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wine importers

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jasmurph Feb 2, 2007 05:48 PM

I find myself more and more often turning bottles around to see who brought it in. Louis/ Dressner is one of my favorites. I also like the stuff that Tempranillo brings in from Spain. Polaner's a name I trust too. I think I buy less italian wine spur of the moment because I don't know any italian importers. Recommendations from any country are welcome, but especially Italian and German. Any that you think are not to be trusted (again from anywhere)?

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  1. z
    zin1953 RE: jasmurph Feb 2, 2007 06:04 PM

    Not necessarily limited to Italian, but . . .

    Trusted (alphabetically):
    -- Beaune Imports [France]
    -- Classical Wines of Spain [Spain]
    -- Estate Wines [France, Italian]
    -- Hand Picked Selections [France]
    -- Jorge Ordonez [Spain]
    -- Louis/Dressner [France]
    -- Kermit Lynch [France, Italy]
    -- Kysella Pere et Fils, Ltd. [France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain]
    -- North Berkeley Imports [France]
    -- Oliver McCrum Imports [Italy]
    -- Terry Theise Selections (Michael Skurnik) [Champagne, Austria, Germany]

    All of these tend to be solid importers whose name on a bottle I find reassuring.

    21 Replies
    1. re: zin1953
      Robert Lauriston RE: zin1953 Feb 3, 2007 08:39 AM

      I also trust Beaune, McCrum, and Theise, if I see their label on the back of a bottle I know it'll be well-made and interesting. There's one other I can't think of offhand. French stuff, including some really obscure items.

      Some of Kermit Lynch's prices seem inflated, particularly on wines that he has been selling for 20+ years, compared with similar wines from other importers.

      Same goes for North Berkeley.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        z
        zin1953 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 3, 2007 09:16 AM

        Kermit is, no doubt, high on the price side. (I was able to "beat" his prices for years on the wines I grey-marketed.) North Berkeley less so, but the point remains valid.

        1. re: zin1953
          Robert Lauriston RE: zin1953 Feb 3, 2007 09:27 AM

          Kermit Lynch has added a lot of less expensive new wines in the past year or so. Some of those are good values. A few I've tasted were excellent values but they sold out before I could buy more.

          Since the company is an importer and distributor, the retail shop charges full retail. Other retailers sometimes sell some of Kermit's wines cheaper.

          Gray-market versions aren't always the exact same wine. Especially at the higher end of the price range, some of Kermit's suppliers make special blends.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            z
            zin1953 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 3, 2007 10:59 AM

            Well, Robert -- I'm presuming that you already know that I know all that, and that you're explaining that for the other people here who may not know.

            What you are saying is true IF I were, for example, to import a filtered version of a Rhone or Burgundy that Kermit brings in as an unfiltered wine. That said, it wasn't true of the wines I brought in.

            1. re: zin1953
              Robert Lauriston RE: zin1953 Feb 3, 2007 11:10 AM

              There are also wines where Lynch or one of his employees have selected particular lots. In at least one vintage, the Vieux-Telegraphe from Kermit was noticeably superior to the cheaper gray-market version.

              Speaking of which, I just splurged on a bottle of '95 Le Crau last night. Man was that a treat with grilled duck.

              http://www.caferouge.net/menu.htm

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              Melanie Wong RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 3, 2007 12:06 PM

              Maybe you're thinking of Charles Neal and his imports from SW France? His brett tolerance is a bit higher than mine (yeah, seems impossible!), so best to taste first before buying in quantity.

              I also think the 1995 VT Le Crau CDP is magnificent and still on the upswing. Some of the best Kermit values are in the Italian selection. Not carried by many retailers, underreported, and priced below the market, all of which can deliver some bargains. I think I've rec'd the Valpolicella before.

        2. re: zin1953
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          StephP RE: zin1953 Mar 22, 2008 01:14 PM

          For anyone out there familiar with SF area --
          Any insight to who are the local importers, distributors, and primary retail outlets for Southern Rhone wines. Northern as well.

          1. re: StephP
            z
            zin1953 RE: StephP Mar 22, 2008 02:13 PM

            All the usual suspects . . . where do you live within the Bay Area? that is, what's convenient? All the small importers mentioned above are available in the SF Bay area.

