Home' National Liquor News : NLN MAY 2016 Contents 50 | MAY 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
STEVE: Steve has been in the wine and spirits
industry for the past 30 years, being involved in a
number of wine companies, particularly from the
Hunter Valley. He currently enjoys his role as state
sales manager with Agnew Wines -- owners and
distributors of Poole's Rock, Audrey Wilkinson
and Cockfighter's Ghost.
ALISON: While Alison and her partner Michael
are new to the game, according to Steve, they
are like a breath of fresh air as they have no pre-
conceived ideas about the industry. They have
refurbished the store and upgraded the quality of
wines on sale.
PHILIPPE: Philippe has been involved in the
wine industry for more than 15 years, following a
career as a journalist and documentary producer.
He began in wine tasting and point of sale
promotions with Tyrrell's Wines. He then worked
with Doc's Liquor in Ringwood North and North
Balwyn, before becoming a rep for Crush Wines.
He then joined Dynasty Fine Wines where he has
worked for six and a half years.
HOW ARE YOU FINDING THE
STEVE: Always challenging, but being consistent
with quality and pricing without being greedy has
given us a steady growth with customers happy
and confident in stocking our wines.
ALISON: The market has been quite difficult over
the past three years but we have noticed a distinct
turnaround this year and are quietly confident
that there are more profitable times ahead. The
improvement in sales follows our decision to
move more towards the middle and high end of
the market, stocking top quality, boutique wines
mostly not available through Dan Murphy's, First
Choice and other mainstream outlets.
WHAT PROMOTIONS WORK
BEST FOR YOU?
STEVE: Gift with purchase promotions, volume
deals, and good old fashioned tastings always
work. The last thing we want to do is to compete
with the huge amount of discounting and
giveaways being offered to restaurants and liquor
stores, so our approach is simply based on good
service and high quality, value for money wine.
ALISON: We are having considerable success
with our two or three bottle promotions where we
have cut our margins but increased our sales.
We have also had considerable success with
our free wine tasting events which we hold
every two months, usually with 20 or 30 good
quality wines, including wines in the $60 to $100
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST
ABOUT THE JOB?
STEVE: Definitely the people -- not just our
customers, most of whom have been doing
business with me for a very long time and have
become good friends -- but the great relationship
with everybody at Agnew Wines that makes you
feel proud to be part of a great team.
ALISON: Getting to know our customers and
their tastes is probably the most enjoyable part of
running a wine shop. Many of them have become
good friends and we love the positive feedback we
get when we recommend new wines that we think
they'll like. Equally as enjoyable is the chance to
try new wines and vintages ourselves. You never
stop learning in this business.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY
MOST ABOUT WORKING
STEVE: As soon as you walk in, you're greeted
with a warm welcome so you know that you have
achieved a great relationship. Bouncing ideas off
each other to find out what customers want, and
then putting a plan in place to achieve the goal
is both rewarding
ALISON: Working with Steve is always a pleasure.
Not only is he a gentleman, he has a wealth of
knowledge about his wines and about the industry
in general. Philippe has known Steve for more
than 15 years, in fact it was Steve who gave
Philippe his first job in the wine industry when he
was Victorian Manager for Tyrrell's.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH
STEVE: Working relationships are built over
time and are mainly based on trust. Once this is
achieved it becomes a social call discussing what
we can do for each other to achieve mutually
ALISON: We at Dynasty Fine Wines are firm
believers in the synergy between distributors and
retailers, and the need for mutual respect. Steve
has earned that respect in spades. He's totally
honest about his wines and unlike some
distributors we know, never tries to con you into a
wine he knows won't work for you. We are always
disappointed when we hear of wine store owners
who treat distributors badly. We need them as
much as they need us and by working together
we believe you end up with a win-win result.
WE TALK SHOP WITH STEVE SUTERA FROM
AGNEW WINES AND ALISON ZHENG FROM
DYNASTY FINE WINES, WITH THE HELP OF HER
WINE CONSULTANT PHILIPPE DE MONTIGNIE.
ALISON ZHENG Owner, Dynasty Fine Wines, VIC
PHILIPPE DE MONTIGNIE Wine consultant,
Dynasty Fine Wines
STEVE SUTERA State sales manager VIC/TAS,
Philippe De Montignie,
Alison Zheng and Steve Sutera.
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