Weekly Holidaze Drawing: Just leave a comment on any wine-blog entry this month, to win gifts this December:

There is nothing like a new client coming into my business (Diaz Communications), especially since we’re a marketing and public relations company. This couldn’t be any better for reinvigorating my creative juices. I’m sure many other P.R. colleagues feel the same way. It’s especially true when the client hiring me already understands the potential of what marketing and P.R. will do for his or her company, without second guessing where it’s going. There are times when companies hire marketing people, but just aren’t ready for the commitment. After a short amount of time, the relationship fails, because hiring a P.R. and/or marketing consultant isn’t where the work ends for the client; it’s where it begins.

With a great, new client, there’s a whole, fresh exploratory learning curve ahead, with lots of new stories to research and write in unique and revitalized ways.

It helps immensely when my reset button also involves another country, never mind another AVA in my usual California portfolio. I’m talking Portugal, here…  And this year, my mission was to learn about Portuguese wines. To that end, I’ve begun a very adventurous and successful journey… And I just love it.

  • The year began by reading Martin Page’s The First Global Village ~ How Portugal Changed the World. And oh yes, Portugal surely did. Things as simple as exporting tempura to Japan, along with the word for “thank you” being “obrigado” in Portuguese and “obrigado” now being used by the Japanese.
  • On July 1, 2009, Enoforum Wines hired my company to help them not only manage their U.S. public relations and social media marketing, but to also help their general manager Delfim Costa find an importer.
  • Next came a journey to Portugal. I just traveled to Europe (the first time for me) in late October through early November to discover Portugal, gratis Enoforum Wines. While in Lisbon, Delfim and I toured the Monument of Discoveries. To honor its heroes, Portugal erected a monument for the 1940 World’s Fair. Then, in 1960, it was rebuilt in commemoration of the five hundred year anniversary for Henry the Navigator’s death.  According to Delfim Costa, the best Portuguese historian I know: Henry the Navigator was the Prince that launched all the Navigation projects, creating the Sagres School of Navigation. He collected the best and brightest people from all over Europe to work there, get funds and the contracts with the King. He established the first strategic goals, and so on. The Portuguese were the first Western people arriving in Japan, with Henry being the pioneering leader who  started all of the navigation projects.
  • The Monument is in the shape of a fifteenth century boat’s prow, and is pointing directly to the Tagus River. Notable Portuguese figures are looking forward to what’s ahead. At the bow of the ship stands Henry the Navigator, holding a model of one of the caravelas, which the Portuguese used to sail the oceans. People are able to enter the Monument of Discoveries, and climb up the tower. This allows for a breathtaking view over Belém, a region of Lisbon, with the Windrose below the monument sprawling toward the city. This Windrose has captured all of the major Portuguese travels, beginning in 1427  with a journey to the island of Madeira; through 1541, with a sea voyage to Japan. [The image above of the complete “Around the World in 80 Clicks,” is used by permission and with all rights reserved from TravelAdventures.org. Thanks.]
  • All of this proved to me that Martin Page’s book was a great primer for helping me understand the people of Portugal and their adventurous spirit, thereby glimpsing the heart and soul of the people who are crafting the wines of Portugal.

The above image is a closeup that shows the date (1541), when Henry the Navigator landed in Japan. On the “Around the World in 80 Clicks” street mural, as all places of discovery have a date for when Henry landed in that country on those shores. This is a marble tile pathway to the monument, by the way. In the image at the beginning of this blog entry, those little flecks that you see are people walking on these tiles, discovering for themselves the enormity of the world explorations and discoveries of that time. The global explorations are in the exact center of this mural.

Enoforum Wines understands that any learning curve needs to be supported in every way possible, which included this recent 10-day trip, where I had a rigorous schedule. My tour, along with blogger Gwendolyn Alley of the WinePredator and ArtPredator, included the following beyond Lisbon:

  • Wining and dining with Portuguese wines and foods in many of the Alentejo regions where the wine is grown and produced
  • Exploring Portuguese culture, geography, and history throughout these regions and in Lisbon, Sintra, and Cascais
  • Making new friends who are interested in a long term relationship in every area that we visited

This relationship will bear fruit for everyone along the chain of command, including the importer that we will be securing in 2010. Throughout the new year, my new mission is to find an American importer who wants to receive the same benefits of joining forces with one of Portugal’s most progressive and well financed export companies, Enoforum Wines, with whom I have been fortunate enough to align forces. I’m going to be discussing this journey on Wine-Blog as it evolves, because wine-blog is my journal of experiences within the wine business.  I will be the telling of the strengths (as they reveal themselves), weaknesses (that I will find ways to strengthen), opportunities (in markets that hold promise), and threats (which I’ll be challenged to overcome.)

Whomever becomes the company or companies which sees this as a perfect partnering will have the following benefits:

  • Bringing excellent brands into the United States that are affordably priced to sell (Range: $6.99 to $23)
  • Expanding its portfolio with extreme value wines from the up-and-coming Alentejo Wine Region
    • Eric Asimov of the New York Times: “Today, Portugal is a source of distinctive wines. More than anything, these wines struck me as honest. They do not try to imitate flavors and styles that are popular elsewhere.”
    • Jancis Robinson: “This is certainly one of the most promising wine-growing regions in the world.”
    • The Wine Anorak online Magazine: Wineanorak.com: “Because many of the estates are fairly large and the climate is so reliable, economies of scale mean that Alentejo Wines can combine quality with affordability, which is more of a challenge in Portugal’s more northerly regions.”
    • Jamie Goode’s Wine Blog: “Now the Alentejo is a warm region in the south of Portugal, which as well as producing some of Portugal’s best-loved wines (mainly, but not exclusively red), is also known for its cork, wheat, sheep and the famous black pigs.”
  • Being supported by Enoforum Wines with the education of key people about Portugal’s Alentejo region
  • Packaging that is good to go, having already been though the rigors of attractive US designs for selling
  • Diaz Communications constant support with not only the traditional PR writers, but also being supported with Social Media
    • Facebook ~ Enoforum Wines
    • Twitter ~ @EnoforumWines (As of this writing, there are already 101 Tweets, 647 Following, 370 Followers, and 15 Listed)

    Welcome to the journey of how someone will find a U.S. importer.

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