            Are there any Rhône producers you are looking for specifically?

            1. re: zin1953
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              StephP RE: zin1953 Mar 25, 2008 10:07 AM

              East Bay/ SF is convenient.

              I actually am asking for two reasons, one, I'm finding things to drink (that would be the CdR and CdRV stuff from some of the producers previously mentioned veneur, modoree, segries).

              Two, a friend who's doing a marketing program at Univ of Beaune is looking for an internship in the Bay Area. I'm thinking he'll need to contact some of the bigger distributors or importers of French wine in the area to see who might offer him a job this summer. The importers are I suspect, the list you've already posted, but the distributors I've no clue who those might be.

              Thanks in advance!

              1. re: StephP
                z
                zin1953 RE: StephP Mar 25, 2008 11:29 AM

                The big California wholesalers/distributors are
                Southern Wines & Spirits
                Young's Market Co.
                Wine Warehouse
                Henry Wine Group

                Some of these large firms will do in-house marketing, but many rely on the national importer. Small importers and/or wholesalers have little (or NO!) marketing budget of any kind. They spend their money on printing their sales brochures and doing an annual or semi-annual trade tasting.

                1. re: zin1953
                  Foodandwine RE: zin1953 Sep 27, 2008 06:26 PM

                  would you say that we should stay away from small importers. I would think that their personal touch and small library would be a big plus..

                  1. re: Foodandwine
                    z
                    zin1953 RE: Foodandwine Sep 28, 2008 05:42 PM

                    Where on earth would you get that idea from all I've posted here???

                    1. re: zin1953
                      Foodandwine RE: zin1953 Sep 28, 2008 06:19 PM

                      from your post above. did not intend to hit a nerve :) I have not read much of your posts to get a better feel..

                      1. re: Foodandwine
                        z
                        zin1953 RE: Foodandwine Sep 28, 2008 08:04 PM

                        Did you read the post to which I was replying?

                        StephP asked: "a friend who's doing a marketing program at Univ of Beaune is looking for an internship in the Bay Area. I'm thinking he'll need to contact some of the bigger distributors or importers of French wine in the area to see who might offer him a job this summer."

                        So I gave him a list of the larger distributors who might actually have a position for an intern . . .

                        Context is everything. ;^)

                        1. re: zin1953
                          Foodandwine RE: zin1953 Sep 29, 2008 06:56 AM

                          lets not argue here. I think you add allot to the board. I did read the post again and perhaps you left this out by accident:

                          I actually am asking for two reasons, one, I'm finding things to drink (that would be the CdR and CdRV stuff from some of the producers previously mentioned veneur, modoree, segries).

                          Perhaps we sould get back to the task at hand and not be so particular with one another.

                          The reason that I asked is that I am contemplating on becoming an Importer/Distributor and was curious about your thougts about doing so without saying that outright. SORRY! for the confusion..

                          1. re: Foodandwine
                            z
                            zin1953 RE: Foodandwine Sep 29, 2008 07:26 AM

                            >>> perhaps you left this out by accident <<<

                            No, it was on purpose. I did NOT address that comment in my initial reply, because a) it wasn't really a question; and b) all -- or almost all -- of the top "small" importers have already been addressed in this thread.

                            The thoughts/questions/contemplations about possibly becoming an importer/distributor is -- of course -- an entirely different issue. ;^) There is, as I'm sure you already know, no end to the questions this raises, let alone no end to the government red tape!

                            Being in California, Lloyd, it's an already crowded market. This is not to say a new importer/distributor could not thrive, but it DOES mean you need to fill a niche and/or have connections . . . careful business plan, and all that.

                            -- Do you want to be a national importer, a regional one, or just one for the State of California?
                            -- Do you want to focus on one region? one nation? one continent? or import wines from all over the world?
                            -- Do you want to be an importer and wholesaler? or an importer and distributor?
                            -- At the very least, you will need a Federal Import license and a California state distributor's license. Other states, other activities, and you'll require more licenses . . .

                            I don't expect you to answer the questions here, Lloyd, but if you check my profile, my email address is there, and I'm happy to continue this in private if you wish . . .

