February 2010 Archives

Imagine you're in a conference room with 40 pairs of eyes looking at you. Every one is politely waiting for you to say something fascinating that will motivate them to go out and sell your wines. You have been hyped up as if you are some kind of a bigwig when in fact you are merely a weary businessperson with bills to pay, mouths to feed, and chores awaiting your return home. Welcome to the distributor kick-off meeting, a gathering of salespeople who will soon be selling your wines in a particular region.  I've done hundreds of these presentations before. Yet I still find them a challenge no matter how well I know my stuff. (There's something unsettling knowing that the future of our brand rests in part, on how inspiring I am…)

My secret? Coffee. It's a dirty little secret, and not one I readily admit to my physician, but staying enthusiastic, energetic, and upbeat can be difficult.

There used to be a saying: “It takes a lot of good beer to make great wine.” While this may be true for winemakers, those of us in sales and marketing would probably agree: "It takes a lot of good coffee to sell great wine!"

Coffee really does come into play as I bounce between business trips, trade shows, account calls, wine dinners, distributor sales meetings, and day to day correspondence/communications/management here at the winery. My winery friends all agree and from the look of things, it won't be changing anytime soon.

While there are signs the economy is improving, fine wine sales continue to be sluggish. Even when you're picked as the poster child of a winery making a good cross section of reasonably priced wines (see page 48 of the January 31 issue of Wine Spectator) you still have to hustle and bustle to get the product sold. Gone are the days of wines selling on point scores or reputation. Gone are the days when wine buyers have to have your wines to make their selection compete.  Gone are the days when customer loyalty is cultivated through quality, reliability, and reputation. Wine sales in 2010 have come down to three things: who is working the hardest, how loud they can shout, and how enthusiastically (i.e. aggressively) they can carry their message to market.

That's where coffee plays a role. Unfortunately, it's a necessary evil that seems to be vital to our efforts.

That is why I've modified the 2010 Budget…


  A roundtrip ticket to New York: $600


  A business dinner for ten: $1200


  Designer coffee: Priceless!
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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

March 2010 is the next archive.

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