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BEVERAGE MEDIA
June 2013
Cleo explains. “We are letting Bibiana
use her artistic abilities to create the best
possible wines from this vineyard. It’s
not about what style we want, but about
seeing what this vineyard can do.” The
company also plans to release some lower-
priced (yet still luxury) offerings in the
$40 price range. All these new wines will
hit the market in 2014.
Experimentation is happening at Pahl-
meyer’s Napa estate as well, with Anderson
trying out tarps to “induce” drought and
extend the growing season which will add
concentration and flavor to the wines.”
With his new winemaking team in
place, and his daughter steering the com-
pany towards an ever-brighter future, Jay-
son Pahlmeyer will soon find himself in
a new role: Grandfather—Cleo will give
birth to the newest member of the Pahl-
meyer clan later this year.
HERB SCHUTTE
retired, Vice President,
Director of Wine, Charmer Industries
PAUL SCHUTTE
Director of Marketing, Lauber Imports
When Herb Schutte entered the wine
business in 1963, the challenge of the
day was getting people to drink dry table
wine. “At that time in this country, peo-
ple mostly drank dessert wines like sherry
and port, and jug wines from California,”
he remembers. Schutte started as a clerk
and then a sales representative for North
America Wines, and took a job with
Charmer Industries seven years later, with
the creation of their new wine company.
“French wines like Burgundy and Bor-
deaux were just beginning to be accepted
in the marketplace, and nobody knew
much about them,” he recalls. And that
included the sales force: “We had liquor
salesmen selling wine who had absolutely
no wine education, so we had to teach
them.” Schutte gave Kevin Zraly his first
job in the wine business, as a sales rep, then
hired him back in the early 1980s as a wine
educator for his team. The company put in
place a serious wine training program with
in-house educators. “We had to take that
knowledge and go out and build the de-
mand for fine wine in New York.”
Fast-forward several decades to 2002,
when Herb’s son Paul enters the business
and the landscape looks quite different:
The demand for fine wine was thriving
and the average consumer had become
incredibly sophisticated. “There are dif-
ferent challenges today,” says Paul, who
took a job with Charmer (after a stint at
NBC) as an on-premise merchandiser and
account development specialist, and in
2005, moved to Southern Wine & Spirits
when they entered the New York market.
“Today consolidation and regulation are
the big obstacles in the market; it’s re-
ally changed the way we do business,”
says Paul. “I would say one of the biggest
challenges we face is keeping the heart
of the wine business true to itself, being
able to tell the story and drive the passion
for both small family-owned wineries and
large suppliers alike while maintaining
our position as a market leader.”
Paul might not have multiple decades
of experience in the industry, but he has
the perspective of someone much more
seasoned, as a result of watching his fa-
ther as he was growing up. Herb remem-
bers bringing Paul to a sales presentation
and wine dinner when he was about 11
years old. “Afterwards, he said, ‘Dad, you
get paid to do this?’” Herb recalls.
About the same time, father and son
made a work trip to Italy together, and
Paul saw first-hand the relationships his
dad had formed with family-owned win-
eries: “Even as a child, I realized that his
business wasn’t just a numbers game, it
was about relationships and heritage. I
saw that my dad was selling a product that
was a story and passion—not a widget—
and that was really appealing.”
As Herb’s career was winding down—
he retired in 2005—Paul’s was just heat-
ing up. Starting out as a district sales
manager in Manhattan, he went on to
work in operations and purchasing, and
now serves as the Director of Marketing
for Lauber Imports, a division of Southern
Wine & Spirits. “I was thrilled when Paul
joined the industry,” says Herb. “He has
done a terrific job and I see him expand-
ing his role even more.”
Though Herb is no longer in the
business, his reputation lives on; not
a week goes by when someone doesn’t
mention his name, attests Paul. Col-
leagues remember him for his integ-
rity, loyalty and work ethic—“the main
principals which I try to live by. It’s a
pretty simple formula,” says Paul. “It’s a
relationship business. It might be more
cutthroat today, particularly with all the
larger companies we do business with,
but at the heart of the industry, it’s all
about relationships: People want to do
business with people they like—my dad
taught me that.”
Father’s Day
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