Kennewick-based wine consultant April Reddout has accepted a new role as the manager of the online Wine Business Management Certificate in the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management.
The noncredit program offers six learning modules developed and taught by WSU business faculty and industry professionals, including Reddout, who have expertise in wine business marketing and fundamentals; small business management; financial management; and specific legal, compliance, and trademark issues. In addition to the online classes, the program requires two weekend networking experiences in the Tri-Cities’ wine country.
“I really believe in the program; the more options wine professionals have, the stronger the industry becomes,” Reddout said. “This program is affordable and delivers a lot of content in a short time frame. The online format makes it flexible for people to succeed, which I love.”
A natural fit for the role
Robert Harrington, director of the hospitality school, tapped Reddout to manage the program based on her extensive background and experience in the wine industry.
“She was a natural fit for the role,” he said.
Reddout began working in the wine industry in 2008 after she and a neighbor spent an afternoon on the porch enjoying a few glasses of boxed wine.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘We live in wine country. Why are we drinking wine from a box when there are all these great wineries? Let’s get jobs in tasting rooms!’” Reddout said.
Though the idea occurred in a moment of levity, Reddout actually followed through with it and got a part-time job at Heaven’s Cave Cellars, a sister winery of Alexandria Nicole Cellars owned by Jarrod and Ali Boyle. Under Ali’s leadership, she learned to manage operations including the wine tasting room, staffing, banking, catering and events, and compliance issues.
“My neighbor ended up going to nursing school, but I was really bitten by the wine bug and wanted to learn more,” Reddout said. “My part-time job became full-time, and I just kept saying yes to opportunities. I learned so much about wine, marketing, and how to develop my palate.”
Education and consulting experience add relevance to the classroom
A few years later after working at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center, Reddout became a guest services manager at Col Solare Winery. While there, she realized corporate-level work requires a formal business education, so she earned a bachelor’s in business management and a master’s in management and leadership. She also earned wine certifications through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, which prepared her for the next step in her career — becoming a professional wine and hospitality consultant specializing in direct-to-consumer programs.
“The perspective I’ve gained working with my private consulting clients gives me a relevant point of view with the challenges future wine business professionals will face,” she said.
In addition to fundamental business skills, she suggests students develop emotional intelligence, for example, the ability to stay neutral or gracious amidst polarizing industry topics such as gender-neutral restrooms and being able to pivot when customer expectations change.