Live by the Score ~ Die by the Score. Can I say this enough?

This is a subject worth revisiting, because so many new people come into the wine business (it seems like everyday), performing at peak (only the best will do, so that’s how they perform). They grow it, make it, and bottle it… Knowing how great it is, then submit it for review. When the wine critic “doesn’t get it,” they spiral down, thinking it’s all over.

Well, it’s not, it’s only the beginning of finding out that if you build your empire on this double-edged sword, coming down on the sharp side smarts, but only if you have no back-up padding.

Wine’s a beautiful product to sell. When a salesperson visits a wine shop owner, a restauranteur, or a chain store buyer to sell his or her wine, it’s a fascinating process. When approached as a relational meeting, there’s so much more to it than a score.

It’s a home run when Robert Parker, Steve Heimoff, or Jim Laube, etc., has said that (on his particular palate) the wine deserves a 92 score. From that day forward, that wine needs no further introduction… It sells itself, and you can go to the golf links, to a ball game, or knit a sweater for some fun.

But… How many times is that going to happen, and with how many wines?

The odds are slim to narrow, just like hitting home runs. They don’t happen every single time at bat. It’s occasional, and it’s a special moment. A most important point here is this: Robert Parker, Steve Heimoff, and Jim Laube, etc., each have a particular preference, and each is looking for a certain profile. That’s what gets their attention, and if it meets that criteria, that’s what will be rewarded. No harm, no foul… I have deep respect for every wine critic in the wine business, because they have influence and power. I also trust my own palate, which is just as important to me… because it’s really all I’ve got, besides their opinions. It’s the same for each of us… We taste and evaluate according to what we like. (Give me fish and I’ll gag – maybe not you, though. Give me beef and pea pods and I’ll salivate – maybe not you, though.)

The best thing a sales person can do is internalize what I just wrote and get on with your own selling process.

You’ve got a great product, or you wouldn’t be selling it. Figure out your fine points, build a great story line, and sell your product, because one day the 92 will come to you, and you can go hit a few round of golf… Until the next score becomes sobering. It’s a crap shoot.

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