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Monday, October 10, 2011

Saving the 'Independent' Everything!

Three years ago when I first met Fabrizio Iuli, and decided to help him find a good honest distributor that his hard work and product merited, an 'ambassador' to his wines that would also be enthusiastic to have this special hand made juice, and would understand the importance of selling the 'independent vigneron,' my biggest motivation was the fear that if we didn't find the right hands to sell these small soul filled estates, that we would loose them forever.

Fabrizio Iuli and his dad, 'Renzo', his only 'employee'

It was this fear of loosing these small winemakers to big business, and to bankruptcy that eventually led me to the famous epiphany:

"F*** it, I'll just do it myself!"

... and just like that, Indie was born.

Our plight is simple; share these winemakers stories and history, express not only the passion of these artists, but also our own, teach our clients and consumers that it is JUST as important to know where your wine comes from as it is where your food comes from.  To teach those that don't understand, that vintage variance is the best part about wine... that wine is alive, a natural product, and when done like our winemakers do it, brings you to a place and time, and has a personality all it's own that you won't meet even in a neighboring estate.  All of this, as well as be able to support ourselves and our families.  We aren't looking to build an empire, we aren't looking to have fast cars or houses all over the globe.  We're looking to do a job that we love, and to keep these independent wine makers fed so they will keep making these wines that make us glow, ask questions, inspire us to cook new things, and share with our loved ones.

What I didn't foresee, was that we also need to save ourselves.  Just as the big companies and industrial wine estates are slowly but surely eating up the small independent estates that don't have money for marketing, or time and/or knowhow to find agents/importers and distributors, the same thing is happening on the importation and distribution side of the business.

We are a new company working honestly and with our hearts and souls, and simply can't compete with all the 'free' that is thrown at our buyers.  We can't buy new barstools or wine menu's for by the glass placements, and quite honestly if we could, wouldn't.  Is telling your customer that the reason you pour a particular wine by the glass is because you wanted them to be comfortable on their new shiny barstool really what we want to convey?  We can't offer 20 cases of free 'plonk' wine for 3 by the glass placements that are promised for at least 6 months.  Is telling your customer the reason you pour a particular wine by the glass because it was free what we want to convey??

I have been called many times, 'hopelessly optimistic,' and I hope this never changes, and this is obviously why none of this entered into my train of thought before starting this passion project.  I believed in the good people of the wine world.  I believed that the people that were interested in the honest, natural, hand made wines we have to offer were the same people that wanted to support 'small business,' and the dream of entrepreneurial independence.  I still want to believe this, but we are unfortunately seeing more and more of our fellow 'freedom fighters' (as one of our distributors calls them) fall subject to the fist of the big business.

Without risking 'soapy' feet, I will finish here, making this short and sweet.  We at Indie Wineries ask you, our loyal friends, family and clients, to not forget to support whenever and as much as possible, the independent 'everyone'.  Go to the corner store rather than 7-11, buy local produce at the farm stand, go to the locally owned restaurants rather than the chains, support the small grocers, the small shop owners rather than the GAP, and support the small independent wine growers and the distributors that carry them.  Not only Indie, but all the small distributors of everything you buy, that are trying to do something different.

In 'Independent' there is passion first and business second.  This is what it should be about.


Thanks for listening, and please pass along :)

- Summer