Make Your Wine Store a Lean, Mean, Selling Machine

Stephen Fahy of the Wine Library emphasized that producers always have to be thinking like a marketer. Wine brands, he said, need to take an activist approach to getting noticed within the U.S. marketplace. That means infusing your brand with passion and enthusiasm. And it also means staying one step ahead of what customers want in the marketplace, “Look for new angles, new perspectives, and new opportunities. Always.”

About Stephen Fahy: 

Stephen C. Fahy, DWS is the Sales Director and Senior Buyer at the Wine Library and is passionate about the business of direct-to-consumer wine education and the complete customer service experience. He has proven to be a specialist in finding and promoting a wide range of exciting wines from around the world, working directly with importers, distributors, and the wineries themselves. His palate is widely recognized by an ever-growing local, regional and national consumer base, due in large part to the extraordinary quality of the wines he selects to put on offer, and loves the excitement of the business, especially when his contagious enthusiasm spreads to others.

For more than a decade prior to Stephen’s role at the Wine Library, he managed and ran the wine retail programs for another key, large-scale wine merchants in both New Jersey and Manhattan. He also serviced and sold to some of Manhattan’s top restaurants and retailers while a Wine and Spirits Consultant with Winebow.

Stephen has been an active Adjunct Professor teaching “Concepts of the Sommelier” at Montclair State University. This three credit University course grounds students in the principles of wine tasting, key varietal and regional knowledge, and the service expectations of the wine professional in both on and off-premise settings. Stephen has also been actively consulting with the London-based research and business strategy firm, Wine Intelligence as a Research Associate specializing in the U.S. wine trade and consumer sector.

In 2011, Stephen earned his Diploma in Wine & Spirits (DWS), with Merit, from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London. He is the proud father of three girls and with his wife, enjoys the hustle and bustle of the Garden State where he lives, in northern New Jersey.

About USA Trade Tasting:

USATT is an annual show for retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, importers and distributors to network, learn and find new opportunities to grow.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium-sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line. Visitor trade registrations are now open.

About the Event Organizer:
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of B2B trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit 

Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registrations for USATT 2018 are Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In the US Market. 

Highlights From USATT 2017

On May 16-17, the United States Trade Tasting (USATT) event brought together producers, importers, distributors and other industry professionals at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. Producers learned more about how to enter the competitive U.S. marketplace, while importers and distributors got an early look at some of the innovative brands and products potentially coming to the U.S. market.

The event, which featured more than 2,000 participants and 138 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, focused on helping emerging brands stand out and differentiate themselves within their product category.

Learning to tell your brand story

As many of the speakers at USATT 2017 pointed out over the course of two days, being able to tell a unique and dynamic brand story is especially important when it comes to attracting new importers, distributors, and retailers. If you’re not telling a unique brand story, you’re making it harder for suppliers and wholesalers to sell your product.

Chris Mehringer, President of Park Street, emphasized that brand differentiation had to be at the core of any marketing strategy. One way to do that is by creating “badge value,” in which brand can serve as a badge for people to communicate who they are and what they want to be.

Jonathan Newman,  Chairman, and CEO of Newman Wine talked about the 10 biggest factors that can help brands get picked up by national chains and large retailers. For example, he mentioned the value of creating point-of-sale (POS) materials that help retailers sell wine, as well as the importance of making the label look right. At the end of the day, the attractive packaging really matters.

Stephen Fahy of the Wine Library emphasized that producers always have to be thinking like a marketer. Wine brands, he said, need to take an activist approach to getting noticed within the U.S. marketplace. That means infusing your brand with passion and enthusiasm. And it also means staying one step ahead of what customers want in the marketplace, “Look for new angles, new perspectives, and new opportunities. Always.”

New and innovative products on display

At this year’s USATT 2017, there were different tasting sessions to help participants explore wines from up-and-coming wine regions. For example, on Day 1 Chateau Rongzi held a public tasting of its highly acclaimed wines from the Loess Plateau of China. This marked the first-ever public tasting of its wines in the United States. And on Day 2, show participants had a chance to attend a master class on the wines of the Tejo region of Portugal.

