High end chocolate

The world of high end, exclusive, limited availability, hand-made chocolate is pretty neat. Where the beans came from, the roasting, the pressing, the sweat involved in every step makes each bar simply taste better. It’s a world where knowledge multiplies the taste experience. And the folks that buy the high-end chocolate have little hesitation to Read More…

Info power (and wine wholesalers)

I type this post while sitting at a coffee shop. No surprise there. But this coffee shop (Caribou) is trying to compete with Starbucks. Part of their strategy is the new “perks club” (cute name). If I join the club I can slooooooowly build points for a free cookie or a coffee. But in exchange Read More…

Learning to taste, or tasting to learn?

When buyers are just starting on their wine journey (“Hey server manager! You’re now the bar manager and the wine buyer! Good luck!”) they need to learn the basics. A sales rep in tune with this will welcome the opportunity to help them learn to taste. Then at the next sales call you might have Read More…

The irony of competition

There is a grand irony in the wine business. First, the more wholesalers there are, the better it is for retailers and restaurants. It makes for competition, it makes for more choice, it makes for opportunity to buy wines that nobody else has, it allows for a retailer or restaurant to stand out easier. Second, Read More…

Don’t forget the boss

Most wine buyers, both on the restaurant side and retail side (but it seems more so on the restaurant side) have one thing in common: they don’t own the store. And when the buyer is not the owner, then you have a worker. And when you have a worker, they have a boss. And a Read More…

Seeing things with true clarity …

… is almost impossible. But doubly impossible when you’re starting from behind to begin with. How do you start from behind? Lack of sleep Lack of exercise Drinking too much wine and feeling the compounded impact on your brain and body Anxiety (fear of what might happen) Disorganization Poor diet Letting others usurp your time Being digitally Read More…

On luxury wine

A luxury wine (as opposed to a great but expensive wine) exists based on scarcity and social proof. It has to be scarce, because the rules of supply and demand not only keep the proposed value sky high, but actually increases the eventual cost of holding a bottle of your own. A luxury wine cannot Read More…

The problem with committees

Committees work on averages and “most votes win.” Therefore, in a committee people (over time) are hesitant to speak their mind, outliers are outvoted, and passionate singular voices have no impact and thus are rarely heard. Committees can be great when it comes time for group discussions and decisions such as where to put the Read More…

It’s not the age, it’s the attitude

I’ve had two interesting interactions in the last week. The first was with a young and freshly minted Somm who works as a sales rep for a distributor. His sales style, his pitch, his attitude, his focus, and his energy were all about him. And talking with him got old really fast. The second was Read More…

Proven and tested vs. taking a chance

When taking wine out to show to your accounts, take a moment to think about how you’ll present the wine in the context of the rest of the marketplace. A wine that has been proven and tested can be a big brand, stacked high at all other retailers, on the top ten hot brands list, Read More…

Maybe you’re not selling wine today

You’re showing wine. You’re showing off bottles and labels. You’re pouring fermented juice in glasses for people that buy it for retailers and restaurants. But often the wine is just a prop. Often what you’re actually selling is yourself and the company you work for. The wine in the glass just happens to be something to talk about Read More…

The myth of the overnight wine success

What is this wine and where did it come from?? It’s suddenly everywhere! Who is that sales rep that is mopping up business all over town? Nobody knows anything about her! Overnight successes are found in all industries, including ours. Some brands, from previously unknown wineries and tiny weird distributors, shoot into a city like Read More…