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Training & Education

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Valerie Santoro, Director of Training

Valerie Santoro
Director of Training

A long, long time ago, salespeople in the alcohol beverage business had to be affable, good listeners, and great joke-tellers. My how things have changed: in this data-driven world we live in today, knowledge is everything. This industry is much bigger than it used to be. And more competitive than it used to be. And much more fast-paced than it used to be. As a ‘consultative’ sales organization, it is our duty to: A) assure that our staff is sufficiently knowledgeable to help you grow your business (though we strive to be more than sufficient; we want to be the industry standard) and B) help you educate your staff so they too are adequately informed and can help you help your customers. No distributor in Michigan does more education & training than Great Lakes Wine & Spirits.

With a full-time staff of several educators, our in-house training is on-going. We now have 88 salespeople and managers who hold Society of Wine Educators certifications in various categories as well as a couple of other certifications: Certified Educator of Wine (CWE), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS), several certified Beer Servers (the first level of the Cicerone program) and even a Certified Sake Professional (CSP). Of course, we will happily share our knowledge with you and your staffs as you see fit: we have found once one has abundant knowledge, there is a desire to share it.

Everyone has wine; we have all the rest too. Our goal is to help you grow your business.

Our Companies

  • General Wine Liquor Company
  • J. Lewis Cooper Co
  • Decanter
  • Viviano
  • Little Guy
  • Bayside Beverage

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