In the Grand Tasting hall, attendees had a chance to see many of the themes and trends emphasized in the speaker presentations in action. Walking around the buzzing showroom floor, participants could see some of the innovative new products coming soon to the U.S. market – such as wines from Portugal and Eastern Europe (Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Moldova). premium rum and mezcal drinks from Latin America, spirits with new flavor and taste profiles, and wines and spirits with innovative new packaging.  Some of the brand’s people were buzzing about at the event included Vodquila, Get Hot Tequila, Bira, and LIQS cocktail shots.

Getting educated about how to enter the U.S. market

What made this year’s event so distinctive was how carefully the conference content was tailored to the specific needs of the U.S. market. Day 2 of the event, for example, featured a dynamic Q&A hosted by Steven Raye, President of Bevology. Members of the audience had a chance to ask one-on-one questions about building a successful brand to members of an expert panel: Martin Sinkoff of Frederick Wildman, Rob Bradshaw of Cape Classics and Michael Yurch of Blue Sky Group.

Participants asked a wide-ranging number of questions, touching on everything from how global warming will impact the wine industry, to how the growing legalization of marijuana could impact the future trajectory of the alcoholic beverage industry.

USATT - 2017

Later on Day 2 of the event, there was also an interactive panel with three prominent journalists from the wine and spirits industry: William Tish (Beverage Media), Gregg Glaser (Modern Distillery Age) and David Spencer (iSante). Audience members asked specific questions about how to get press attention, and what types of stories can attract media coverage.

And throughout the two-day event, there were speaker presentations on every aspect of bringing a new wine or spirits brand to market. Thomas Barfoed of JF Hillebrand, for example, discussed the logistics of bringing a product to the U.S. market from overseas. Being able to optimize your supply chain can have a dramatic impact on your brand’s bottom line.  And Donna Hartman, an attorney with OlenderFeldman, discussed the important legal points to keep in mind when drafting distribution agreements.

Final takeaways

If anything, the pace of innovation within the wine and spirits industry is accelerating, and that’s placing even more of an emphasis on staying ahead of key trends in the market. It’s no longer just enough to have a quality product. That’s now a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. You also have to have a compelling brand story and a true understanding of where your product might fit within an import portfolio and how it should be priced.

The general consensus of the show’s attendees, based on first-hand conversations with many of the exhibitors, is that this year’s USATT 2017 far exceeded expectations. USATT 2017 showcased a range of dynamic new brands and brought together these brands with importers and distributors to think creatively about how best to bring them to market. Watch this space for follow-ups on success stories from these brands ahead of USATT 2018!

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What U.S. Retailers Are Looking for and How to Pitch Them

On a daily basis, a wine and liquor retailer/wholesaler must manage a litany of items. Among those things is a slew of requests from a large number of winemakers who are eager to get their offerings on store shelves. When making a pitch to them, its important for a representative to be focused and respectful of the retailers time. Also vital is the ability to make a brand stand out from the rest in a crowded U.S. market.  

Meet the Retailers Needs

One of the most important themes in any sales pitch? Authenticity.  Retailers will be looking for an authentic story that tells of provenance. Theyll pass this along to the customers to help improve a brands identity. Ben von Doussa, USA Market Entry Manager for Wine Australia, likes to remind winemakers that every year the TTB approves a whopping 180,000 to 200,000 SKUs for wine and spirits in the United States. Because of this, a sales pitch must be incredibly compelling in order to garner any attention.

Wine Australias vision, going forward, is for Australia to be recognized as the worlds pre-eminent wine-producing company.Another key to standing out in the U.S. market is to focus on what makes Australian fine wines special when compared to other countries. Discussion of the diverse, unique regionality and superior terroirs found throughout Australia, as well as the skilled and innovative people behind the wine, helps to set Aussie wines apart from those made by other wine-producing hard hitters. The exciting thing about this? Its exactly what U.S. retailers are currently looking for. They want luxury wine offerings with a story and a sense of provenance behind them. Moving forward with this information in hand, Wine Australia is confident that Aussie wines have the capacity to be recognized as the best in the world.

What do U.S. retailers want from the New Australia? Listening to the needs of retailers is important and when von Doussa contacted them to talk specifics, they expressed excitement about the potential of new offerings to revitalize the Australian wine category. There have been approximately 50 Australian brands competing for an ever-shrinking amount of American shelf space over the past years. Retailers are looking for something new to attract customersattention.  

