ARGH! I have been rebelling against this for eleven years. Why, oh why, do we think selling wine and managing facets of tasting room operation (wine club, DTC, tasting room) is so differnt from selling & managing any other luxery items? Just like you can teach people about diamonds, you can teach them about wine. Yes, some will be better at it than others, just like in any other sales situation. Great sales staff are great at selling. Period. Two of the best people I've ever seen work in this industry came from, respectively, another adult beverage industry and from selling BMW's!
We imbue some mysticism into wine knowledge and the selling and management of wine. It's just not true. Now we have an incestuous industry, unwilling to look outside. So frustrating. If we invested in training (gasp!) I firmly believe we would have a better pool and an onboarding mechanism with which to bring competant (and even great) people into our industry.
This article below is pretty spot-on. My take-away quote from this for the wine industry is,
"In other words, our insularity continues to isolate us from real talent."