Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"For our company the public session makes sense."

Stefania said that as we walked up to our hotel room in Pasadena tonight. We had just wrapped up the Trade Only show at the convention center a few minutes before. The show was ok, but for us it was really slow.

The crowd is about a 50/50 mix of people. Half are people who work at restaurants or distributors and have been given the tickets by their employers as comps. They treat it like a party and a chance for some free booze. The other half are big brokers and distributors and they mostly wander around to wineries who sell through Safeway or Von's and try and steal business from each other.

Leaves us with not a lot to do. I took the picture below of a winery across from us. It was so slow for them I actually caught them both checking their email.

And this is why it's slow. These old coots are lined up at a winery with a popular $15 supermarket wine. They taste through the line up of higher end stuff and try and impress each other with the latest pallet they've moved. Pretty boring stuff. I can't see these guys helping us sell wine. They wouldn't be able to pick out an up and coming winery if it fell on them.

In fact they are so out of touch when this famous character came shooting by they didn't even stop to take a double take. That's Gary Pisoni. He stopped to try our Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah, and quickly wrote down our name and gave the glass to his significant other. "Wow, really good", and then he was off.

Still Stef and I kept smiling.

For us, the public session is much more where it's at. Meeting people and connecting with them, that's what our company is all about. We'd rather spend that time getting to know people a little and making a connection with them than playing to the suits.
That's why I love the guy with a notebook (Or woman, there were lots of women with notebooks in San Diego). That notebook means the person is serious about wine, and more importantly looking for something new and memorable. I'm confident in my wine. I know if they are taking it seriously and giving it a chance, they'll be impressed.
Maybe they'll just move on, maybe they'll sign up on the mailing list, or maybe they'll write a blog or put up a posting and we'll get a few dozen sign ups. No matter what, the odds are much better for us in that case than the trade section. That also fits better with what Stefania and I have wanted to do from the start. We never wanted to make thousands of cases and sell them at the Supermarket. We wanted to make enough wine to make a living, and good enough wine that people would enjoy it. Most importantly we wanted to connect with people. Share wine with them, and let them know we appreciate their support.
We'll probably mostly skip trade events from here on out, but we will continue to go out and meet people whenever we can.

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