Friday, March 28, 2008

Knucklin' Down

California wine sales have slowed. Sales of Argentina wines are not up dramatically. French wines are slumbering. Is this the month Italian wines will hit the wall?

Just take a quick look around. The great January and February surge is over. With the month of March, we are finally seeing the recession take hold. Take a spin around Anytown USA. There are many empty seats. Restaurant owners are looking around wondering where their customers have gone. This will be a good quarter, no thanks to March. But we might be gonna looking back at this time and wishin’ we be havin’ this kind of action in November.

We are headin’ into slog country. And with Vinitaly around the corner, how am I gonna tell ‘em what they need to know but don’t want to hear from me?

I’m not going in alone, that’s for sure. I’ll be taking a sidekick with me, one of the younguns’ who can cover my back and provide me with some cover. I’ll be darned if they shoot the messenger, just ‘cause they don’t like the message.

I wrote about it at the end of last year. We just got a little momentum going into the new year, but now it’s getting down to knuckles and guts. Like I told one of the old pros, if we’re going to grow the business in these times, we’re going to have to take it from our competition. And we better not let them take it from us.

The old pro told me that the new weapon on the streets was youth, youth, youth. He was right skeered, ‘cause he staked his claim first and now everybody’s taking shots at him. This too shall pass, they'll get old, just like the rest of the folks in the saloon.

That’s just part of the game, I reminded him. We were young bucks once and had the world laid out before us. Just never let 'em see you sweat.

Back to business. If the Italians want to grow their business they need to listen up and do these three things:

1) Keep coming to the US markets to show their face and show us their goods, in person.

2) Make sure they keep their noses clean and their wines unadulterated. No funny business, no winks, no bait and switch.

3) Remember the US currency is going to be worthless, at least until after the elections in November. You better be thinkin’ twice about raising prices, partner.

1 comment:

JJC said...

I know this is serious business, but the commentary with the pictures brought many laughs, and many more. Great job making a serious subject into a reader friendly post.
I also think Italian producers should make a trip here so they can feel what we are feeling economically. Recently, one of my favorite producers came to San Francisco. We had a winemakers dinner representing their winery. He gave a speech and in his speech he commented on how he took full advantage of our sluggish dollar by spending a day shopping at Macy's! Clearly happy by all the great deals he got! It triggered a lot of laughs, but more importantly he gave recognition of our dire circumstance.
What comes around, goes around!

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