planet-bpm.com had the chance to talk to William Long who is running Long Wines, a export company based in Madrid. He is British and came to Spain specifically because of the wine culture and business of the country. We asked him how is the sector doing and what opportunities there are for young wine lovers.
Is the European wine industry growing?
No, it’s actually overcrowded and in the beginning of the process of consolidation.
In which countries in Europe we can see the most activity and professionals have the most opportunities in the wine industry?
Spain is one of the countries, and of course France.
Is it a sector where you can make money?
Yes , some growers in some areas make good money and some wineries which really create value in a sustainable manner are profitable
but it is not at all easy and requires special skills , passion and a lot of hard work.
Which are the professions that have the highest salaries?
Consultancy, managing Directors , Export Sales and Financial Directors, top winemakers.
How did the sector change in the last 10 years and what we can expect in the five years to come?
There will be a massive shift to export from national market . In Europe we will see a consolidation and hopefully a change of the European funding system. We will have to fight the masssive rise of China. There will be a much more agressive marketing and better export sales skills and I hope that there will be better communication skills in the sector.
How and why did you end up in this business?
Wine became a passion whilst studying French in Bordeaux as part of my French degree so this was a natural avenue to pursue when joining the throngs of UK unemployed. Depite having no training in marketing at all , I became a marketing manager for a chain of wine warehouses in Manchester.
Why did you go to Spain?
I was a Little “blocked” in my career in the U.K. but had been successful managing Campo Viejo as a Brand manager and other wines of a large Spanish group. As a result of this success , I was offered the position to become Export Director of a major Rioja Brand. The fact I won a scholarship of the WSET exams which led to substantial winery visits helped create my reputation in the UK as a Spanish wine specialist at the time.
When did you set up Long Wines and what is your business?
About 12 years ago. Our business consists mainly of producing a portfolio of brands we market globally always with the goal of offering our partners a stable base upon which they can bet and build a long term business with. Although my trading and broking background helped build a fair volume of base business, our focus is Brand orientated towards wines to which we can genuinely add value.
Please recommend 5 universities where to study Wine business.
That’s hard . The three which come to mind are :
Roseworthy in Australia
Davis UCI of california
Talence / Bordeaux
None of those are in Spain, interesting… Thanks a lot for the interview.