In this second part of the Q & A, Apostolos Thimiopoulos shares impressive export numbers for his wines, explains how they were achieved and finally talks very open about his hopes for the future.
Do you export part of your production? How do you promote your wines?
Exports currently represent more than 80% of our sales. We do what all recognised and acknowledged wineries do: we promote and practice reliability, quality, and authenticity. We have a stable set of customers that appreciate the genuineness in our work. We seek close ties to our clients by offering tastings and our hospitality, and by upholding extensive exchange of views and thoughts on our wines.
In our export markets we have tried to understand the local culture in order to pair our wine with the local cuisine. We participate in wine exhibitions all over the world and constantly convey our philosophy of our integrity, which makes clients trust in our quality and authenticity in both the good and the difficult harvest years.
What are your biggest fears and hopes for 2011?
As far as my business is concerned, I do not have fears. The difficulties in the current period are related to production and sales. These are two areas where we have continuously worked hard on and can therefore today be confident. The decisions we made in the past including the decision about our grape variety now secure our sales. Our values have been proven and have won the trust of the market.
We have never compromised our work nor betrayed our partnerships and we have never taken advantage of consumers by pretending to make fashionable wines, or by claiming to do something new for the first time in Greece.
I have many hopes: I hope for more appreciation of quality Greek wines, both in the local and the foreign markets. I hope that the Xinomavro wines from the region of Naoussa will gain more recognition world-wide. This would be a real motivation for more people to become involved in the cultivation and production of Xinomavro. I hope for markets with better educated consumers, who do not see wine as a fashion item. I hope that that we get rid of all those who are harmful to our wine sector (one could write a book about those…).
And finally, I hope that we will get to see the emergence of a great Xinomavro wine from a region outside Naoussa, which will get its credit and acknowledgment purely based on the grape variety and not because of marketing efforts that too often take advantage of the ignorance of the Greek consumer and the limited experience of the foreign consumer.
Part 1 can be found here.