This is the third in a series of profiles of Italian wine importers. Today we have Negociants Australia, with answers provided by Tim Evans.
Q1 What is your business?
- Negociants Australia is a fine wine distributor representing the finest wines of the world. That we are passionate and knowledgeable about fine wine is no accident. It is compulsory - as is our commitment to professional representation of the finest wines from family owned wineries who craft the wines we love. Our outstanding portfolio and people, make Negociants Australia one of the leading fine wine merchants in Australia.
Q2 How long have you been importing Italian wines into Australia?
- Since 1984.
Q3 How did your interest in Italian wines start?
- I guess I have been very lucky from my humble beginnings and being exposed to such a fantastic portfolio of wines and as I have grown and travelled it is the people, regions and food that really gets you hooked.
Q4 What kind of Italian wines do you focus on in your portfolio and why?
- Quality established wines from key producing regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Puglia, Veneto and Alto Adige to name a few.
Q5 What Italian wines sell well out of your portfolio at the moment?
- They all have their moments and is getting a little harder to read patterns but the following producers are performing well; Antinori, Allegrini, Isole e Olena, Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia), Tenuta dell Ornellaia, Prunotto, Gaja, Cantine Pra, and Argiano are doing well and a few others.
Q6 What Italian wines do you find hardest to sell in Australia?
- Sparkling wines are certainly difficult as they compete with Champagne and our home grown Sparkling’s out of Tassie which are certainly delivering great value and quality.
Q7 What do you think is the place of Italian wines in Australia, and is this changing?
- Imports have been a positive thing for Australian consumers. Encouraging them to try and experience more varieties and styles. Italian wines go very well with our multicultural cuisine and we find a healthy percentage of our sales are sold through the on-trade.
Q8 Recent years have seen significant increases in the number and diversity of Australian wines made from Italian grape varieties. What are your thoughts on Australian wines made from Italian varieties?
- It is good to see Australian winemakers/viticulturists experimenting with Italian varieties and styles, but we have to be careful to have a focussed approach on planting these varities in the appropriate regions and sites.
Q9 Greatest Italian wine moment?
- There are numerous moments, but one that certainly will never be forgotten is hosting Angelo Gaja at Perugino Restaurant, Perth a few years back now! All 60 + guests were mesmerozied by Angelo with his stories well crafted wines and amazingly matched food. The other moment nearly ended in tears as we were travelling back from Ornellaia in 2003 after an amazing visit (and arriving in Italy from Australia 5 hours earlier) and wondering what these little pots on fire on the side of the road and then suddenly working out how to stop in a few metres travelling at a great speed…..they were meant to warn us of an accident which wasn’t meant to be our’s!!! but I think everyone has great travelling moments and places that they have visited.
Q10 What Italian wines are you most likely to drink at home?
- A couple of favourites are Isole E Olena Chianti Classico, Cantine Pra Soave and a little Dolcetto from Poedri Aldo Conterno.