May 29, 2012
I just never had gotten around to it until this past week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am thinking it’s time now to begin to slowly (and, hopefully, intelligently) move into territories outside of California with our Steven Kent Portfolio wines. One of our basic and
most important criteria for deciding on new markets is “Do we know anybody there?” The fact that New Orleans, which is home to relatives and friends of our Vice President – Retail Sales, Tracey Hoff, is also a great food city and the home of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience to which we were headed to pour wine, made it potentially a slam dunk. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, but I’ve never had a better start to a distributor/supplier relationship.
Business potential aside, I have a new love. My wife, June, and I had the pleasure of spending a week a year -about 10 years ago- in Key West. It was exotic, had great food, warm people, a tiki bar, and, you could drink the water. New Orleans is all that…on steroids (tiki hut to be found on the next trip).
Like all great places, New Orleans has layers. There is the sublime shlockiness of Bourbon Street (5 minutes here is all anyone ever needs, ever),
the hidden gardens of Chartres; the incredible artistry of Stella! and THE BBQ Shrimp of Mr. B’s. There’s the music that both commiserates and stirs the loins; the humidity that pushes you down to the ground but connects you to the streets. There’s the graciousness of the people – “darlins” all around – and an easy rhythm lost north of Virginia and west of the Rockies.
Then there is the wine part. I traveled down to New Orleans ostensibly to pour at the New Orlean Food & Wine
Experience, and on the way we gained an enthusiastic new distributor and made a lot of fans with our portfolio of wines. There were a lot of thank yous from folks who were pleased to have small California wineries represented and a willingness to try wines they’d never heard about. It felt as if we had begun to make a new home for our wines here, and that is a rare and blessed feeling, indeed.
In the aftermath of Katrina there was talk about letting New Orleans go. She was an elderly auntie and had had her time but there were younger folk to worry about now. One should not scatter treasures to the dirt, and youth is not served on the headstone of the old.