2013- Thank YOU

Champagne

VA is for wine lovers

2013 is almost done, improbably, impossibly, unbelievably.  And, thanks to YOU, what a year!

I am not just saying that either, I truly mean it.  This was our first year of actual importing, and boy did we import a lot of wine.  We started off in 4 states, and within 12 months expanded into 7 more.  Apparently people love our wines and our winemakers!  Before this, we had been brokering the wines and it wasn’t until market conditions seemed right did we take the leap into actually bringing in our own wines.  Call me cautious, but frankly you put your money on the line and see how fast you do things.

Loving Terres Georges

Ladies who lunch love Terres Georges’ Etc Minervois

In addition, we added a bunch (but not too many) of new wines to our Book.  We finally brought in a fantastic Biodynamic Champagne from Jérôme Bourgeois (Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz), found an amazing Biodynamic Gaillac from Nicolas Lebrun’s small domaine L’Enclos des Braves that turned into a surprise hit (who knew so many folks wanted Gaillac?!), made our first foray into Italy with Tenuta San Jacopo’s transparently beautiful Chianti Poggio ai Grilli, not to mention our first CA wine from John Cabot’s Organic Cabot Vineyards in Humboldt County (an area better known for more, um, smoky pursuits…).  Many people asked me why we didn’t add more, but frankly I would rather have a tight, focused portfolio that grows slowly than a huge list of everything under the sun.  This way I can be sure of the quality of all the wines I bring in as well being intimately familiar with all of them.

Merci!

Merci!

Most importantly, however, I have to give a great big MERCI to all of you who bought our wines.

To our wholesalers: MERCI for taking a risk on our wines and running with them with the same passion as I have.  I know you have a vast choice of other importers to choose from, yet you decided to distribute our wines.  Your sales teams showed their love for our winemakers’ bottles and introduced them and supported them in your markets, something that’s not easy.

To  the stores/restaurants who sell our wines: MERCI for opening up minds and palates.  We’re not the most well-known importers, and we’re not the hippest, but that’s not my goal.  My goal is to make sure people enjoy our wines and come back for more.  Your love of our wines (and the pictures you send like the ones above) validated that we are bringing in great bottles at great prices.

To the consumers who brought our wines home: MERCI for making the initial purchase and coming back for more.  Stores/restaurants are chock full of labels, yet you drank ours.  I am so happy to know that they made you happy (I know it sounds cheesy, but that’s never stopped me before).  Seeing the look on your faces when you taste our wines and that smile crosses your lips?  That’s what I live for.

As I said above, we’re not the most well-known or hippest importer, but frankly, that’s not my goal.  My goal is to change the way people think about and enjoy wine in the US.  Nothing pleases me more than seeing someone buy a bottle of well-crafted small grower Organic or Biodynamic wines and being pleased with their purchase.  I see no reason to buy wines that are pesticide-soups-in-a-bottle when for the same price one can get a wine that offers distinction, typicity of place (terroir), and tradition.  Call me crazy but if my glass is glowing or the winemaker needs a Hazmat suit in the field, then something’s wrong.  You are what you drink too, you know.

This would be BAD

This would be BAD (photo courtesy of Bertrand Celce of www.Wineterroirs.com)

In addition, we’re creating sustainable business models for small family farmers, something that’s sorely needed.  In Europe as in the US, there’s a lot of consolidation and it’s tempting to sell out to a large agro company.  I understand why, but I hope to ensure that traditions are kept alive by showcasing our winemaker’s wines to as broad an audience as possible.

What’s next for 2014?

Well, a ton of things.  For starters, we’re really looking forward to re-visiting our current markets and seeing old friends and making new ones.  We’re also shooting for a bunch of new states, so distributors beware, have wine will travel!  We’ve got new wineries lined up and are constantly on the look out for new ones from new places, as long as they meet our stringent requirements: well-priced, carefully-made, Organic or Biodynamic (you wouldn’t believe the number we reject – there’s an ocean of wine being made world-wide, but only a few drops are really worth importing).  And most importantly we will continue to stand proudly behind all our winemakers and do everything we can to help get their wines into more glasses.

OK that was a bit of a long-winded way of saying thank YOU.  Sorry about that but I do get passionate about these things you know.

Hope you are all drinking well and of course, Happy New Year!

Cheers!

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