Thursday, February 10, 2011

17 °F in Dallas and 17 °C here in Friuli

My neighborhood back home in Dallas today - Photo: Jessica Meyers/DMN
It is so hard to believe back home it is 17 °F in Dallas and yesterday in Friuli it was 17 °C ! They had ice, snow, sleet, and the coldest night of the past 15 years. Meanwhile, here we were walking around in shirts, even after the sun set.

All the better to get after it here with the COF 2011 crew. And also a little work with wineries I represent back home. Yesterday, an early morning meeting with my Friuli friend Stefano, who makes wine here, where we are staying at Il Roncal, and also the winery in Emilia, Campodelsole, which I represent in Texas. We had a short strategy meeting before setting off to taste 40 Schioppettino and Pignolo wines.

Another colleague, Wayne Young, who works with the Bastianich winery group, is new to me. But we are getting on fast as friends. Wayne is a great taster and I have been cribbing his notes for the past few days. A great palate and very good with the descriptions. Love his wines and hanging with Wayne. I can’t wait for Vinitaly.

Stefano Illuminati called from the Marche/Abruzzo area. We are already planning Vinitaly meetings, as it is less than two months away. Work goes on, whether on the road or in a cubicle.

Wednesday afternoon, before we went to the iconic winery, Ronchi di Cialla, we stopped by another colleague of mine, Matteo Burani with Livio Felluga (Livio by the way is Stefano Salvini’s godfather- who knew?).

Matteo I know from when he came to Texas and we worked the market together. He told me Felluga has just left Moet USA and gone to a new importer, Mionetto USA, whom I also have worked with since 2004. I have visited Mionetto in Valdobbiadene and always stop by their booth at Vinitaly to see my friend Enore Ceola, the export director. Maybe Enore hasn’t gotten my phone message yet, but I am available to take his call. Matteo, and Felluga, is a person and a winery I have a long-standing relationship with and it would be a shame if we were to lose all the hard work we have done all these years.

Relationships are paramount in the wine business. And with good growth (last year with Mionetto we were up 40% - unheard of in most circles) it would be regrettable if my calls weren’t being returned by my friends in New York for any reason other than they are too busy to call me back.

So I will say it again, my phone is on; operators are standing by to take your call.
In the meantime, the Colli Orientali Consorzio are rock stars in my book. I am learning new things while I can still do my business back home. And seeing as most of my colleagues in the Dallas are snowed (or iced) in, it shows how our little, flat world just got a little smaller and flatter, thanks to the internet and computers.

Now if it would just get a little warmer back home?

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