I had left a call and an e-mail for my friend. It had been 4 months since he started his import-distribution business in NY and I was wondering how it was going.
Since he landed on these shores, he's had the luck to have two things happen to him:
1) He moved to New York in August of 2001.
2) He left his job to start a business in November of 2008.
Timing isn’t everything. There’s also location. Thankfully he was located in an area where wine and Italian wine has a chance for survival.
He doesn’t have a blog in which to schlep his wines or his philosophy. He hasn’t sent out samples to wine writers and bloggers. He didn’t go to Vinitaly (or the alternatives) and he isn’t planning on going to VitignoItalia or Terroir Vino. He doesn’t have air-miles or instant-upgrades in which he can rely on to get him over to Italy on a regular basis. He doesn’t have a patron or a mate who is making tons of money. And it’s not that he isn’t a sociable guy. He has many friends. It’s just that he has to make it work. He cannot fail. He doesn’t have a fall-back plan. He must succeed. I’m betting he will.
This week, he called to tell me that:
1) He is paying all his suppliers on time
2) He is ordering another container
3) He has just hired another salesman
That is great news in a time when people have to fight for every bottle, when some folks have so lost their way that they think they just have to show up in their orange clogs and Ray Bans and party on. Well, let me tell you (one more time) this ain’t no party.
So another testimonial for hard work, focus and a fellow who is making his world safe for Italian wine. Considering the first time I met him in America we spent the afternoon walking around the destroyed site of the World Trade Center, still burning in October of 2001, and he and I were looking at each other wondering where all this was going to lead us.
Now he is leading his Italian wineries into a new world where the age-old principles still mean something. No amount of twittering on the tweetdeck will make up for pounding it on the pavement.