                            Cheers,
                            Jason

                            1. re: zin1953
                              Foodandwine RE: zin1953 Sep 29, 2008 06:10 PM

                              Jason, sent off a an email to your address hope I had it right.. Thanks

                              1. re: zin1953
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                                Bodega Romo RE: zin1953 Feb 17, 2009 01:03 AM

                                Hi Jason,I like to read you so much,I cant beleieve the wine culture there are in Usa, like you,and the interest to find new wine producers.I really think that the wine market in Usa are still so big,to export our products.I try to find some importers mail address,but couldnt not contact them,like kysella,classical wines of Spain,and ordoñez(they are ony whole salers and distributurs,who buy directly to us importers.
                                Can you help me?
                                Thanks

                  2. re: StephP
                    b
                    Bodega Romo RE: StephP Feb 17, 2009 12:30 AM

                    hi I like so much your discussions about wines,but my interest to stay here,is to looking for serious importers to export our wines.We are a little producers of good price quality relationship french type wines,cabernet,syrah,mourvedre,white garnache and vermentino(italian),in the spanish wine region called Penedes(catalonia).Can you help me?
                    thanks

                2. re: StephP
                  georgempavlov RE: StephP Sep 23, 2008 11:51 PM

                  One distributor with a strong presence in the bay area that you should be aware of is WineWise. They have an outstanding French portfolio, especially as value is concerned, and their Spanish producers are very good, too - especially the legendary Lopez de Heredia. They have a couple of producers in the southern Rhone - check them out.

                  1. re: georgempavlov
                    b
                    bubbles4me RE: georgempavlov Sep 24, 2008 06:42 PM

                    WineWise has a presence here in Southern California as well and the book is strong....but for value, dunno I think Beaune Imports has them there.

              2. steve h. RE: jasmurph Feb 2, 2007 06:10 PM

                rosenthal imports many of my favorite italian wines.

                1. Husky RE: jasmurph Feb 2, 2007 07:01 PM

                  To me Kermit Lynch is the king, but I also like a lot of wines imported by Siena Imports (San Francisco).

                  1. rootytootyfreshnfrooty RE: jasmurph Feb 2, 2007 08:51 PM

                    Palm Bay Imports is a wine importer whose wines I really seem to end up liking. They import Fonterutoli and Mazzei from Tuscany, Feudi Di San Gregorio from Campania, and Anselmi from near Verona. They also import a wine I've been enjoying from Spain, Condesa de Leganza. I often buy by this importer and it's usually a hit. They have a website (where I looked up the spellings) - www.palmbayimports.com.

                    1. moto RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 02:55 AM

                      in addition to the worthy nominations already mentioned, for Italians, winebow/leonard locasio and Eric Solomon (praised by R.Parker when asked by Charlie Rose for high q.p.r. wines) cheers

                      1. Carrie 218 RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 03:45 AM

                        For German, Austrian, and the like, no one can compare with DeeVine.

                        http://www.dvw.com/

                        I'll go to Kermit Lynch for everything else (Italian, French, Spanish, Argentine), but DeeVine has monthly tastings which have really opened up the German world for me.

                        1. s
                          Sam B RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 05:57 AM

                          For Italian, Winebow (Leonardo LoCascio), Neil Empson, Dalla Terra, Vin Divino (Marc De Grazia)

                          German - Cellars Itnl (Rudi Wiest), or Skurnik (Terry Thiese)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Sam B
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                            wew RE: Sam B Feb 3, 2007 04:18 PM

                            sam B--- If you check the web sites for Vin Divino and Marc De Grazia I think you will find that they are not related importers. VD---Kracher, Knoll, Prager, Zemmer, Colognole
                            De Grazia--Ciacci Piccolomini, Scavino, Mori

                            1. re: wew
                              d
                              deangold RE: wew Feb 4, 2007 05:41 AM

                              Vin di Vino is a master imported for Marc de Grazia and brings in their own selections as well.

                              1. re: deangold
                                w
                                wew RE: deangold Feb 4, 2007 12:41 PM

                                hello deangold
                                In my post I was trying (poorly) to adress the op's idea of selecting wine by looking at the back of the lable. In some markets when the back lable says "From Marc De Grazia", there will be no mention of Vin Divino and visa versa.How to track?

