Calm waters and making waves

Swimming in the calm waters is easy. It’s fun. It’s what everyone wants to do. Swimming in the waves is harder, it’s challenging. It’s demanding. It’s not what everyone seeks out. It takes a special type of person to seek out the waves. And then there are the wave creators. The ones that make the Read More…

Free is never free

Freebies abound in the liquor industry. Look at the umbrellas on the patios, the credit card embossed checkout books, the logos on the beer mugs. And behind the scenes, free cases are delivered to retailers. Free menu printing, or covering the costs for someone else to do it, is a regular offer for restaurants. And Read More…

Wine Inventory as Wine Marketing

Inventory is one of the most mis-understood aspects of the wine world. A wholesaler that commits ten percent of their annual revenue to a single purchase of five thousand cases of Hungarian Viognier is going to run into an inventory problem. A restaurant owner who has a wine buyer that overbuys on Barolo and ties Read More…

When things go wrong

In the relationship between a wholesaler and a retailer or restaurant, things will go wrong. It’s just a matter of time. A forgotten invoice. A screwed up delivery. A change of vintage from the 95 point wine everyone wants to the new vintage, which is only 85 points. Or something bigger. A shift in the Read More…

You’ve made the choice

If you’re a wine retailer, you’ve made the choice to not have Memorial Day or Labor Day off. You made the choice to work weekends. You’ve made the choice to be in one spot, waiting for customers to come to you. You made the choice to know that every New Year’s Eve, the day before Read More…

Thanksgiving week empathy

This is a tricky week for the wine sales rep. Retailers are busy. Too busy for sales calls. But they may need the emergency will call. Displays have to be stocked and looking good. It’s the classic situation of “you can’t sell it if you don’t got it.” Restaurants are historically a bit slow (but Read More…

Buying motivations

A critical question when selling wine to restaurants and retailers is this: who is really making the decisions? The wine buyer might be making 100% of the choices. But usually not. An invisible hand exists in all business, and the motivations of the owner is often a controlling force within an organization. Sometimes for better, sometimes 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…

Broken locks

Embarrassing story, but a good lesson to be learned. I was recently at a restaurant. Not just any restaurant, but a well reviewed chef-driven hard to get into place of the moment kinda restaurant. I went to the restroom. Had to go. Happens to everybody. It was a small one room restroom with a crappy lock Read More…

Trust

Trust can’t be measured, so as a result it’s rarely discussed in a performance or account review. There are few numbers we can attach to these questions. Therefore, because these are unquantifiable, they have become some of the most unspoken points within our industry. When you really think about it, isn’t this what it’s all about? Read More…

Opening new accounts – the first touch

Opening new accounts is the lifeblood of the wine wholesale business. If you’re not opening new accounts on a regular basis you are beholden to the slicing up of the market by competitors. New business is the only way to stay ahead of that curve. A simple prospecting tool is, of course, email. Make a form Read More…

The shotgun and the arrow

Two different wine sales reps, from two different companies, with two different ways of presenting wines and ideas to the same restaurant buyer looking for a new Cotes du Rhone by the glass. Sales rep 1: “Thanks for the time today. So I brought five Cotes du Rhone at a range of prices. All are Read More…