Being from a country that has little market share in the United States in terms of retail, I have to wonder how you setup your distribution channels, if you sell wholesale to importers or distributors, if you worked within existing channels, or set up your own? Chateau Musar is one of VERY few Lebanese wines on the marketplace here in the States, and it is rather widespread in terms of availability, so whomever setup the channels did a bang-up job.
How does a recognized, award-winning house in a country that is not among the existing well-established regions for wine export/distribution go about creating a market worldwide?
Thank you for hosting me on Wine Berserkers. We started exporting Chateau Musar to the USA in 1971 to a company called Beverage Importation Corporation based in Houston.
Since then we have been in the USA through different import companies until 2000 where we moved to a young company called Broadbent Selections run by Batholomew Broadbent the son of Michael Broadbent.
I have been regularly visiting the USA for the last 40 years and was lucky meeting fascinating people from the world of wine.
okay, so you went the traditional route, but it seems pretty amazing to me that not only did you have to convince the distributors of the time that your Lebanese winery is worthy of their time (as I imagine they didn’t have too many wines of Lebanon on their portfolios!) but you did so during a rather slow time in the international marketplace! Perhaps, however, that was the advantage - to get in the market before hundreds of thousands of other producers were trying to get in, thus giving you an early adopter advantage.
When you make your regular visits, what is your typical story to tell the wine lovers who attend, regarding the uniqueness of your offering?
You should know that life is timing. As I am not fluent in English, I hope you understand my words. I was lucky going from one importer to another to improve my presence in the market in a consistent way. As I am never in a hurry I took my time to be known and understood in your market.
When I visit the US market, I have no story to tell but wines to be tasted. I got to the point now that I have sometimes stories to tell about my experience in wine as I have been making wines for 54 years.