Alcohol Server and Seller Training

WineAmerica is dedicated to encouraging responsible wine consumption in our communities. That’s why we are focusing on proper alcohol server and seller training

When it comes to selling and serving wine, wineries should be aware of several factors that can affect their bottom line:

  1. Customer experience matters. A well-trained, professional staff will not only be able to confidently handle difficult alcohol-related situations; they will pay more attention to all of their guests which will ensure a positive, enlightening, and fun experience.
  2. Legal actions being taken against the server, cashier, owner/operator, and corporation for serving or selling wine to underage and/or intoxicated customers are increasing. Many of these cases are being settled out of court for millions of dollars. A well-trained staff will have the skills to prevent alcohol-related incidents. In addition, effective training demonstrates your commitment to prevent drunk driving, intoxication, and underage sales.
  3. Wineries are not just a place to purchase good wine. Today’s wineries serve many different types of customers and offer a variety of service venues within their property. Whether you have a restaurant, conduct tasting, host festivals and banquets, or just sell wine for off premise consumption, it is important to be trained in a program that fits the environment in which your staff sells or serves wine. Choose a training program that can offer tailored training for your environment.
  4. Liability insurance is not cheap. Having your staff trained in a nationally recognized responsible alcohol server training program can lead to deep discounts on your insurance premiums.

Wineries need to be compliant too. Know your jurisdiction’s requirements. A recognized alcohol server training program will not only meet the training requirement; it may also provide reduced penalties for alcohol violations.

Access Alcohol Server and Seller Training

WineAmerica is encouraging its members to revisit their alcohol sales policy and consider alcohol server and seller training. We feel it is imperative that you keep your customers safe, while protecting your employees, winery, store, and franchise.

To that end, WineAmerica has partnered with Health Communications, Inc., providers of the TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) program.

TIPS & WineAmerica

WineAmerica is dedicated to advancing the social responsibility of our winery members. As the voice of America’s wine producers, WineAmerica and its members are dedicated to ensuring that wine is served, sold, and consumed responsibly.

TIPS is a dynamic, skills-based training program designed to reduce drunk driving, underage drinking, and intoxication by enhancing the fundamental “people skills” of servers, sellers, and consumers of wine. TIPS helps individuals understand the difference between people enjoying themselves and those who are getting into trouble with alcohol.

Employees, managers, and winery members who participate in a TIPS training session are able to:

  • Spot underage drinkers and prevent sales to minors.
  • Recognize signs of intoxication.
  • Effectively intervene to prevent potential problem situations.
  • Handle refusal situations with greater confidence

How Alcohol Affects Your Guests

Consuming alcohol has both physical and mental effects on your guests. Part of your job is to monitor your guests’ consumption and watch for any visible signs of intoxication. Your best tool for assessing a guest’s level of intoxication is the Behavioral Cues.

There are four Behavioral Cues to watch for that can tell you whether someone is becoming intoxicated.

  1. Inhibitions – Becoming talkative and relaxed, or displaying a notable change in behavior, can indicate lowered inhibitions.
  2. Judgment – Behaving inappropriately, annoying others, or increasing the rate of drinking are examples of poor judgment.
  3. Reactions – Glassy, unfocused eyes, talking and moving slowly, or having difficulty with small motor skills demonstrate slowed reactions.
  4. Coordination – Stumbling or swaying, dropping things and passing out are all signs of a loss of coordination.

The Behavioral Cues occur progressively as guests consume more alcohol. But people are affected by alcohol at different rates. This is due to the impact of Intoxication Rate Factors, which can help you determine how quickly someone is likely to become impaired.*

* Sample Section of The TIPS Program

Wine America believes that wineries using TIPS training benefit by reducing risk and creating a safer, more responsible environment.

TIPS training can:

  • Reduce exposure to alcohol liability lawsuits
  • Address wine-related issues specific to your environment (tastings, festivals, retail store, on-site restaurant, etc.)
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Reduce penalties for alcohol violations
  • Improve customer service and satisfaction.

WineAmerica Member Training

WineAmerica and WineAmerica members can take an active roll in promoting responsible consumption by using TIPS Training as a medium. There are several options available:

OPTION 1 – Become a certified TIPS Trainer by attending a TIPS Train-the-Trainer Workshop in Your Region

An on-staff TIPS trainer constitutes a full-full time customer service expert who will foster an atmosphere of professionalism, maintain compliance with state and local regulations, encourage teamwork among staff members, and build bridges to your community. Having an on-staff TIPS trainer also gives you the flexibility to train on your own schedule, allowing you to maintain excellent standards even when facing high turnover or gearing up for seasonal challenges.

To become a TIPS Trainer, WineAmerica members need to successfully complete a two-day, train-the-trainer workshop. To attend a workshop in your region, contact TIPS at 800-438-8477 or visit the TIPs website.

OPTION 2 – Hire A TIPS Trainer in Your Region

There are over 7,000 certified TIPS trainers across the country. Many certified TIPS trainers offer their services to wineries for a nominal fee.

To find a TIPS Trainer in your region, complete the training request form at TIPs.

OPTION 3 – Offer eTIPS, an Online Alcohol Server and Seller Certification Course

With eTIPS, WineAmerica members are able to receive the same quality training that is available in the classroom. eTIPS training is a self-paced, innovative approach to alcohol server and seller training. To get started, visit the TIPs website.

WineAmerica members receive discounts on TIPS training through the WineAmerica Benefits Program.

Discounts for WineAmerica Members

Product Standard Price
WineAmerica Member Price
TIPS Train-the Trainer Workshop $499 per person $399 per person
TIPS Participant Manuals $16 per manual* $15 per manual*
eTIPS – Online Certification $40 per person $30 per person**

*Manuals are sold in bundles of 10 and are required to receive certification in our classroom programs.
**Become a member to receive your WineAmerica Promotion Code.

WineAmerica Contact:

Trevor Estelle
Health Communications, Inc.
1400 Key Boulevard, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22209
Ph: (800) 438-8477


Questions? Contact Tara Good at and 202-223-5175.

This document does not constitute legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.  All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only.