It is one thing wanting to source wines from a particular target country or region, it can be quite the challenge to find the right producer with the right wines for your business and customers. Particularly when looking at a developing wine country for the first time. Like Greece. Here we talk to Antonis Sioulis, managing partner of Reco Exports, that specialises in putting Greek wine producers together with the right overseas partners, about its new bespoke service it hopes to offer UK importers and wine buyers in finding the right Greek producer for their needs.
“This is brilliant moment for the UK importers to introduce new and interesting Greek wines to their clients.” Antonis Sioulis explains how Reco Exports can help importers introduce those wines to the UK.
Tell us about yourself and the business you run?
Reco Exports is a food and drink export marketing agency that helps international companies set foot in the UK and Nordic markets. We have presence in four countries and our Greek office, that was established in 2008, provides advice and support to Greek companies that operate in the food and drink sector and helps them understand how these markets operate and how they can export their products.
As well as organising trips and tastings you are now looking to start a new Greek wine consultancy service – what are you are looking to offer?
We’re still doing exactly what we’ve done the last 15 years in Greece, but we now give quite a lot of emphasis to the wine sector. We’ve seen that although the demand for Greek wine has risen the last 12-18 months, not many labels have been imported to the UK yet. And that has to do mainly with the way that the Greek and UK companies perceive business across the board. Two different cultures with different business priorities and mentalities. Our aim is to help UK distributors find the right wine producers to partner with and at the same time support the Greek wine producers understand the UK market and the whole process.
Why are you looking to set this up now?
We’ve seen the demand for Greek wine has risen the 12-18 months and we feel that now it’s the right time for the Greek wines to enter the on and off-trade market.
What sort of specific services can you offer that importers can’t do for themselves?
We can help UK importers by acting as their local office. We can support them with the selection of the wine producers that meet their criteria, in terms of export readiness, production capacity, certifications, ability to support their marketing activities and of course ability to work on the payment terms that the UK market requires.
How do you envisage bringing producers and importers together?
For us the key thing is partnership. Successful business relationships are built on strong partnerships and this is exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Our role is firstly to ensure that the UK importers understand the challenges that the Greek wine producers face and to appreciate and value the wines that they’ll import and secondly to make sure that the Greek wineries understand the UK market rules and learn to build on long-term business models.
What sort of information are you looking to get from producers to help importers know who to approach?
We’ll be collecting information such as varieties produced, production capacity, prices, certifications, credibility, performance to other exporting markets and of course export readiness.
What sort of information will you need to get from importers to help producers understand which one could be right for them?
We’ll need to understand their business model and channels they target. Do they serve the on-trade, the off-trade market or both? What type of wine do they need and at what price? What are their payment terms and what type of marketing support will they need from the producers. These are just some key questions that will help us select the right partners and wines for their portfolio.
Will you be able to help provide samples for tasting – how will that work?
Yes, of course, we’ll be able to arrange shipping of samples as and when needed
Will you be able to organise trips for buyers to go and visit selected producers?
Yes, definitely. After the UK importers decide which wines best suit their needs, we’ll organise the whole trip itinerary winery visits.
What about shipping and bringing wines to the UK? Are you looking to have stock available in the UK from potential producers for buyers to taste?
Ideally, the UK importers would be able to ship a small container directly to their warehouse. However, the whole importation model requires groupage shipping, then we can definitely organise that by shipping directly to our warehouse and then distributing to the UK buyers. As it concerns the available stock in the UK, again depending on the volume of imports and the UK buyers’ needs we would be able to create a Greek wine distribution centre, that will serve the whole UK trade market.
You are also looking to run a groupage service – how will that work?
We’ll definitely be able to arrange groupage of wines from Greece to our warehouse in the UK and from there to the UK importers’ site. Our warehouse in Greece can manage the whole process, from packaging to customs and excise paperwork and procedures.
How do you see the Greek wine market and potential for UK buyers?
The Greek wines and especially the indigenous varieties across Greece have been on the radar of both trade and consumers for quite some time now. The UK is the No1 “touristic partner” for Greece and yet apart from retsina, the UK consumers can hardly find the beautiful wines that they’ve tasted in Greece.
This is brilliant moment for the UK importers to introduce new and interesting Greek wines to their clients. Wines that will satisfy the UK palate and wines that can be affordable as well as quality. Therefore, we see that this can be a become a great win-win opportunity for all parties involved. The UK trade, the consumers and the Greek producers.
Which areas of Greece and its slands do you think have the most potential and why?
Mainland Greece and Crete are two of the areas that combine everything that a UK importer and a UK consumer want. Incredible indigenous varieties, great history and excellent prices. Plenty of producers, each one with their own storytelling, with very interesting varieties and labels and very appealing RRPs. The best recipe for success
What issues do you see for importers and buyers wanting to find producers and wines in Greece?
The main initial challenge, for some importers, will be the target price. Greek wines can never compete with the Italian, Spanish or French wines in terms of their production capabilities and as a consequence the prices. Therefore the UK trade must understand that the Greek wines, must be treated as boutique wines, that carry a different character, a different production cost and inevitably a different price range.
How do you hope to solve them?
Inspiration and education are the two key words. We’ll try to inspire the UK importers to learn more about the Greek wines from the aforementioned areas, understand the winemakers and their winemaking processes. Once this is achieved, we need to inspire the UK on-trade and off-trade client base, by organising more focused wine tasting activities that will involve all parties, the UK importers, their clients and the final customer and consumer.
Which areas of Greece are you best placed to find the right producers?
We are able to locate, speak and liaise with producers from all over Greece. Also our long-term involvement with major wine trade shows, has given us access to most of the wineries in Greece.
- You can find out more about how Reco Exports works here and contact Antonis Sioulis directly on firstname.lastname@example.org