What are your responsibilities?
I’m Export Director for Europe, specifically focusing on the retail sector. The role of the export team and myself is to grow international sales, so our job also entails developing the Winery’s image and reputation.
Wine is the ultimate product for sharing. Our goal is to make our wines accessible to everyone. As such, we focus a great deal on the choice of distribution sectors and the partners who sell our wines to consumers.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m just back from a trip to London where I presented the most recent innovation thought up by our marketing team: digital colour printing directly on the bottle. This goes really well with rosé wines, which are especially on-trend right now. Our clients are looking to offer collectable bottles, hence this ingenious ideas.
I am working on another project for the UK: wines with no added sulphites, which are in growing demand.
How is your work organised?
We’re a team of five, split between Export Europe and Global Export (North America and Asia). Two Export Managers Europe are reporting to me, while Global Export is managed by two people, one based in Gigondas, the other in Canada.
When we are out in the markets, we are the Winery’s eyes and ears. When we come back, we share what we’re learned with the marketing department so we can answer one main question: what can we come up with to meet the needs we’ve identified?
We also team up with the wine buying department, the idea being that we always want to offer wines that reflect the nature of our terroir. With our approach, we can select specific parcels of terroir or winemaking styles adapted to different markets.
What’s it like to be a woman in today’s industry?
When I first started, it was a very male-dominated environment. Most of the export buyers and managers were men. It was quite a hurdle to jump: to sell French wines as a woman, and an Indian woman to boot! Mentalities have evolved since then. Nowadays most of my buyers are women, highly proficient in the art of wine tasting. The markets I deal with are retail, markets which are quite sensitive to questions of parity.
What do you find most motivating in your job?
I’m really driven by sales! When a project I’ve co-developed with other departments comes to a successful conclusion, it’s extremely satisfying and rewarding. What I absolutely love about being at Gabriel Meffre is that we approach every project with a strong sense of team spirit.
One of the most compelling things about wine is that it is constantly evolving, in terms of technology, taste, consumer, aesthetic and other trends… You have to be aware of everything that is going on in different countries, be culturally very open-minded. There’s so many wonderful aspects of this industry.
Do you have any inspiring stories you can share with our web magazine readers?
I was in Japan one time and they announced an earthquake was forecast for the middle of the night. I was so worried I slept with my clothes on, even my shoes, and holding my passport! All export managers have had a few scary experiences along the way, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
And to end on, what are you most proud of?
The thing I’m most proud of is rising up through the ranks of Gabriel Meffre. When I arrived in France in 2005, I was a young foreign woman who was just learning about wine, dealing with a few countries and had to earn the trust of my colleagues and senior management. I am proud of working at Gabriel Meffre alongside people who are motivated by the work they do!
Come back soon to learn about other members in the Gabriel Meffre family.