Need a little direction when exploring new wines? Here's one of my favorite tips: learn to shop foreign wines by importer!
Importers have a "house style". They travel across the globe in search of amazing producers that they feel reflect the quality they are committed to representing.
You can build trust in an importer's standards and use their emblem as an indicator of a quality product -- even if you have never heard of the wine! These folks are tireless when curating their books and I've learned to rely on certain companies to bring remarkable wines to the USA.
How does it work? While a wine is labeled with the information of the winery it comes from, in many import cases, you will also find the importer's logo on the back label. Once familiar with an importer's insignia you can look for it when perusing the shelf and know that the wine was hand-selected by their team. In other words, it's here for a reason and someone thought it was very special!
Does this mean you will love every single wine you buy? Of course not! That's never possible... but this practice can give you a point of reference when exploring wines outside your comfort zone.
A few of my favorites in order of appearance on the below Instagram Reel:
Skurnik Wines: incredible portfolio of Grower Champagne, German and Austrian wines, and others from Spain, France, New Zealand, and beyond
The Sorting Table: remarkable French, Italian, New Zealand, South Africa, and Austrian selections
Vine Connections: one of the very best sake portfolios brought to the USA, plus incredible Chilean and Argentinean wines and craft spirits
Valkyrie Selections: exceptional Spanish, French, and English producers with a focus on sustainability
WinesU Imports: amazing Italian portfolio with gems from France
Jorge Ordonez Selections: the leader in Spanish wines, bar none
Weygandt Wines: super small-production, collectible wines from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain
Broadbent Selections: the place to turn for South Africa and Portugal -- also Australia, Italy, South America, Lebanon, Germany, England, and New Zealand
Anyone else like to shop this way? Which importers do you love?!