Unit of competency details

SITHFAB326A - Provide specialised advice on imported wines (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to SITHFAB306 - Provide advice on imported winesTitle simplified. Re-worked Elements, Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge to more fully articulate content. Two prerequisites removed. SITHFAB201 Provide responsible service of alcohol retained as a prerequisite. 17/Jan/2013

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 01/Jan/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110103 Food And Beverage Service 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110103 Food And Beverage Service 14/Dec/2009 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to provide specialised advice on imported wines.

Some states and territories have legislative requirements in relation to service of alcohol that may apply to work activities described in this unit.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to all individuals who provide specialised advice to others about imported wine. It may apply to a specialised wine attendant, sommelier, restaurant supervisor or to a range of other personnel in wineries, retail wine outlets or wine wholesalers.

Skills and knowledge for Australian wines are found in the unit SITHFAB325A Provide specialised advice on Australian wines.

The provision of wine advice could be undertaken in various contexts and will depend on the job role. This may include serving wine, contributing to the development of wine lists, selling or promoting wine or conducting a tour of a winery.

The unit also underpins effective achievement of competence in the unit SITHFAB428A Manage the sale or service of wine.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

  • SITHFAB009A Provide responsible service of alcohol
  • SITHFAB005A Provide table service of alcoholic beverages
  • SITHFAB222A Conduct a product tasting for alcoholic beverages

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge and/or the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria




Evaluate imported wines.


Identify and explore the characteristics of a range of imported wines  using the full range of sensory evaluation techniques .


Review other information  about viticulture and specific imported wine styles, regions and production methods to complement the sensory evaluation process.


Develop informed opinions about imported wine that support work as a specialist in wine .


Handle, store and monitor imported wine products.


Store and cellar imported wine according to particular requirements  of different wines.


Monitor wine quality and recognise impaired quality  based on in depth knowledge of wines.


Where required, serve wine appropriately and at the correct temperature according to type and style of wine and customer preference.


Decant wines using techniques appropriate to the variety, style and vintage of wine.


Advise customers on imported wines.


Provide accurate information and assistance about different imported wine options.


Discuss and debate wine characteristics, origins and production methods with customers, taking account of the customer's level of wine knowledge.


Take account of appropriate and ethical business considerations  when providing advice and make adjustments accordingly.


Assist customers with wine selections according to taste, price preferences and other specific needs.


Resolve issues with wine quality through accurate identification of faults and appropriate corrective action.


Extend and update own knowledge imported wines.


Conduct formal and informal research  to access current, accurate and relevant information about imported wines.


Identify trends in customer tastes based on direct contact and workplace experience.


Identify general trends in the imported wine market and apply to the workplace as appropriate.


Provide assistance in the design, content and pricing of international wine list as required.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

The following skills must be assessed as part of this unit:

  • communication skills to articulate advice about wines, and to discuss and debate different ideas and opinions about wines
  • critical thinking skills to evaluate wide ranging information about wines and apply and adapt information to wine specialist activities
  • literacy skills to research and interpret detailed information about wines from a variety of sources
  • problem-solving skills to identify product faults and make judgments about appropriate remedial action.

