Greek wines are stronger positioned in the U.S. market than ever before. Growing curiosity for them over the last few years now seems to have turned into serious buying interest.
These are my impressions after having returned from my two week business trip to California and New York. The first leg of my journey to California was a real eye-opener. My week began with WineWise’s annual tasting event for German and Austrian wines. The importer very kindly added their New Greek portfolio to the occasion and I was busy pouring the wines. This was a taste of things to come, as the interest and sheer level of engagement from their clients was astonishing. Meeting legends Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard and Terry Theise were just the icing on the cake.
The following days were thoroughly organised: I was on the road with a different sales person, morning to evening, hitting one appointment after the other. Tuesday we worked in San Francisco, Wednesday in the East Bay, and Thursday on the Peninsula. The average day was made up of 6 to 8 appointments, plus evening entertainment. Thursday night I flew to Los Angeles, arrived at my hotel at 2am and had another busy day starting 6 hours later. After seeing a number of clients during the day, I presented Greek wines to end consumers at Woodland Hills Wine Company. Forty enthusiastic wine lovers came to the event and left with an average purchase of 2 bottles. That is certainly much better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick :)
What really stood out for me during the week was the sophistication of the professional buyers: When people get excited about tasting a quality Assyrtiko outside of Santorini because it is “off the beaten track”, it says a lot!
It is also noteworthy that the vast majority of the clientele I met with were American, not Greek, buyers. The portfolio received a lot of praise in terms of quality/price ratio and diversity and the wines are now to be found in some of the most established, vibrant or hip wine places SF and LA have to offer. A gratifying number of customers placed orders on the spot. Greek wines are there to stay!
I could not have possibly found a better partner in CA than WineWise. Kudos to them, they run a super professional business, and are a joy to work with. All the sales persons I spent time with share important common traits: They are passionate, totally knowledgeable and very loyal. I treasure their support. Thank you, Matthew, Marc, Davoe and Amanda. You guys deserve a lot of respect!
I will be following up with a post of the NY trip soon.