I applaud Total Wine & More

Being on the inside of the wine business, I get to see things happening that let me know who’s who and what’s what.

[Image: center is Ron Rubin, owner and president of The Rubin Family of Wines, greeting his guests.]

I have been in the wine business for over two decades. I’ve not seen it all, but I’ve seen a great deal of it. This includes working with off premise retailers, when I was a district wine sales manager. So, I “get” sales. It’s not my actual calling, but having worked it intensely for three years, I have an appreciation. (If you’re a consumer, and many of you are, “off premise” means that you – as a consumer – take a purchased beverage off the premises to enjoy consuming it.)

[Ron Rubin begins his portion of the program by giving the Total people a bit of history of how he was born into and has been in the beverage industry his entire life, fulfilling his 40 year dream.]

When The Rubin Family of Wines just entertained sales people from Total Wine & More, I was once again reminded what a great company this beverage retailer really is.

[Image is of winemaker and cooper Ed Morris, who works with winemaker Joe Freeman. In the above image, Ed is talking about the importance that choosing the right barrels for each variety is all important as a great structural beginning for making wine with harvested grapes. Below, Ed’s demonstrating how barrels are washed from one vintage to the next. This is something I’d never seen, either, visually. The plexiglass allows for the bird’s eye view.]

When the day’s educational activities were complete, we all had a pizza picnic dinner in the vineyards. At my table sat Jenny, Dan, Keith, Debbie, Keira, and my new best friend Jen. They were all young, eager to learn, excited to be on the road learning, and just beginning an adventure of a lifetime. Total Wine had a busload of young beverage professionals learning firsthand what being in wine country is all about.

This was my second year attending one of their ‘stops’ along the way, again at The Rubin Family of Wines.  Our stop had been orchestrated by the team from the winery, led by Kate Dos Santos, Lori Knapp, and Diane DiRoma. Every ‘i” had been dotted and every “t” had been crossed. The visit went off without a hitch, offering these eager-to-learn emerging wine pros (not everyone was “emerging,” but many of them were) more reasons to understand Ron Rubin’s wines.

[Image is of Ron Rubin and Alvaro Zamora, the team’s vineyard manager for over 25 years. Alvaro knows his vines.]

Imagine a beverage company that will make this kind of investment in its employees? How it enriches their lives is immeasurable, when it’s all said and done.

  • The importance of knowing what you’re selling is paramount.
  • Hand selling by each member becomes critical, versus just dusting off bottles and stocking shelves.
  • Consumers can walk into any store and get valuable information about which wine to buy, and why they’d want to purchase it.
  • In many cases, these sales people will sell what they know, due to the back stories they’ve learned by being in vineyards,wine cellars, and having met the people behind the wine brands:
    • Owners
    • Winemakers
    • Vineyardists
    • The winery cat or dog
    • Any lingering memory
  • Time in the field… for every single minute… is part of a learning curve and an important team building experience.

Images from this day just say it all. I’m not going to wax poetic any further… You get the point, right?

[Winemaker Joe Freeman, conducting a tasting of differing alcohol percentages from the same original wine. It was a remarkable tasting.]

[Winemaker Joe Freeman’s glasses of wine, for his demonstration.]

[A lovely pizza picnic in the vineyards with River Road Family Vineyards and Winery wines.]