SABIT ~ Special American Business Internship Training

Deep in the throes of my Dark & Delicious planning, it takes a lot to get my attention. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t want to have ever been really mean to me in the past, and think you can get my attention during this time, as it happened this past week. I didn’t pick up for that one, not for any of the four calls.

But then, as I was busily getting details done for D&D, the phone rang again, I looked at who was calling. It was Washington, D.C. On the other end of the line was Justyna Kottke, calling on behalf of the Department of Commerce. “Oh no,” I thought, “What have I done now?”

As it turns out, I’ve done something right this time. What I’ve done is create an advocacy group for a single variety (, and kept it alive against all odds.

Against all odds means that I pour a lot of hours into it, which for most standards would have me being a volunteer. Once Jose and I get our 20 hours a month done, we continue for another 80. I can’t help myself, and Jose can’t deny me when I need his help… So, we’re helpless, by our own choosing.

I must be doing it right; otherwise, why would delegates from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and the Ukraine be interested in what I have to say? I’ve found that I’ve become the global Go To Gal for Petite Sirah… and now the Go To Gal for running a wine grape advocacy group? It just boggles my mind… Forgive me for being so naively surprised. I just never saw this one coming. Yes, I’ve also traveled to the Midwest to talk about this subject, but this time the delegates are coming to me from the SABIT Group Program … I’m going to have to be on my best behavior and stay on message.

The group is primarily made up of Eurasian marketing and sales directors, with a few CEOs and executive directors thrown in for good measure. There will also be two interpreters who will be working simultaneously, while I speak.

The SABIT Program’s Wine Marketing and Promotion session will be training these mid- to senior-level managers and executives in the wine industry, who’ve been screened and selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce. They’re industry specialists who represent companies and organizations that are seeking information on innovations and trends in marketing, promotion, and general management practices.

The program has two main goals.

  1. The first is to improve delegates’ capabilities to market, promote, and sell wine from their regions, by discussing industry trends and marketing/promotion methods developed and implemented in the United States.
  2. The second goal is to provide American companies with a unique opportunity to be directly involved in Eurasia’s transition to a market-based economy by encouraging the formation of business relationships with professionals from the region.

In order to accomplish these goals, participants will meet with leading U.S. companies and organizations in the wine sector. The participants’ increased knowledge and familiarity with Western business and management concepts will allow them to implement meaningful changes in their organizations upon their return home, and it will better prepare them to work successfully with U.S. partners.

The program began on January 30, 2012 in Washington, DC, with an orientation and visits to relevant government agencies, associations, and companies in the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area. During the remaining two weeks, the group will travel to different regions across the country to meet with leading U.S. companies and organizations in the wine industry. My date to meet with everyone is Thursday, February 9, at the Hampton Inn & Suites Windsor, California.

I have in  my possession the biographies of each delegate. Each of them have given a “Main Topics of Interest” bullet points. From this I’ll be able to tailor what I’ll be addressing.

  • Wine festivals
  • Educational and industry organizations
  • Marketing trends/Social media trends
  • Marketing and promotion for smaller producers

This is going to be quite the experience for us all, and I’m really looking forward to this special meeting.

Wish me luck!





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