There have been a couple of excellent pieces on the famous wine educator Kevin Zraly. Zraly played a critical role in the world-famous World Trade Center restaurant “Windows on the World”, and he has had as big an impact on wine education around the world as anyone alive.
Last week I shared Eric Asimov’s excellent article on Zraly, and Mike Veseth has a strong follow-up piece on lessons learned from Zraly. If you didn’t read Asimov’s piece: [Asimov’s article] is required reading for anyone interested in making or selling (or drinking) wine. It is a fine tribute to Zraly, an iconic figure who has done (and is still doing) so much to shape the American wine market.”
Veseth shares three lessons he learned from Zraly. I’ll summarize one here, but make sure to check out the full article.
Wine Won’t Sell ltself
Zraly became a wine educator to sell wine. He realised that people will not buy what they won’t understand. Education must precede the sale.
So he sought to educate. First himself, a trial by fire, and rapidly afterwards others. Educating to sell. Once you understand what’s possible in the world, once you get the rules, why wouldn’t you want to drink wine?
This is something we’ve emphasised at Vintality. After all, what is “electrical conductivity” surveying? Bioavailability sampling? NDVI? PCD? TWI? We have to educate or else its gobbledy-gook!
And of course, taking a page out of Zraly’s book, we’re not educating to the straight sale. Its educating to inform and the sale becomes almost an afterthought. If you care about great wine (Zraly) or great soil (Vintality), we have what you want. Plus, its more fun. Its a conversation. We also learn a ton (as it sounds like Zraly did at his own seminar).
It goes without saying we’re always trying to improve what we do. And, to Veseth’s point, Zraly has a lot to teach on this front. I’m going to re-listen to his interview on I’ll Drink to That again.