With more than 33 million hectoliters of wine consumed in 2018, the United States remains on the top of the consumer podium in the world, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine. In Miami, Dominique Vassos hopes to ride this intoxicating wave. At 58, the French entrepreneur has embarked on the wine adventure by importing Dominique Rosé, her own vintage, into the country of Uncle Sam, a journey full of pitfalls.
It is a surprising combination of circumstances that led Dominique Vassos, expatriate since 2014 in Miami to follow her husband, to this reconversion in the wine sector. Two years ago, during a summer stay in her native village of Pierrefeu-du-Var, the Frenchwoman got back in touch with the son of a vinegrower, one of her childhood friends, who had taken over the family estate and which sought to establish itself on the American territory. " As a joke, he suggested that I design my own cuvée to import it into the United States ", tells the fiftieth anniversary of a career in the field of design and fashion. "The discussion quickly took a much more serious turn because I needed to feel useful again and find an occupation, so I decided to take this opportunity."
After having followed all the production of his cuvée and discovered every stage of manufacture, from the assembly of the grape varieties to the making of the label, Dominique Vassos has sent a container containing nearly 13,000 bottles of Côtes de Provence in the direction of the United States. " The cargo was substantial but I did not think I would have difficulty selling it because I had approached a distributor working with many stores in the United States, says the French who quickly disenchant once his container landed at the port. The distributor has not given any sign of life, she sighs. I showed naivety and blind trust in agreeing with him on a simple oral promise. "
By finding himself with his container on his arms, Dominique Vassos had to resolve to roll up his sleeves. " I took the role of saleswoman to go door-to-door because I could not go back after such an investment "Says the entrepreneur who, a novice in a competitive market, chained disappointments. " Without a distributor, it is very difficult to find a placeshe says. I have to fight every day to try to impose an independent winemaker's wine with real know-how, while people seem to be more interested in known brands, which is quite frustrating ".
His perseverance ended up paying off. A dozen establishments in Miami, Palm Beach and Naples now offer the wine of Dominique Vassos. She claims to have sold nearly three quarters of her cargo in eight months. " It's very encouraging, but I'm going to need help for the rest of this adventure, which is extremely tiring and time-consuming. " launches the French who would have finally found a distributor with whom to work. " It was unexpected, especially since the 2018 vintage will soon arrive in the United Statesshe welcomes. Only this time, I will go gradually to not reproduce the same mistakes and end up with dozens of pallets of wine bottles on my arms ".