Well worth the trip. Avante Beverages hosted their Texas Portfolio Tour and knocked it out of the park this week.
I wonder, maybe 100, possibly 200 trade tastings I've now attended and/or organized over the past 10 years. Portfolio Tastings = massive number of wine producers, marketing agents and sales folks who stand behind tables in a huge room together pouring their wines for wine buyers and media folks to try. It's a time for folks like me to taste all the accounts who attend, crack some deals, hang out with the distributor sales reps and do a heck of a lot of networking with all the traveling vendors (I'll post a recap of some interesting wines I tasted from others at some point soon).
Yesterday I was a vendor wrapping up Avante's 3 day, 3 city Portofolio Tasting. TexaCali Wine Co. as you know by now (or you are a clueless moron) represents some of the best family owned wineries from all over the world. I brought out bottles from all corners of Italy and California this week - and "not a sucker in bunch" said everyone that stopped by my table for a taste through.
Many of us "in the trade" contemplate the need for these sorta tastings. From a planning standpoint - pulling off a tasting is a HUGE pain in the tush. It's a ton of work, hard-labor for the warehouse pulling mounds of wine to be delivered in advance to each venue, meticulous organization of each box (always a mixed case of wines) for individual tables, securing enough trays to load with ice for the white bottles, water pitchers and dump buckets for each table and of course all the price booklets and polished stemware all need uber planning in advance before it's "go-time". There's usually a bus that bounces everyone around the state, most likely a bus that has a flat or a funky smell at some point between here and there too. It takes everyone in our supply-chain working together to pull-off an excellent tasting. This week- it was an excellent tasting!
Well attended - hundreds of wine buyers and pros attended the Texas Tour - rain or shine literally. It was a "white-knuckle" drive on Tuesday through the hurricane, but I can only count on 1.5 hands the number of buyers who missed out, which is/was truly a shame. This week was an excellent opportunity to not only taste wine, but to see the tremendous amount of comradeship between Avante Beverages and all of their Texas supporters who sell their beautiful wine offerings in their fine-wine establishments.
Avante - these group of fellas started a company driven by passion 4 years ago and live it everyday no matter what. Wine distribution is a tough, bumpy and steep road & peddling wine through distribution is filled with more hard & curvy roads. However, a week of seeing smiles the minute a wine sommelier or retail buyer's nose hits a glass for their first sip of wine makes it all worth it. Thanks to all who stopped by my tables, tasted the wines of TexaCali Wine Co. and continue to support and promote the good folks of Avante Beverages in Texas.
2010 has been an incredibly hard year for TexaCali Wine Co. As most of you know, last April I undeservedly and ruthlessly lost my dearest client - a collection of wine and sake producers I've been fiercely dedicated to over the last 5 years. Avante Beverages has stood strong by my side since the day they opened their doors. So to those of you who stayed an especially long time talking with me at the tables this week offering your Texas-Size hugs and kind words of support - you just blew a whopping amount of fresh air into my weathered sails. I can't thank you enough. The next chapter of TexaCali Wine Co. is well on it's way, so stay tuned!!
Cheers to a great weekend ahead (hopefully you'll be sipping on a few wines from LIOCO, Handley Cellars, Pellegrini Family Vineyards, Teira and the gorgeous Italian wines of Indigenous Selections) Just ask your favorite Texas wine shop!
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