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People ask me all the time, “Steve, how do you decide which wines to represent; to distribute?” It’s a great question, with so many thousands of wines in this world, choosing a wine which will be a success is like finding a needle in a haystack. Deciding to bring on a new brand is a huge commitment in time and resources. My team and I taste thousands of wines a year. We reject a lot more than we bring on. There is no magic equation but one thing is for sure; if we don’t feel passionate about the product, it will never succeed, no matter how good the wine.
This is a story about how that came to be with the man with the crazy hair.
Five years ago while visiting the world’s largest wine fair "Prowein" in Dusseldorf Germany, I had the pleasure of visiting the Wines of Spain pavilion. After tasting over 100 Spanish Wines (mainly reds), it struck me that Spain was producing some incredible wines, beautifully packaged, at great value, and at every price point. The packaging of the Ego Bodegas wines especially stood out. It was the unique labels that first drew me into the Ego Bogedas booth. Learning later that the team dedicated extra time ensuring that the label on the outside of each wine bottle was just as unique as the wine inside the bottle.
The team at Ego Bogedas (headed up by Ioana Panescu and her husband pictured above) invited me to sit down and hear about the winery first before tasting about 8-10 different fantastic wines. They talked about their labels and how legend has it that the Goru man is a real person who lived in the lands of Jumilla. This man was blind in one eye and went by the name Guru Guru. The elders of Jumilla tell that this man was quite a Don Juan, and had many relationships, some of them even simultaneously! They also say that apart from these amorous intrigues, he was a man of great heart, and deeply admired by many. I especially kept tripping over the Goru Red blend and it was at that very moment that I knew these wines deserved a place in Canada; that if the consumers could see and taste what I saw and tasted, then this could potentially be a huge success.
My team and I had our work cut out for us. Later that year, after a lot of dedicated time, money, and resources, the LCBO ordered 700 cases for release in Vintages. My team and I felt that there was enough exposure of this product that we would probably see a successful sellout in 60 days. Much to our surprise it sold out in less than 30. The next year the order size increased and it sold out again in under 30 days. Year after year, the orders doubled, and we continued to see the same consumer response. It was clear that wine lovers could not get enough of Goru red blend.
Fast forward some years, the time came to talk to the LCBO about giving this fantastic red wine under $15.00 a permanent listing. Well today I am proud to say that the Goru red blend is now available year-round in over 200 LCBO locations and distribution is growing.
Something told me that day in Germany, that his wine was one of those you’re willing to put in the extra hard work, sweat, and perseverance into. I am glad we were right and that you now get to enjoy this incredible wine anytime.
It retails at the LCBO for $13.95.