Every year and a half we have three day meetings with the principals of our sister wineries from South Australia (Chapel Hill) and Argentina (Finca Decero) and the owner (Thomas Schmidheiny) and members of his team from Switzerland. Tory, Steve and two of our directors, John and Jon joined us in comprehensive discussions as wide ranging as individual and group marketing, winemaking and viticulture techniques, comparative tastings and the global economy. We always schedule some time for visiting local wineries and this year it was Gantenbein and Georg Fromm www.frommwineries.com for tour and tastings of their excellent Swiss wineries.
After the meetings most returned home but Steve was off to Spain to visit some of their wines while I continued my travels with importer visits in Sweden and Denmark. Market visits usually entail meetings, visiting restaurants to gain new placements and what the rest of the world calls “Wine and Dine”, (we call them winery dinners). One night it was in Malmo, Sweden’s top restaurant call Vendel. vendelatsturehof.gastrogate.com. The chef constructed an exceptional menu that that showcased our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot and Brandlin Cabernet. I also hand-carried our Bald Mt Zin and Espiritu dessert wine. If you do your math you’ll see there were seven courses.
The second night (after more market work and meetings) was at a seafood restaurant out along the coast. As patrons were seated Richard (my importer and friend) and I would visit the table and offer them a taste of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We where both pleased that we’d lost none of our old restaurant expertise from our previous careers and sold 15 bottles of wine.
Friday morning I took a train from Sweden, over the straight to Copenhagen for meetings and lunch with Ole, our Danish importer. Ole like most of my associates, become dear friends over the years but I have too little exposure with them due to distance and expense of market visits. We ate at a coastal village that was the old site of the ferry departure area to Sweden before the bridge was completed over 12 years ago. We dined on traditional Danish food with a modern touch and another exceptional meal (with a bottle of Cuvaison Pinot Noir).
After lunch Ole dropped me off at the Copenhagen airport for a quick flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Having never visited the German wine regions I planned a quick three night, two day visit to the wine regions of Rhinegau and Middle Rhine. I stayed at Breuer’ Rudesheimer Schloss in Rudesheim (ruedesheimer-schloss.com) and quickly made friends with Susanne and Heinrick Breuer. Their Inn and restaurant was a perfect place to enjoy lovely accommodations and great food and wine. Heinrick stays busy with the management of their top rated winery “Georg Breuer”, and still finds time to work at the Inn and restaurant at night. Susanne never stops with managing the Inn and restaurant as well as directing guest like me with itineraries. She even found time to take a group of us guests on a four hour tour and hike of the surrounding vineyards and into the next town in the middle Rhine.