The following knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

  • the full range of sensory evaluation techniques and their relevance to different types of wines
  • structure, history, trends and philosophies of:
  • the international wine industry
  • the major international wine producing nations
  • general understanding of the operation of wine shows and wine medal systems in an international context
  • characteristics of major international wines, including:
  • different wine types and their styles
  • different production methods
  • label terminology and interpretation
  • major regional variations
  • principal grape varieties used in wine types
  • major European wine laws
  • general knowledge of relevant geography in relation to its impact on wine growing
  • impact of the vineyard and viticultural techniques affecting the taste and style of wine
  • annual cycle of a general vineyard and regional specific cycles
  • wine production methods and variations for white, red, sparkling and fortified wines, including:
  • basic wine production steps and variations for different wines (harvesting, crushing, pressing, fermentation, clarification, maturing, bottling)
  • old world approaches to wine making and attitudes to new world wine making
  • specific production techniques for white wine (additional clarification process - before and after fermentation, pressing, malolactic fermentation and oak usage)
  • specific production techniques for red wine (fermentation on the skins, maceration techniques such as pumping over, plunging down, heading down and rotary fermenters
  • specific production techniques for sparkling wines such as traditionelle , the transfer process, tank fermentation and carbonation
  • specific production techniques for fortified wines
  • factors that affect the style and quality of wine, including:
  • climate
  • soil
  • grape variety
  • viticultural techniques
  • storage
  • vinification techniques
  • key structural components in wine and their impact on taste , including alcohol, tannin, sugar, fruit flavour
  • indicators of quality in wines and analysis and diagnosis of wine faults or impairments, including:
  • oxidation
  • tartrates
  • cloudiness
  • cork faults
  • presence of hydrogen sulphide
  • wine service techniques, including serving aged wines and processes for the decanting of wine
  • storage and cellaring requirements for a range of wines and reasons for these contributing factors of a successful wine list
  • overview of the types of foods that match successfully with different wines (more detailed food matching skills are found in the SITHFAB324A Provide specialised advice on food and beverage matching
  • requirements of the relevant state or territory Liquor Act in relation to service of alcohol (please note that this may be covered by completion of SITHFAB009A Provide responsible service of alcohol).

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, the range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • identification of wine characteristics, style, country and region of origin, vintage and production method using sensory evaluation techniques
  • detailed knowledge of imported wines as specified under required knowledge
  • effective communication of wine advice to customers
  • ability to maintain and extend current and relevant knowledge of wines and to apply that knowledge to different workplace activities.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • interaction with and involvement of other people to discuss wine characteristics and options and to answer varied questions about wines
  • access to a wide range of wines and to information on wines.

Methods of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct observation of candidate providing advice to customers or colleagues on wine
  • oral or written questions to assess knowledge of wine
  • observation of a presentation on wine
  • observation of candidate evaluating wines and providing opinions
  • research project to develop information about wines for use in particular workplace context
  • review of wine lists written by the candidate for particular contexts and purposes
  • review of portfolio of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.

Imported wines must include wines from :

  • Europe - France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Central and South Western Europe
  • North and South America
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • emerging wine growing countries.

Sensory evaluation techniques must include :

  • visual appraisal:
  • wine swirling and glass handling
  • use of light and background
  • intensity and type of colour
  • clarity
  • identifying 'legs' or 'tears' to assess alcohol / glycerol content
  • smell or nose appraisal:
  • techniques for releasing aroma and bouquet
  • recognising 'off' odours
  • assessing intensity of aromas
  • describing smell characteristics (eg fruity, vegetal, spicy)
  • assessing age
  • taste appraisal:
  • techniques for releasing wine flavours (sucking in air, swirling wine over taste buds)
  • spitting techniques
  • recognising acidity, sweetness, weight or body, length, wine faults
  • assessing balance of wine features on the palate.

Other information may include :

  • promotional information
  • details of production methods
  • reference texts on wines
  • product reviews
  • presentation sessions from growers, wholesalers, distributors, visiting winemakers.

Work as a specialist in wine might involve :

  • making presentations on wine
  • selling wine to corporations
  • selling wine to individuals
  • conducting specialised wine tastings
  • developing wine list suggestions
  • providing winery tours.

Particular requirements may relate to :

  • temperature
  • humidity
  • stock rotation
  • shelf life
  • amount of UV light
  • vibrations.

Impaired quality might relate to :

  • oxidation
  • tartrates
  • cloudiness
  • cork faults
  • presence of hydrogen sulphide.

Appropriate and ethical business considerations may include :

  • profitability requirements
  • current stock
  • supplier arrangements
  • stock availability
  • range being promoted.

Formal and informal research may include :

  • talking to product suppliers, winemakers and vineyard managers
  • memberships of associations and industry bodies
  • reading general and trade media and supplier information
  • attending trade shows
  • attending wine tastings
  • reading wine reference books
  • using the internet.

Unit Sector(s)



Competency field

Competency field 

Food and Beverage