Thursday, March 31, 2011

2 years! 2 years.

April 1, is the 2 year anniversary of official start of ampelography. I'm less nostalgic than introspective about the date. Interestingly enough, I'm just now beginning to be understand what my job is. That's an awfully strange proclamation to hear myself make, but I'll lay out some nuggets of what I've learned in the last 730 days, and maybe you'll agree.
  • If you have good marketing, good people, good wine, and the correct prices, distributors can only fail you
  • Wine is visceral, understand this
  • Distributors are always highly protective of their worst salespeople, if they weren't, they'd be long gone
  • wine country will always make you late, plan to take longer to get where you need to be.
  • The faster a distributor pays, the slower they place orders and the faster they place orders, the slower they pay. I don't know why.
  • Some distributors appreciate the support, some resent it. If they don't appreciate the support, you have no swing with them whatsoever, don't even waste your time.
  • Some wineries are just assholes
  • If you can't inject your personality into the proceedings, what the hell good are you?
  • There are 2 kinds of people in this world, wine people and sales people, surround yourself with the former, identify the latter. Salespeople will never be irrelevant, but they'll derail a wine person without acknowledgement.
  • On Premise builds brands, the wrong off premise can destroy them. If you wheel and deal with retail, it will catch up with you.
  • If your distributor replies to 20% of your emails, it's because they like you
  • The hierarchy is as follows: Winemaker, Owner, National Sales, Broker, Sales rep. Brokers just aren't important to buyers.
  • If every time you see someone, you bring them something interesting, new and a great story they'll always welcome you and your wines.
  • Want to impress a chef with your wine knowledge? Talk to them about food.
  • Be a foodie.
  • You will have allies, they may take time to identify, but they're integral to your success and will sell for you when you're not there. Never take them for granted.
  • I'd rather be someone's first workwith than the 100th.
  • Always stop for lunch.
  • No matter how tempting it may be, don't throw your distributor under the bus.
  • If you write enough blog posts, one day you may actually meet people that read them.
Thank you to everyone that has supported ampelography so far. At the end of the day, I like to think that great wine is a noble pursuit, and since I don't make it, the least I can do is try to identify and introduce it to the right people.