Power REPUBLIC NATIONAL DISTRIBUTING COMPANY USES WSET CERTIFICATION AS A "METRIC FOR ACCOMPLISHMENT" by Deborah Parker Wong, AIWS / photos by Edward Zeltser Wine Director Matt Bradford, who holds the title of Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds a Diploma from WSET, pours a glass of wine for RNDC's Rosenberg and Gardner at Canoe. Bradford is also Wine Director for the newly opened Canoe's Cellar Door fine wine shop.

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