                          2. z
                            zin1953 RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 06:01 AM

                            Presented in the "FWIW Mode":

                            I am not the "be-all-to-end-all" when it comes to wines, by *any* means. All of the importers mentioned above have provided me with enjoyable, even superb wines, in the past.

                            The three I would add to my initial list would be Neal Rosenthal, Eric Solomon and DeeVine (though I prefer Terry Theise for Austria). These were oversights, and should have been included in my original listing.

                            Winebow/Leonard Locasio has some truly great wines, especially on the higher-end of the scale, but I've had some disapointments, too (though mainly on the low-end).

                            Palm Bay is more hit-and-miss for me. There is no doubt they have some great wines -- indeed I had a great wine from them last night! -- their name alone on a bottle is not enough to get me to buy it (presuming it's a producer I've never heard of), whereas the names included on my original list would be.

                            Again -- this is just me. YMMV.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: zin1953
                              Melanie Wong RE: zin1953 Feb 3, 2007 12:07 PM

                              I feel the same way about Palm Bay, not a sure thing though there are certainly some very good producers in the book.

                            2. j
                              jasmurph RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 09:15 AM

                              These are great lists. Thanks. They're heavy on the CA importers; any New Yorkers out there?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: jasmurph
                                hotoynoodle RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 09:21 AM

                                as previously mentioned, neal rosenthal. he is out of new york and has a killer porfolio of both french and italian.

                                1. re: jasmurph
                                  oolah RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 04:05 PM

                                  I'm in NY, and I see a lot of these on our side of the world too particularly Kermit Lynch. Agree with the Rosenthal. I've liked most of the Skurnik wines, including the Terry Thiese for Germans, Daniel Johnnes for Burgundies and Alain Junguenet for the Rhone Valley.

                                  1. re: oolah
                                    j
                                    jasmurph RE: oolah Feb 4, 2007 06:03 PM

                                    Where have you seen the Thiese wines? I'd like to track some down.

                                    1. re: jasmurph
                                      georgempavlov RE: jasmurph Sep 23, 2008 11:56 PM

                                      What state are you in?

                                      1. re: georgempavlov
                                        z
                                        zin1953 RE: georgempavlov Sep 24, 2008 12:22 PM

                                        I'd think it was New York, specifically Manhattan.

                                      2. re: jasmurph
                                        oolah RE: jasmurph Sep 24, 2008 04:44 PM

                                        oops -- I didn't see this until now!

                                        I've seen Thiese wines at a lot of shops including Chambers St Wines, Astor Place and Le Dû in Manhattan. Union Sq has some too, I think. Sorry about the late reply.

                                  2. d
                                    DavidT RE: jasmurph Feb 3, 2007 04:41 PM

                                    The Wine House in San Francisco carries a lot of the wines of southern France (the Rhone and beyond) imported by Robert Karcher. Many of them sell in the $8-$15 range and a number of them are quite good.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: DavidT
                                      z
                                      zin1953 RE: DavidT Feb 4, 2007 06:48 PM

                                      It's Robert Kacher.

                                      1. re: zin1953
                                        s
                                        Shooley RE: zin1953 May 27, 2009 04:44 AM

                                        I was going to add Bobby Kacher's name to the list; glad it was brought up by someone. Lots of great value wines; good palate.

                                    2. d
                                      deangold RE: jasmurph Feb 4, 2007 05:43 AM

                                      Peter Weygant has a wonderful portfolio from France. Albert Mann is a favorite.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: deangold
                                        Delucacheesemonger RE: deangold Oct 1, 2008 12:59 PM

                                        Peter Weygandt and wife also bring in Schoffit from Alsace, wonderful just like Mann. Lot of Rhone and Languedoc as well

                                      2. a
                                        aaw RE: jasmurph Feb 5, 2007 07:11 PM

                                        Another one who brings in some pretty interesting Italian wines is JK Imports / Vinissimo in Pasadena.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: aaw
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                                          LAwinelover RE: aaw Aug 13, 2007 06:39 PM

                                          Their web site is http://www.wineday.com

                                        2. o
                                          OliveBelle RE: jasmurph Feb 6, 2007 05:05 PM

