This is a series of three posts/articles about local importers.
This is all about perception, not a discussion about business plans. I'm no more an MBA than I am an MW so what I'm going to talk about is how I perceive the various local importers, where the're positioned and where they're headed.
This installment covers medium and small sized importers that have been around for a few years.
There have always been importers who would only work with certain distributors and stores and thus some importers simply don't register on my radar. Zamir is such an importer offering some of the best traditonal Tuscans in Israel as well William Fevre from Chablis - at twice the price abroad but at least you could get it. I have no idea where his wines are sold outside of Tel Aviv's Vino Cigar. The only times I've ever purchased their wines was at Ish Anavim or over the phone after a friend told me of some special discount.
Burgundy Wine Collection
Tomer Gal's Burgundy Wine Collection seems to be doing as fine as always. But I suppose things are always very bright at the top. The wines are expensive to begin with but are priced fairly comparative with prices abroad. As usual, the very top of the catalog virtually sells itself.
Private Wine Collection
Muchrovsky's Private Wine Collection is probably doing fine as well, but I don't have a lot of contact with them. Their catalog always struck me as being on the modern, flashy side (except for Trimbach) yet I've mostly liked the wines I've tried. I keep meaning to give them more of my business yet never get around to it.
Anavim specialize in Italian wines that are dead center between modern and traditional, with a few small excursions to Spain, Austria, Rhone and Australia. Like BWC and PWC, they don't seem set to expand and conquer the world but I think the other two will find it easier to thrive in a world where maintaining the status quo is simply an invitation for the bigger fish to gnaw at your territory. It's just easier to sustain yourself in a niche that caters to the very upper class instead of the middle and upper-middle class.
Shimon Lasry's WineWise is really an oddball. Rustic little wines from areas ignored by the other importers. Not a lot of truly excellent wines but rather interesting wines (I'm referring to the stock he's been selling for the past two years and yes, it's time for a new catalog). And when he does bring something from a major area like Burgundy or Rhone, it is inevitably from an unknown co-op. He came up with a good hand a few years ago when he imported a 1989 village Gevrey-Chambertin from Gaec Cluny - a co-op of course - that knocked everybody out and he imports a terrific Picpoul de Pinet (Hugues de Beauvignac) that every restaurant in Israel that calls itself a bistro should be selling by the glass.
That's it. If I missed any importers, it's their fault. I get around and I have a fairly wide social network so if I missed anyone, someone just isn't doing their marketing homework.