Challenge Your Wine Merchant – James Melendez


Often wine merchants want to carry wines that sell.  I think many but no all are receptive to hear what their customers wants–some even paternalistic.  The paternalism is that “father knows best” but there is a relationship of wine merchant and customer and it is a dialogue.  The dialogue is being keen enough to understand customer needs and to also from the merchant point of view be willing to sell interesting wines–wines that don’t get a lot of shelf space or attention.

Many of the world’s wine regions are producing high quality wines and deserve a spot on a wine shelf at wine merchants world wide.  Coming back from Radici del Sud–what did I want first thing–wines from Puglia and other southern Italian wine regions.  I went to my favourite grocer which has well what can best be described as eclectic?  Perhaps I am being too nice–it is incoherent–there I said it.  I asked for a Fiano, Negroamaro, Aglianico or Primitivo–the answer was simple—no, no, no and no.  I was offered substitutes which I offered a polite “no.”  I asked for wine merchant if they could bring them in—of course–no feedback.  My job and yes I do buy wines is that I want a specific region.  I have fallen in love with southern Italian wines for sometime and I believe they have been ready for the world stage for some time.

Wine merchants and even the paternalistic ones will have to be listening to their customer base.  Today more than ever is a large online presence and I think many people are going to devote themselves to buying online solely if they feel there needs are not being met.   Online wine retailers also offer ease of shopping–so there is that competitive pressure.

I believe as a wine writer, wine judge, wine educator and wine videographer and wine consumer it is my obligation to ask for what I want to see at a retailer–online or off.  Why not take that posture yourself–ask for the wines you want to see at your favourite wine merchant.



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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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