                                          Additional thumbs up for:
                                          Jorge Ordonez
                                          For German wines, I love Rudi Wiest Selections/Cellars International and Thiese (you can find the local distributors by state on the VinDivino website). But for Austrian wines, I prefer Winemonger because you can buy direct from their website- no distributor mark-up.
                                          Eric Solomon
                                          Rosenthal
                                          Oliver McCrum

                                          1. h
                                            HeelsSoxHound RE: jasmurph Feb 7, 2007 06:18 AM

                                            Second Eric Solomon, despite the fact that a lot of distributors are tiring of dealing with his, shall we say, brusque personality. Also second Theise, Vin Divino, Dressner, and Jorge Ordonez. Would add Christopher Canaan to the list... great French and Spanish offerings. I happen to agree that Kermit's selections are often a bit on the high side, although the quality is generally there. I'm also a big Broadbent fan, if only for Chateau Musar.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: HeelsSoxHound
                                              Melanie Wong RE: HeelsSoxHound Feb 7, 2007 09:30 AM

                                              Speaking of personalities, we shouldn't forget Robert Chadderdon and his portfolio -
                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/301510

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                z
                                                zin1953 RE: Melanie Wong Feb 7, 2007 01:03 PM

                                                "Chadderdon has a small portfolio and, I'm told, is rather mysterious and difficult to work with. He has top notch producers (Huet, Billecart-Salmon, Boxler, Quintarelli, etc.) that are priced at a premium to the market and is quite selective about their retail placement."

                                                Melanie -- he's notoriously difficult to work with, and many of his wines can be found through alternate sources. (FWIW.)

                                                1. re: zin1953
                                                  c
                                                  Caillerets RE: zin1953 Feb 20, 2008 10:42 AM

                                                  For me there is Robert Chadderdon and no one else for France and Italy. When it comes to pedigree AND provenance - no one comes close.

                                                  1. re: Caillerets
                                                    z
                                                    zin1953 RE: Caillerets Feb 20, 2008 12:38 PM

                                                    well, as they say, "Differert Strokes . . . "

                                                    If I had to pick but one single importer for my wines, it wouldn't be him. That said, he DOES carry some VERY worthwhile wines, and a few of my favorites . . . but rarely something I can't pick up elsewhere through the grey market.

                                                    Cheers,
                                                    Jason

                                                  2. re: zin1953
                                                    Delucacheesemonger RE: zin1953 Oct 1, 2008 01:01 PM

                                                    Coulee de Serrant as well

                                              2. Carrie 218 RE: jasmurph Feb 10, 2007 10:36 AM

                                                An additional nod goes to Adventures in Wine -- I stumbled on them when working through bringing home some wines I purchased in Argentina and it seems they are developing quite a line up of their own.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Carrie 218
                                                  z
                                                  zin1953 RE: Carrie 218 Feb 10, 2007 03:06 PM

                                                  As the former Sales Manager of Adventures in Wine, I supposed I should say "thank you." ;^) Importing wine for private individuals has always been a sizeable portion of our/their business. So, too, Vintage Porto and the grey market, in addition to their own imports.

                                                  1. re: zin1953
                                                    w
                                                    wineheadedwoman RE: zin1953 Aug 12, 2007 02:30 PM

                                                    You are incredibly knowledgeable of your import sources. Who in the Bay Area deals with Neil Rosenthal Imports. Is it Terra Firma? On the roster of great importers, I would add a new one, Jon-David Headrick Selections, distributed through Regal Wines. Bon Vivant Wine Merchants is another good name, specializing in French wines made from organic or biodynamic grapes. If you had to put together a list of the best two-dozen importers, what would that list consist of? Another question may be, who are the distributors? For example, I am told Terry Theise wines are distributed though Wine Wise Selections. For the retailer, and not the consumer, the game of finding the distributors is a little difficult.

                                                    1. re: wineheadedwoman
                                                      z
                                                      zin1953 RE: wineheadedwoman Aug 12, 2007 04:51 PM

                                                      Distributors are actually easy to fine. All it usually takes is a visit to the importer's website -- they are frequently listed. If not, an email usualy brings the desired response in a day or two.