The story of origin is critically important in these new brands. Wine consumers want to purchase wine with a sense of place. As they open a bottle over dinner with friends, they want to be able to discuss where the grapes were grown, the purity of the water used to grow them and the growing conditions that make that region different from the rest.

Authenticity is also a significant factor to consider. When entry-level brands flooded into the U.S. wine market, it resulted in damage to the overall image of the Australian wine industry among American consumers. Retailers decided that most Australian brands werent able to deliver the kind of quality-to-price ratio that they needed. Margins matter, and representatives must demonstrate that offerings from the Australian category are capable of delivering the margins seen by other segments such as California or Europe. Its no longer acceptable for fine Australian wines to be perceived as an entry-level product.

In forming a sales pitch, there should be three areas of focus. Lead with all the specifics that make a wine unique. Media ratings from third-party sources like Wine Spectator are highly valued in the U.S. market. In addition to this, provenance, authenticity and a wines extraordinary value through luxury price points will help build a story that retailers want to hear. U.S. retailers are very motivated by driving margin, especially with the online competition that exists in the wine market. To top off the triad of sales pitch organization, offering regional exclusives is an excellent strategy to help build a relationship with various retailers.

Know the Customer

As wine representatives pitch various retailers, their presentation should vary according to the needs of each individual business. These needs are defined by the shopping behaviors of the customer base of that retailer. For instance, warehouse club Costco is perhaps the holy grail of accounts for wine brands. This is because they move a high volume of product, selling it to customers who arent concerned with price point and make wine purchases based on reviews and ratings. This differentiates Costco from other clubs such as BJs and Sams. They cater to a customer base that is primarily motivated by price point and is looking for cost-effective wine options.

Apart from Costco, stores with specialty wine programs should be another area of intense focus for winemakers and their representatives. Places like Earth Fare and Wegmans cater to wine-centric customers who love having a good story behind their wine. Customers who frequent specialty wine shops spend lots of time researching online ratings and are drawn to great quality wine with attractive packaging.

Grocery chains can prove to be a tough nut to crack for luxury wine brands, but ignoring them is a grave error. Brands that can break into a grocery store such as Kroger or Publix at a luxury price point will enjoy the ability to move a large amount of product. Grocery stores want quality wine and are happy to provide a selection for their customers who are looking for a higher price point. However, the current selection of Aussie wines being presented at most grocery stores is being sold as entry-level, low-cost offerings. Grocery stores run in contrast with the drug store wine market in the U.S., where customers are primarily motivated by a wines price point and packaging and are typically shopping for the lowest-priced products. These are not the best choice to focus on for sales.

Independent wine retailers such as Sherry-Lehman and Binnys in Chicago provide a market where price point is not an issue for the clientele. These kinds of retailers sell to a customer that is focused on ratings, as well as a wines story. Before making a choice, these customers need to know where their wine is from, how it was made and what makes it different from the brand sitting directly next to it on the shelf.  

As years go by, more and more of the wine market is playing out on the internet. Sites such as and WTSO cater to customers who do intensive research before making a wine purchase. Ratings play heavily with these customers, and they are interested to know the story behind any brand they consider buying. Price point is not a leading priority for online wine customers.

Wine and liquor chains with multiple locations such as ABC or Apple Jack function similarly to specialty grocery stores. They market wine by placing a spotlight on ratings and the story. Attractive packaging also works to garner the attention of customers in these stores. Small mom and pop stores cater to customers who are primarily focused on ratings and packaging. Although the price point isnt a big concern, mom and pop stores can prove to be challenging due to low-volume sales. A supplier will need to cover extensive ground to reach substantial numbers with independent retail stores.

Success in the U.S. wine market truly comes down to research and preparation. Price points are best determined by looking at the competition. Winemakers and their representatives must have a unique, compelling story preparedone that makes the retailer and the customer feel a connection with a given brand. Representatives must arrive at each store with an understanding of what aspects of wine purchasing are important to that specific customer base. Keeping these things in mind will greatly increase a brands chances of edging out the international competition in the teeming and ever-changing U.S. market.    

