How To Become An International Wine Exporter In 3 Easy Steps

Hi, my name is Marcello Marchese and (among the other things) I’m an international wine exporter for Don Tomasi. How did I become one and how can you? In this post I’ll try to outline step by step how the wine business works so that YOU can start your own career and hopefully go abroad, make a lot of money and have a great life!

1) Find The Company

First of all you need to have the wine to sell, of course. Since you don’t have your own brand you’ll have to find one. It’s easier than you think, you just need to go and ask. Start by asking some friends and relatives if they know someone who produces wine. Then visit their company, try their wine and if you are convinced that it’s a quality product then ask them if they would like to expand and sell abroad.

Don’t overlook this part because you’ll have to sell their product all the time, and if the product is not good then it won’t sell. My recommendation is choosing quality over price. It might take you more time to make customers appreciate your product but it gives you more possibilities to have repeat orders.

I know most of you reading this are thinking: “I don’t have the courage to go to the company and ask this”. But think about it for a second, which company doesn’t want more sales? If you were the boss and someone came up to you and asked to try to sell your product for a percentage, wouldn’t you agree immediately? Sales are never enough for a business!

Another recommendation is to choose a winery which has already some sales agents for some foreign countries and get assigned a country not yet covered where you would like to go to. This is because if the company already sells successfully abroad it means that they have good prices, marketing and brand. Another possibility is to choose a company with a very good product which doesn’t yet sell abroad and think yourself about the marketing and the strategy to position and sell that product somewhere else, but you need in this case a lot of work and knowledge.

2) Time To Export Abroad

Hopefully now you have your contract to sell your wine somewhere abroad. Now the best part begins! Your job will be to find companies with the licence to import wines, visit them and convince them to buy your wine.

Before you leave for your destination you can collect from the Internet all the addresses, phone numbers, emails and you can already contact them with all your information. The most important thing, though, is going there in person because nothing can replace the human contact.

So buy the ticket for your destination, book the hotel and, if you need to cover long distances, rent a car.

Yes! You need the balls to show up at the company’s door, present yourself to strangers and talk about a your wine. Worried? This is actually the most interesting part: you’ll meet all kinds of people (some very nice, some less, some very interesting) and some of them can become partners or turn out to be useful connections.

3) Wine Tasting And Order

Once you find some company interested in trying your wine, contact your winery and ask them to send some samples. Usually you’ll have to rely on the importers licence but this depends a lot on the country your are working in. Ideally you should be trying the wine with the importers so that you can present it better and discuss with them the taste and impressions.

Did they like it? If so, you get your first order! Great! Remember: it’s all a number’s game so don’t beat yourself down for one, two or ten rejections. Eventually you’ll find someone interested and you’ll start a great business relationship.

Meanwhile, looking back one year from when you started, you’ll realize how much you learned, how many new interesting people you’ve met and how more confident you’ve become. All of this by travelling and having a great time abroad: cheers!

Curious To See What I Sell?

Curious to see what I sell? Here you’ll find a presentation of our wines Don Tomasi. If you are an importer or own a restaurant/store and you are interested in buying our quality Sicilian wine, contact me. All the information is in the presentation file.

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13 Comments

  • Vladimir 3 years ago

    Hello Marcello,
    Thanks for the very helpful information. It is simple and easy to understand. I think you really enjoying what you are doing. I am reside in Canada and just thinking to start this exciting career.
    What about the price formation? Is it easier to work on a commission base or sell it at your own price? Sending wine abroad increasing the price dramatically, isn’ it?

    Thanks

    • Hi Vladimir, thanks for the feedback, appreciated. About your question: usually the company already has some prices which are for the foreign markets, you just need to decide with the company which percentage you are going to get.
      You don’t have to worry about the cost of sending the wine because these are paid by the company or buy the buyer.
      Good luck and let us know!
      Marcello

  • Hello Marcello,

    Thanks for the bit of information provided. I am interested in exporting wine to England. What do you think about the prospects of that country? Also, would I need a license of my own of some sort to be the liaison when performing this kind of job?

    Any info, will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Yula

  • José Salgueiro 3 years ago

    Hello Marcello

    I have been thinking already for a while of starting my own company of exporting wines with a friend. Have done some research and found your story and information quite interesting and inspiring. But I find myself blocked with the fact that im not sure where and how to start. I am not sure if you can give me some guidence or advise on how I can start this buissines from scratch or if you have only knowledge on exporting wines with an established export company.
    Thank you

    Greetings
    José Salgueiro

    • Clayton Stewart 3 years ago

      Hi Jose, I’m not a wine expert by any means, but I’ve been in two startups now (one which failed miserably and one which is thriving). The difference for me was literally reading books from amazing authors. For starting a company check out Art of the Start by Guy kawasaki and The Lean Startup. For motivation and how to sell, check out my favorite author Grant Cardone and his 5 books. 4 of them have an audio program which is really cool because Grant Cardone reads it himself and adds his two cents in. Look for that million dollars in each book you read. I’ve had to teach myself how to import sports and health supplements into China from the USA, it’s just about making decisions, and dedicating yourself to learning. But it all started with the reading of the above books. Best of luck!

  • Great article, the books great inspirations. Live your passion and keep moving forward!

    Thanks,
    Gorka

  • Your opionion is so good that we are all agree with it and at this
    moment oour this will let you really feel much more better,so come on,here will constantly be a right
    for yoou personally!

  • mark moodley 2 years ago

    Can i make contact with you? I live between NYC and SA and want to explore this Export opportunity. please let me know when can we meet. I travel between JHB often and can make arrangements to chat over the phone, if you busy.
    Mark

  • Hey Marcello,
    Thank you for these great information. I am an aspiring wine exporter from Austria dealing with especially Veltliner wine. I am on the beginning of building up my website (www.veltliner-wine.com) and so far, I like the outlook. Just looking for ways to make this possible and very happy I stumbled upon your informative blog.
    I will sure follow your steps. One thing though, that I would like to point out. For the supplier, the bottles etiquette/ label needs to have the language of the country one intends to sell to. Maybe you can add this as well, as every country had different rules.
    Thank you again Marcello,
    Pat

  • Chatarina Murniyati 2 years ago

    Hi marcello, would you be interested to export wine to Indonesia?

    • Peter 2 years ago

      Hi Chatarina

      Would you be interested in our Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – its nurtured to a drier finish with the Carribean/Singapore climates in mind. It might be perfect for what you want!

      Call me on +64 9 585 2500

      Peter

    • Tawanda Kd Mawaro 2 years ago

      Chatarina, sorry to intrude your msg. im an american in Argentina and am looking at exporting wine from we havent done international operations yet but we are looking at giving it a try

  • Tawanda Kd Mawaro 2 years ago

    Hello Marcelo, i live in Argentina, i would like to start exporting wine, i have made contact with companies here but i would like to chat with you for some question, could you please give me your email add.or write me an email to tawa.cba@icloud.com