                                                      Keeping in mind that just because Trusted Importer X brings in Wine Y is no guarantee that Consumer Z is going to love it . . . ., I'll re-print my "trusted importer" here and add to it (still, alphabetically):

                                                      -- Beaune Imports [France]
                                                      -- Classical Wines of Spain [Spain]
                                                      -- Dee Vine Imports [Germany]
                                                      -- Estate Wines [France, Italian]
                                                      -- Hand Picked Selections [France]
                                                      -- Jorge Ordonez [Spain]
                                                      -- Louis/Dressner [France]
                                                      -- Kermit Lynch [France, Italy]
                                                      -- Kysella Pere et Fils, Ltd. [France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain]
                                                      -- Landgon Shiverick [France]
                                                      -- Neil Rosenthal [France]
                                                      -- North Berkeley Imports [France]
                                                      -- Old Bridge Cellars [Australia]
                                                      -- Oliver McCrum Imports [Italy]
                                                      -- Terry Theise Selections (Michael Skurnik) [Champagne, Austria, Germany]
                                                      -- Via Pacifica [New Zealand]
                                                      -- Vias [Italy]
                                                      -- Wilson Daniels [all over]
                                                      -- Winebow [Italy]

                                                      1. re: zin1953
                                                        ibstatguy RE: zin1953 Feb 16, 2008 05:03 PM

                                                        Jason - Since you were in the biz and are, I believe, in the Bay Area, I 'm curious as to why Martine's did not make the grade with you. Any comments?

                                                        1. re: ibstatguy
                                                          z
                                                          zin1953 RE: ibstatguy Feb 16, 2008 07:48 PM

                                                          Lots of thoughts . . . few worthy of public display.

                                                          Martine Saunier has a truly excellent palate. I do purchase some wines she imports, most notably Niepoort. But she deals largely with "la creme de la creme," with prices to match.

                                                          I can generally find better prices on the grey market.

                                                          Cheers,
                                                          Jason

                                                          1. re: zin1953
                                                            ibstatguy RE: zin1953 Feb 17, 2008 07:38 AM

                                                            perhaps this goes to another or a new thread but I have harbored concerns about grey market wines and the provenance of same. I think that this goes to perhaps at least two issues: (1) confidence in your retailer and (2) confidence in the importer.

                                                            if you're so willing, I'll "PM" you via eBob/Squires as I'd like the non-public display info

                                                            BTW - i have purchased quite a few of Martine's wines. agree on quality, very high. feel that the prices are fair, partiuclarly vis a vis Kermit, whose wines I also buy.

                                                            thx much

                                                            1. re: ibstatguy
                                                              z
                                                              zin1953 RE: ibstatguy Feb 17, 2008 07:46 AM

                                                              Sure. Although I will say that, as a grey marketer myself . . .

                                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                                j
                                                                JackEatsDrinks RE: zin1953 Dec 17, 2008 08:37 PM

                                                                Hi Jason,

                                                                I'm new to Chowhound. I've read through this string and really enjoyed it. I know there's often debate about markups on wines at the restaurant level, but I'm curious about the average markup an importer applies to wine purchased overseas (thinking Europe)? You seem to be really knowledgeable on the subject. Any thoughts would be appreciated...

                                                                Also do you know what became of a great little Italian wine store on San Pablo owned by a couple from Ristorante Venezia's glory days?

                                                                Thanks, Jack

                                                                1. re: JackEatsDrinks
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                                                                  zin1953 RE: JackEatsDrinks Dec 18, 2008 09:05 AM

                                                                  It varies. There is no simple answer.

                                                                  Hypothetically, State Wholesaler C represents US Wine Importer Z in California, while Wholesaler M represents Z's wines in Maryland. By the way, let's say that Importer Z is located in a Washington DC suburb in the state of Virginia.

                                                                  If Wholesaler C orders enough wine to fill an entire refrigerated container, that container will be loaded on a ship from (for example) France sailing directly for Los Angeles, and said container (once it clears customs) will go directly to C's warehouse.

                                                                  If Wholesaler M wants to, he can send a truck from the Balitmore warehouse to Virginia and pick up several palates of wine from Z's warehouse . . . OR, Z can deliver it in his trucks to Baltimore.

                                                                  Either way, C and M both pay Z for the wines. BUT the price to C will be lower than the price to M because C ordered a full container, and the wines were shipped stright to LA.

                                                                  The wines M receives were shipped to Virginia, unloaded into Z's warehouse, and so on. Even so, M will pay one price if he picks up the wine, another price if the wine is delivered.

                                                                  And if C does not order a full container, the wines will be shipped by Z from Virginia -- which might be the same cost M pays for delivery BUT C will have to pay the freight charges on the wine -- extra if C wants to use a refrigerated truck -- while M gets it delivered for free, becasue it was delivered on Z's trucks . . .

                                                                  So the percentage markup will vary.

                                                                  As for an Italian wine store on San Pablo, the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Kermit Lynch (of course), The Spanish Table, and Oddlots . . . I can't think of one that specializes in Italian wines.

                                                                  Cheers,
                                                                  Jason

                                                        2. re: zin1953
                                                          BillB656 RE: zin1953 Dec 18, 2008 06:23 AM

                                                          No complaints with your list although Dressner's more recent Italian selections, particularly Occhipinti, Roagna, Radikon, and cascina tavijn are really top-notch in addition to his French imports.

                                                          Adonna Imports (Jeannie Rogers from Il Capriccio in Waltham, MA) is pretty much flawless for obscure and delightful Italian wines

                                                          I would try anything with Peter Weygandt on the label as well, particularly for Loire, Beaujolais, and Alsace as he usually delivers wonderful qpr for minimal intervention wines.

                                                  2. a
                                                    Ali RE: jasmurph Feb 10, 2007 08:14 PM

                                                    I would add Fleet Street to the list. I've never had a wine from them that wasn't good, even if I haven't enjoyed every bottle.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Ali
                                                      c
                                                      chefdilettante RE: Ali Aug 6, 2009 07:19 AM

                                                      I agree that every wine I've tasted from Fleet Street has been excellent and add that they mandate temperature-controlled shipping from winery to container (refrigerated fruit trucks) and then refrigerated container to the U.S.

                                                    2. w
                                                      waffleman RE: jasmurph Feb 10, 2007 08:26 PM

                                                      Rudiwiest imports a great german wine portfolio. They are at www.germanwine.net.

                                                      JJ Prum, Von Buhl, Gunderloch, Schaefer Frohlich and Robert Weil are among those in their portfolio.

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                                                        The Passionate Palate RE: jasmurph Aug 12, 2007 04:13 PM

                                                        I spent many years in the Italian wine business and am very familiar with most of the Italian importers out there. Sometimes you have to go with some of the bigger names and companies in order to be more assured of the soundness of the wine. What I mean is that most of the larger importers can afford to ship or make sure their distributors ship the wines in refrigerated containers and make sure that they are warehoused properly in the U.S. Some of the smaller importers out there are putting their wines on cheaper (non-refigerated containers) and some I know even store their wines in garages. So, a wine that may have started out to be delicious in Italy will end up cooked on your dining table. Here are some of the trusted names that I like: Neil Empson Selections, Remy, Kobrand, Vias, WineBow, Marc de Grazia Selections, North Berkeley Imports and Dalla Terra.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: The Passionate Palate
                                                          Vinny Barbaresco RE: The Passionate Palate Aug 13, 2007 10:35 PM

                                                          That is a ridiculous statement...plenty of the small guys ship in reefers and have temperature controlled storage and deliver via temperature controlled trucks and vans. If fact, it's usually wine that sits on the floor at some huge distributor that enjoys less than perfect storage... it's even more likely that the wine cooks on the shelf at a large retailer or big box store (You don't think that they leave the A/C on at night when the place is closed?).

                                                          1. re: Vinny Barbaresco
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                                                            The Passionate Palate RE: Vinny Barbaresco Aug 18, 2007 11:52 AM

                                                            Vinny Barbaresco, I did say that "some of the smaller importers" are not shipping and/or storing their wines well. I know that for a fact. Of course, not all of them are doing that. There are some very high-quality, small importers. I think jasmurph's original question was that he needed to know of some reliable Italian importers, and I gave him a respectable answer. Please let him know about some of the smaller, reliable Italian importers that you know of.

                                                          2. re: The Passionate Palate
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                                                            zin1953 RE: The Passionate Palate Dec 18, 2008 09:13 AM

                                                            >>> Sometimes you have to go with some of the bigger names and companies in order to be more assured of the soundness of the wine. What I mean is that most of the larger importers can afford to ship or make sure their distributors ship the wines in refrigerated containers and make sure that they are warehoused properly in the U.S. Some of the smaller importers out there are putting their wines on cheaper (non-refigerated containers) and some I know even store their wines in garages. <<<

                                                            Name two.

                                                            I'm with Vinnie. EVERY small importer I know uses temperature-controlled containers for their shipments of wines -- at least everyone on the West Coast. I do know of one East Coast importer who ships in insulated containers approximately 6-7 months out of the year, and "reefers" the rest of the time.

                                                            There are several types of containers:

                                                            a) dry box -- uninsulated
                                                            b) dry box -- insulated with thermal blankets
                                                            c) temperature controlled ("reefer") -- BUT with the refrigeration switched off, taking advantage of the better insulation than a dry box with thermal blankets
                                                            d) emperature controlled ("reefer") -- with the refrigeration switched ON, i.e.: "working reefer."

                                                            Everyone I know on the West Coast uses working reefers!

                                                          3. u
                                                            uliana RE: jasmurph Feb 18, 2008 12:51 PM

                                                            I am from Italy, I manage a small consortium of italian wineries from different regions. I am visiting Dallas 9th march to 13rd trying to understand how TX/Dallas wine market works (importers and distributors) Any suggestion about an importer in Dallas/TX you would reccomend for his italian portfolio?

                                                            1. ibstatguy RE: jasmurph Oct 1, 2008 10:32 PM

                                                              getting to know know local wine reps has been a great source of great wines for me. they can't retailers to buy all of their wines and some great ones, in my experience, don't get shelf space. that's where you can really find some wonderful wines and usually at fair prices.

                                                              1. froggio RE: jasmurph Oct 4, 2008 03:59 PM

                                                                I agree with you about Louis-Dressner. They have an extraordinary Loire portfolio, unmatched in this country. I drink a lot of Loire, anyone with minimal knowledge of wines and prices and looking for quality knows it's the best value anywhere.

                                                                1. oolah RE: jasmurph May 6, 2009 09:30 PM

                                                                  This article on Slate made me think of this thread:
                                                                  http://www.slate.com/id/2217806/

                                                                  Comes with a handy guide too.

                                                                   
                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: oolah
                                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: oolah May 7, 2009 07:48 AM

                                                                    Not a bad list, though I'd add Oliver McCrum and Eric Stauffenegger.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                      ibstatguy RE: Robert Lauriston May 7, 2009 10:43 AM

                                                                      I'll add Robert Kacher, Martine's, Rudi Wiest

                                                                      1. re: ibstatguy
                                                                        Robert Lauriston RE: ibstatguy May 7, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                                        Kacher and Martine's are on there. Sort of weird that it's not sorted alphabetically.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                          ibstatguy RE: Robert Lauriston May 7, 2009 08:48 PM

                                                                          that's what I get for skimming the article. I'll leave my "add" to Rudi Wiest.

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                                                                    Sommelier00 RE: jasmurph Aug 5, 2009 01:30 PM

                                                                    For South African wine, Cape Classics is known as the "go to" importer. They have won multiple awards for their services over the years, ie "Name You Can Trust"/ "Reliable Importer" in Food & Wine''s annual Wine Guide for the past years. Good stuff at good value.
                                                                    Their website is www.CapeClassics.com

                                                                    1. ibstatguy RE: jasmurph Oct 19, 2009 10:59 AM

                                                                      nice article by Jancis Robinson about Martine Saunier:
                                                                      http://www.jancisrobinson.com/article...

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ibstatguy
                                                                        Vinny Barbaresco RE: ibstatguy Oct 19, 2009 09:08 PM

                                                                        Her palate is spot on and I can say without hesitation that her choices are textbook examples of any given appellation she works with. Needless to say I'm a big fan of her wines, especially when it comes to Burgundy and the Rhone Valley.

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