Haroula Spinthiropoulou from the Argatia winery discusses direct sales and the importance of personal customer relationships. She also takes a critical look at prevailing attitudes amongst Greek producers and issues a call for unity. The first part of the Q&A can be found here.
3. Do you export part of your production? How do you promote your wines?
Our aim is to carry out the entire production by ourselves. The wine production is a family business. We cultivate 2.1 ha of land with a target production of 12-15,000 bottles annually. In order to achieve the desired high quality we must concentrate on a small quantity production that also requires constant improvement effort. Therefore we export only small amounts, mainly to Germany, Cyprus and from this year on also to the United States.
In regards to the promotion of our products, we believe very much in web marketing and have created a blog to support this effort. We are also currently working on another website that will contain a lot of information about the Xinomavro variety, its wines, its history and its cultivation.
Our aim is to sell our wines directly from our winery to the end consumer. For us, this is the purpose of a winery open to the public: It’s about selling directly to customers, getting acquainted with them, communicating and giving information on the different conditions that make each year special. When we decided to open a winery, one of our aspirations was to have a good time with it, to meet people interested in wine, to create wine connoisseurs and interact with people sharing our wavelength.
We organize many wine-related events throughout the year. We create seasonal themes and connect them to the prevalent stages of the vine growing cycle (pruning, trimming, harvest etc.). We also show local food products (cherries, apples, chestnuts and others). Our communication channel with our old and new friends is the Argatia website and the blog.
4. What are your biggest fears and hopes for 2011?
We hope that 2011 will be as good to us as 2010 was. We are determined to do more towards increasing the number of visitors to our winery in order to master the upcoming challenges.
We believe that tourism and wineries open to the public must become more closely related. The “Roads of Wine” should more actively create and sell such tourist packages. Greece will continue to be a popular tourist destination, maybe even more so in the times to come. We need to take advantage of this and create the appropriate conditions for tourists to discover true Greek wine.
Greek wine can certainly benefit from exports, but the selfish attitude of many Greek producers is a real problem: We all agree that we can succeed only by working together. However everyone believes that they are the only ones co-operating, and the others are not. We spend too much time on trying to exclude parties we don’t deem suitable, and in the end we lose focus.
I hope that the wine sector’s strategy, which is based on the promotion of local varieties, will bear fruit and not be undermined by the participating producers. For example, it is unacceptable for a group of Greek producers to complain because it was not their wine or their olive oil that was promoted by the Greek Prime Minister. The important thing is that Greek wine and Greek olive oil was promoted. Only if we all believe in this can we have a chance to succeed.