CASE STUDY: Training provides the winning formula for Raley’s wine sales


Raley’s Family of Fine Stores is a privately held, family-owned, supermarket chain operating 120 stores in Northern California and Nevada, USA. 30 Raley’s stores are designated “Wine Shop” locations typically stocking anywhere between 1,500-2,000 wine SKUs, from across the globe, with 750ml bottle prices ranging from US$3 to US$225. The Wine, Beer and Spirits department at Raley’s represents about 10% of total store sales.

The challenge

With the expansion of Raley’s Wine Department in size and selection, there was a need to help customers navigate the enhanced assortment of products on offer. Additionally, customers wanting to expand their wine knowledge needed a reason why they should to look to Raley’s as their trusted advisor for wine in the Northern California and Nevada Market.

“Our customers tend to be millennials. They’re adventurous, they want to know all about Italian
and French wines and why a Chardonnay from the Central Coast is different to one from Washington — WSET training gives our staff the ability to provide that level of advice.”
Curtis Mann DipWSET
Director – Wine, Beer & Spirits
Raley’s Family of Fine Stores

The solution

Working with their trusted supplier, Constellation Brands, Raley’s developed a dedicated Wine Steward programme. All Wine Stewards are required to successfully complete the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits qualification, delivered by the education team at Constellation Brands (WSET Approved Programme Providers). The course provides Wine Stewards with the necessary knowledge to speak with confidence about the vast and eclectic world of wines; understanding the influence of grape varietal, location and production method. Information that Raley’s customers were actively seeking.

The results

Raley’s now employ over 30 WSET certified Wine Stewards working across 30 stores. Wine Stewards have had a direct impact on wine sales, with some stores seeing increases of over 20%, alongside very positive customer feedback. Their efforts have also been recognised outside the organisation, with Raley’s recently winning the Wine Enthusiast 2016 Wine Star
Award for Top Retailer in the United States. Senior Management at Raley’s are now planning
expansion of the programme to more stores over the coming 12-18 months. 

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