We met Valkyrie Selections at Prowein (the world’s largest trade show for the wine and spirits industry) in March 2016 and had commenced discussions in regards to them becoming our exclusive distributor in the USA. They are a relatively young business having been formed in 2011 by Baron Ziegler. There were a few key attributes that were appealing to us, the first is that they are winemakers themselves for Banshee Wines in Sonoma, California and Averaen Wines in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Secondly, they are a young and dynamic business, much like ours, plus they cover the whole of the United States with a specialised, niche portfolio of wines from Europe.
They were a very professional company from the start and helped ensure our labels complied with US laws.
Every year, they host a portfolio tasting in two or three cities to showcase their range and members of those wineries are invited to attend and show their wines. In 2017, the two cities that were chosen were San Francisco & Los Angeles (L.A.). and they were being held at the end of February. Gareth Maxwell, our Sales & Export manager, flew out to California to attend both tastings and also to work with some of the distributors in the market.
The tasting in San Francisco was held at the trendy Press Club – a hip wine bar and lounge soon to be stocking Hattingley Valley. Our head winemaker and UKVA Winemaker of the Year (2014 & 2016), Emma Rice, was also over in the States and on hand to help the huge crowds that flocked to the Hattingley table (it always helps to be the new kid on the block!). We didn’t stop pouring for the whole session and it was great to meet a lot of distributors from other states within the US who were very interested in our wines.
We then moved onto Los Angeles for the second part of the road show which was to be held at the fantastic Republique (a boutique bakery/cafe that uses only the best quality ingredients and also soon to be stocking Hattingley Valley!). This was focused solely on the Californian market and the reps from Springboard Wine Company had done a fantastic job of getting the top people in the trade to come to the wine tasting event and most importantly to taste our wines. For the two following days, Gareth worked in the market with the sales team to show our wines around some of the key accounts in Los Angeles. All in all, it was a great trip and will undoubtedly help launch our wines in the US market.