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Bodegas Esteban Martin

Bodegas Esteban Martin are located at the foot of the Iberian Cordillera. In this area the climate is influenced by a cold, dry wind, called “Cierzo”. Winters are cold and summers are extremely hot, there is little rainfall and temperature fluctuations tend to be extreme, which is why, so the vines have a great personality and character.


Amid the vineyards of the family Esteban Martin the Tower rises and all the winery. An open and flexible to the desires of its customers, modern and technologically up to date winery, but caring, very professional and consistent manner, the quality above all.


The Vineyard

A large vineyard, more than 200 hectares where those varieties best suited to their terroir are cultivated. Of course Garnacha, but also Tempranillo , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Macabeo. From the careful selection, which takes place in the harvest, arise wines Esteban Martin, young, Crianza and Reserva. In Esteban Martin they are convinced that the grapes need time and care to develop and displayed in all its glory. And they know that all actors influence the host: terroir, climate , minerals … all this translates into quality, personality and style.


Bodegas Esteban Martin Team

Bodegas Esteban Martin is very much a collaborative project and their three-generation family company includes many others – from cellar hands to grape pickers – each of whom play a vital role in the creation of their wines.

They are very lucky to be able to work with such a fabulous team who share and understand their vision and passion for the wines of Cariñena.


The careful selection of their Wines begins in the special care of the fruit. Esteban Martin wines are fresh and fruity with a good balance on the palate, smooth and silky tannins.

Wines with soul, that have enormous success in tastings and competitions around the world. Passion, terroir and personality clearly are reflected in each bottle.

A blend of modernity and know-how to reach their ultimate expression. The winery has recently been awarded the BRC Global Standard certificate and IFS.

bodegas_esteban_martinBarón de Funes reserva

Tasting Notes

Dark cherry red with a high robe and a slight organge tinge in the rim. Preserved aromas, toffee and fruits, such as blueberries, mix with chocolate and tobacco. Balanced on the palate, smoothness, rich and ripe with fine tannins that reminds them an optimum harvest and final notes of nuts. Aerate this wine up for 45 to 60 minutes and you get something else entirely.




bodegas_esteban_martinEsteban Martín joven

Tasting notes

Bright ruby red and intense nose of red fruits and flowers. Freshness on palate, nice sweet tanins. A very easy drinking wine.







bodegas_esteban_martinMarqués de Alfamén blanco

Tasting notes

Pale lemon, light aromas of flowers and tropical fruits. Refreshing and nice to celebrate a relaxing meal with friends.








Vinem rosado

Tasting Notes

Nice brighting pink color with a youthful nose of rose and strawberries. Refreshing in the palate, crisp and fruity nature.







bodegas_esteban_martinOh! Wine

Tasting notes

Pale straw-yello in colour, with a crystal clear. Beautiful floral notes on the nose, citrus and semi sweet palate. An ideal sparkling and refreshing wine.

Bodegas Esteban Martin Social Media Accounts:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr

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Royal Comfort LLC

Royal Comfort is a wine and beer distributor to Asia, focusing on Hong Kong and China. Royal Comfort‘s goal is to share the fantastic wine and beer produced in the great Northwest to the rest of the world. The region has been producing amazing wines, including a cabernet Sauvignon that scored a 100 point rating in the Wine Advocate.


Royal Comfort Philosophy

Great wine, great food, and quality of life are values they enjoy. Their philosophy at Royal Comfort is to share these values. They believe they complement each other and ultimately improve the quality of life, achieving happiness, laughter, and love. Cheers to exploring new wines, food, healthier living, and the new friends along the way!


Royal Comfort Wineries

The wineries they have selected and partner with are fabulous and love to share. They represent some of the best in the Northwest and West Coast of the United States. They are proud to be the Northwest Wine Distributor for their partners.

About Royal Comfort Wines

Royal Comfort LLC

2013 Benton-Lane Pinot Noir

This dark crimson hued wine has aromas of black cherry, cassis, and red licorice. The texture is quite plush and velvety with integrated tannin, so it will pair with a variety of cuisines. The flavors are classic Oregon pinot noir cherry and berry nuances, with notes of cured meats and baking spices layered in.

