Sunday, November 4, 2007


Sunday, October 21, we left the USA for Papeete, Tahiti where our exclusive distributor was expecting us. He took us to the quiet and comfortable Sheraton hotel conveniently located between the airport and the harbor. I know that it is not glamorous but we were really there to work.

Every day, we visited Champion and Carrefour supermarkets, quality restaurants where our wines were on the wine list: Virginie, the 3, La Dominique, etc… The beauty of these islands doesn’t prevent our wines from being distributed, especially as Bordeaux represents a big part of fine wine sales, even if the substantial VAT makes the wines quite expensive for consumers, tourists or locals. In addition to visiting clients, our importer organized a series of meetings with local media: newspapers, the local RFO television station. With its 220000 inhabitants, Tahiti doesn’t lack news and this year our visit was considered as an encouragement. Actually, our participation in 2 wine fairs must have attracted around 1000 people, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Here, no one seems blasé, and likes to get together and taste new wines, some being enthusiasts subscribing to the Revue du Vin de France or Parker, others looking for medals and recommendations from the Guide Hachette.
I recommend a good place to eat in Papeete: The restaurant café Koké, tasty cuisine with young and friendly owners.

We spent the whole day Wednesday doing in-stores in Carrefour. It is hard to sell a few bottles of Virginie, 3 de Valandraud, Bel Air Ouÿ or La Dominique when you get used to let this work done by our clients. Murielle was able to see Bernard and Jean-Pierre work. I was in another Carrefour admiring the work Marie-Claude was doing and how useful their catalogues was. In the evening, we went to a very chic cocktail party organized by our partner around Valandraud 2002 and a few Chilean wines. We then had dinner in a high-end restaurant where the wine list is put together by our importer who, with his knowledge, created an attractive and simple list including copies of the labels.
Thursday in Bora Bora, a striking island with it’s beautiful colors, blue, the sea, the lagoon… Superb. We visited our client, one of the latest palaces created in Tahiti: The Saint Regis. 100 bungalows on pillars with rooms costing from 1000 to 15000 Euros per night.
We had a guided tour of this palace, picture perfect scenery and especially Lionel Richard (who worked with Pierre Jochem at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi) who acquired the franchise to open a “Jean-Georges” restaurant. We had the best meal of our trip, light and spicy cuisine (with an Asian influence)

We shared the trip to Papeete with our colleagues from the Grands Chais de France, Chateaux en Bordeaux, Casa Donoso from Chili, the owners of Fleur Vauzelle and Grand Moulinet.

The return trip was difficult but not so much due to the Air France strike. My insistence in not being included in the waiting list and the alliance with KLM allowed us to return to Bordeaux via Amsterdam with only a few hours of delay. I must note the quality of the service of KLM.

We are now back in France, tired, but as soon as we returned at 6pm, we had a tasting at 8pm with my team of more than 50 different batches of 2007 wines at the end of their fermentation, maceration and run off. I can say that the batches are good to very good. At least for Bellevue de Tayac, Clos du Beau Père, Valandraud. And I already know that Commanderie de Mazeyres, Clément Pichon and La Dominique will be successful wines in this vintage.

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