Gilles Louvet

How does an organic wine from France crack the U.S. market? Gilles Louvet sent sales manager Laura Bret to find out. From Wine-Searcher:

In September 2010 – the same year that the United States overtook Europe as the largest market for organic products – Louvet sent an emissary to set up a New York office. Newly appointed national sales manager Laura Bret arrived in America armed with just one range of wine that was legally allowed to carry the United States’ organic seal of approval: O by Gilles Louvet. The other seven wines she had to offer were not allowed to say they were organic, despite Louvet’s European credentials, since American authorities required an additional three-year certification process.

Within a month, Bret had begun working with a distributor and pounding the pavements of New York City. One day, she found something promising: a small new restaurant in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan.

“When I saw that there was an organic wine bar opening, focused on Mediterranean wines, I just thought, ‘Okay, he has to be my client,’” says Bret, whose slight French accent is beginning to pick up a hint of New York.

She called owner Özgür Delikanli to arrange a tasting at his restaurant, Lallisse. Delikanli immediately selected wines to serve by the glass: a rosé, a sauvignon blanc and a cabernet sauvignon. More than 150 accounts later, Lallisse is still one of Louvet’s best clients in New York.

Bret has now imported a total of 60,000 bottles to serve customers in the states of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Texas, South and North Carolina, Florida and Michigan. To cope with demand, a second full-time person, brand ambassador Arnaud Fressonnet, was recently hired to focus exclusively on New York and New Jersey.

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