I’ve been working for wine importers and distributors in Russia for 12+ years now, I started working as an employee and now I’m happily out of their claws — doing independent communications consulting and focused on my own wine project — a communications platform in Russian language (you haven’t checked yet?). Yes, wine, a great pleasure and great business. Well, for some lucky ones.
Weather you are a famous niche small-size winery or a medium company with a wider range of fine wines, you need an introduction to the market. Not me, introducing the market to you (well, I can do that too), but me introducing you to the market.
There’s no easy path into the Russian market. The market, let’s be honest, is more consolidated than ever, leading to just a handful of importers and distributors to stay alive. Those, who survived — they do have strong representation in all the channels for quality wine distribution: HoReCa, private clients, specialised retail, off-trade.
The trick is — well — to get to those few
Some of you already got there, others, quality wine producers, some medium-size, some — smaller ones, just have no chances to be seen and heard in the crowd. I personally know how many e-mails wine distributors get per day from those willing to be a part of their portfolios. Why is it that way? Because in here, companies seldom fight for wineries (there are exceptions, though), but mostly the other way around — wineries have to find their right partner, who will build their brand from scratch. It’s your game, the game of making them hear you.
There are hard ways and easier ways to do so (I never use the word “easy”, ok?). The HARD way is the common way: knock on their doors, ring them when they are having lunch asking “Have you seen my price list?”, pull them by the hands to your stand at Prowein and Vinitaly. It could work, you know. Persistence is important in these matters. There’s another way, though. Let’s say, a bit less stressful and a bit more creative.
The easier way is do be a bit smarter. Yeah
And go beyond these common filters. I suggest you think in this direction: establish a bit of PR presence in Moscow — first. Have an article written about your winery, have this article seen by wine professionals, present the winemaker and the owners in a non-intrusive, humane way. Finally, do a small tasting for top somms and selected trade, be selective. Be gentle, be intelligent, be focused. THEN — hit them with the price-list! THEN — hopefully, go!
You will have a thousand questions for me by now — ‘how», «what», «why», «are you sure». Well, I am sure the direction is right and the right direction leaves no doubts.
Now, how to accomplish all that? I’m thinking ahead of you here. Get in touch, let’s talk: anton.on.wine [AT] gmail.com
Do you want to know more about the Russian market? Here are some of my articles: