Distribution = the marketing, transporting, merchandising, and selling of any item.
Being a very small winery (two people) we rely on distribution. We don’t have distribution in every state, although sometimes I wish we did.
Every state has different laws, licensing procedures, and monthly reporting. In most cases the costs associated with becoming licensed is the foremost reason you won’t find Selene in a particular state. The other reason is the lack of a distributor.
I won’t bore you with the ugly details of my failed attempts to obtain distribution in the many states we are not represented in. (That’s another blog story)
Instead, I’m going to talk about one of the exceptions, a great relationship between our winery and our distributor in Ohio and Kentucky, Vanguard Wines.
Mia and I are very fortunate to have the best distributors in a lot of states. Vanguard fits in that category, as they all work hard to represent what Mia puts in the bottle.
Which brings me back to the definition of Distribution. None of it would be possible without the people involved and the commitment they make.
Vanguard brought their sales staff to Napa for a week to meet with the wineries they represent. We get to meet the staff (on our turf) and they get to ‘see’ where and how the wines are made, not just hear about it back in their offices, or while we are there working the market.
Not many distributors can afford to do this, especially in this economy, but it pays dividends down the road.
Mia and I met with everyone (at 8am) out at Frediani Vineyards up in Calistoga (brrrrr… it was COLD!). The special treat was having Jim Frediani there to talk about the history of the vineyard (and what it’s like working with winemakers).
We checked out the dry farmed Merlot, the 181 Merlot, and the Cabernet Franc. Mia poured the 2006 Selene Merlot from Frediani, (which is made up of the dry farmed Merlot and the 181 Merlot) and the 2006 Chesler, which is Cabernet Franc and Merlot from Frediani. Everyone had a chance to meet Jeanne Frediani as well. They all were able to get a glimpse of what farming really is.
That night there was a BBQ back at Drew’s place (the CEO of Vanguard), all the owners and winemakers of the wineries were invited to hang out with the staff of Vanguard.
It didn’t matter that the BBQ wouldn’t work, Kevin started a wood fire in the fire pit, grates were placed over the top, and chicken and burgers were served up with some great wines. Reaffirming my belief that distribution is about the people.