Name: Kathryn Boyd
Occupation: Sales and Promotions for Wine and Spirits
Place of Residence: Vancouver, BC
Employer: Charton Hobbs
Interests: Wine, yoga, reading good books, hanging out with good friends
“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
- Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
“If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?”
- Cardinal Richeleu
How did you find this job?
A trip to New Zealand helped Kathryn Boyd discover a career she had never really thought about before. Knowing the country was renowned for their Sauvignon Blanc, Boyd took a wine tour of six different wineries over the course of a five-hour day. After a day of tastings and touring, Boyd was intrigued. “I couldn't believe this was someone's job and this was an industry I knew so little about,” says Boyd.
What is this job?
In her position with Charton Hobbs, she is responsible for maintaining sales relationships with the company's restaurant and retail wine consumers. Charton Hobbs is one of the oldest companies in Canada that represents liquor, wine and beer producers. “I need to increase our distribution...and make sure that the stores are bringing in products that will work best for them and their demographic,” says Boyd. Boyd reports to her supervisor on a weekly and monthly basis on her progress.
Boyd must stay very organized and stay on top of all her meetings with sales clients. But liking what she sells is really a driving force in her success. “I think passion is the main skill that has helped me in getting into this industry,” says Boyd. The business end of her job is all about listening skills. “I really just need to listen to my clients and determine what products will ultimately help bring more revenue to their store or restaurant,” says Boyd. “I also need to find them products that fit with what they want. Some people, for instance, only want Australian wines or BC wines, or wines under 20 dollars, so you need to cater to [those needs].”
Why you want this job:
Besides the obvious perks of getting to enjoy wine as part of your job there are perks, perks and more perks. These include travel to foreign wine producing regions and attending wine festivals. “I have so far been to Barcelona and Morocco for wine festivals and to visit vineyards,” says Boyd. “It is definitely an asset to get to meet the people behind the production. It really helps in understanding the history behind the wine ... when you see where it is produced and what story comes with it. I also get to drive a really sweet car.” Boyd also has the freedom of working from home, usually only periodically going into the office for meetings.
Why you might not want this job:
Most of a working day is spent driving and Boyd's car sidelines as a mobile office. After checking email and appointments from home, Boyd's daily routine is to head out on the road to stores and restaurants. The job also requires significant amounts of self-initiative, so do not apply if you prefer to work under closer supervision and guidance.
How to get this job:
A degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University gave Boyd a strong academic foundation. In addition, a wine course taken on a bit of a whim proved to enormously helpful in landing her first professional gig in the wine industry. “Wine and Spirit Education Trust is a course based out of London, England that I found one day flipping through the newspaper,” said Boyd. “It is similar to sommelier training but it goes more in depth to the business aspect of wine as opposed to the restaurant side. You need to be really serious about it if you want to take it.” But don't worry, it's not all hard work and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fruits of your scholarly labour. “Any class where you do two hours of lecture and one hour of tasting works for me,” says Boyd.
Any favourite wines?
“So many favourite wines,” says Boyd. “I love Amarone, Riesling from Germany, Alsace and B.C., big bold Spanish reds like Tempranillo and Monastrell. It always depends on the occasion, what I am eating, who I am with. There is no one favourite.”
Talk the talk:
"The mood of the Canadian wine industry is extremely upbeat, with new vineyards being planted in Ontario and British Columbia and new wineries opening apace. Growing sales at home and in the Far East have given added confidence to entrepreneurs who are investing in large projects that will attract tourists to the wine regions. One reflection of the growing importance of the wine industry to the Canadian economy is the opening in the 1997/98 academic year of a cold-climate oenology course at Brock University in Ontario to encourage a new generation of Canadian winemakers."
(From the Canadian Encyclopedia)
Walk the walk:
Check out the Oenology and Viticulture Courses at Brock University. These include courses in Wine Appreciation, Wine Chemistry, Wine Microbiology and the Geological Foundations of Wine Terroirs.
Also check out their website for more information on the London-based Wine and Spirit Education Trust.