Episode 410 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Philippe Newlin. Philippe is the head of Duclot La Vinicole USA, an importer, and distributor of Bordeaux wines to the United States.
Bordeaux wines don’t seem to have the dominant presence in the American market that they once did, and Philippe Newlin explains some of the reasons why this may be so within this episode. He describes an American consumer base with changing tastes, an explosion of global competition for every wine drinker’s attention, and a Bordeaux scene that was temporarily more focused on developing relations with China than on maintaining them in the States. He also alludes to the middleman problem, with Bordeaux being sold by a shrinking group of wholesalers, each with less incentive to open bottles for potential clientele than would have been in the case in the past. Into this cauldron steps Newlin, who heads up a Bordeaux importer with an eye towards restaurant sales. In many ways, the experiences from Newlin’s career that led up to this point have been helpful for what he is up to now- which is to say for changing the contours of a market. There was the broad tasting experience at Wine & Spirits Magazine, the restaurant world contacts he made while working for that magazine, and the knowledge of the behind-the-scenes imperatives of wine distribution that he gleaned while an employee of the importer Vintus. What Philippe has to say about these experiences is as enlightening as his analysis of the Bordeaux market, and he opens up a door in this interview to a part of the wine business that most consumers hardly ever see.
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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine