I'm always amused when I get back to the winery after a long stretch of business travel and my co-workers look at me and greet me somewhat curiously. People come into our office and say "Oh, you're here!" Better yet, there are some newly hired people who have no idea who the heck I am. I'm sure I will meet the newbie's very soon and I'll re-acquaint myself to all those seasoned employees who may have thought I moved on or became part of the witness re-location program.
Actually, I have just wrapped up a series of business trips that was very extensive and highly productive in many ways. So far this year I have logged 50 days of traveling for the greater cause of selling Talley Vineyards and Bishop's Peak wines to our wholesale customers around the U.S. Most recently I was in the Massachusetts area and over the three days I was there, I visited 15 accounts, both retail and restaurants, and hosted a dinner with our top sales people and managers from the distributor.
Last week was an interesting journey as well. I started the week in Boise, Idaho, where I spent two nights and worked the area for one day. It's a lovely town of about 200,000 people and growing quickly and the restaurant scene there is vibrant. Later in the week I drove to Ketchum where our distributor stages their annual trade tasting. Ketchum is adjacent to Sun Valley, a beautiful mountain resort, and a great market for our wines. I left Ketchum and drove back to Boise to catch a flight that would eventually land me in Aspen. It's not bad to start your day in Ketchum and end it in Aspen! Winemaker, Eric Johnson met me in Aspen and we attended the Aspen Food & Wines Classic. Describing the F & W Classic would probably take three more pages than anyone would want to read but suffice to say that it is by far the biggest, most elaborate event of this nature that I have ever attended in my 30 years in this business. Not only is there an enormous selection of wines from around the globe, but a vast array of spirits and craft beers. The cooking demos and food sampling is over the top as well. Along the way we met some very interesting wine industry professionals, including sommeliers, importers, buyers, and chefs. Did I mention that I got to meet John Salley, the ex Detroit Pistons player who now has his own brand of wines? Who knows what excitement the next trip might bring!