2014 Chateau Rongzi Rose Wine

Stylish Light Pink with fresh aromas of florals and a fruity wine, smooth refreshing like a touch of peach blossom in the spring. Like a summer breeze of a fresh new romance.

China Wines

Royal Comfort to debut Chateau Rongzi wines by Iconic Winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet of Petrus fame.

Jean Claude Berrouet is known for being a “classicist” winemaker and making wines that are balanced and represent their origins.   With his partnership with the Chateau Rongzi team that has truly been accomplished.  These wines are balanced; pairs very well with a wide range of cuisines and simply delicious!

Jean Claude Berrouet spent a year in the Loess Plateau in Northern China working with the Chateau Rongzi team to ensure that the final product showcased the unique terroir of the region. 

Chateau Rongzi has 14 wine shops as well as numerous retail partners throughout China that have been able to provide these wines to the fast-growing wine consumers in China. They have chosen to partner with Royal Comfort to debut these fantastic wines in the United States at the USA Trade Tasting Show. This will be a tremendous opportunity for prospective distributors to add these remarkable wines to their portfolio.

Royal Comfort LLC Video: 

Royal Comfort LLC Social Media Accounts:

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Casa Cadaval


The Casa Cadaval estate has been in the Alvares Pereira de Melo (Cadaval) family since 1648, having a long tradition of winemaking and horse breeding.

The winemaking tradition in the Estate of Muge goes back to the time of the Romans, millennia before the foundation of the House.  The property is located in the wine-growing region of the Tagus and is characterized by very homogeneous land, located in Denominated zones of Field, Charneca and respective zone of transition. These transitional soils are embedded in a place where in remote times there was a delta of the Tagus estuary.

These flooded areas gave rise to very own sedimentary soils, the “terraces of the Tagus”. On the surface, these soils are quite sandy, but more deeply, they have layers rich in clays, which accumulate small amounts of water throughout the year, providing the vineyard with an adequate and continuous dose of moisture in the driest seasons, Roots. The light color of the minerals make the surface of these soils very luminous, dramatically improving the photosynthesis of the crop. The natural stress that the soil imposes on the vine, allows the grapes to be obtained with high sanity and with excellent parameters of color and structure. The presence of the former Tagus Delta, with the tides coming and going, endowed the soils with maritime minerals that today influence the wines of Casa Cadaval, giving them a unique freshness, minerality and elegance, which are revealed after a few years of internship In basement. It is in this place that, from generation to generation, we plant vineyards that offer the best potential for the production of wines with character and elegance.

History Of Casa Cadaval

The Palace of the estate of Muge has a centuries-old history, dating back several years before belonging to the Cadaval family. It was once inhabited by Queen D. Leonor of Austria (third wife of King Manuel I, sister of Emperor D. Carlos V and Mother of the Infanta Dona Maria), who lived here until 1530, when he married her to the King of France, Francisco I. Only later, at the beginning of the 20th century, XVII, is that the property, then belonging to the family of the Counts of Odemira, came under the control of Casa Cadaval, when the daughter, Dona Maria de Faro, Countess of Odemira, married D. Nuno Álvares Pereira de Melo, 5th Count of Tentúgal, 4th Marquês de Ferreira and 1st Duke of Cadaval. Casa Cadaval currently has a total property of 5400 hectares and has been managed for 5 consecutive generations by women.

Today, Teresa Schönborn, Countess of Schönborn and Wiesentheid, is the chairman of the Board of Directors of this House.
She assumed the management from her mother and now forms the fifth generation of women to incorporate this position






Casa Cadaval is a large estate located 60K north of Lisbon. Most of the estate is farmland and woods but 55 hectares are now planted with grapes and 40 more planned. The ambition of Casa Cadaval is to become one of the leading table wine estates in Portugal. They have planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and local grapes such as Trincadeira Preta. Enormous care is taken over the winemaking with judicious use of Portuguese and French oak casks.

Casa Cadaval has a good reputation for their wine production. The facilities include a wine boutique that will enable you to taste the wines in their best surroundings. Casa Cadaval has unique conditions for wine tourism and is part of the Tejo region wine route.
Casa Cadaval is also well known for being one of the oldest Lusitano horse breeders in the world.

Casa Cadaval‘s Social Media Accounts:

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