The Port Trade

In early 2000, when I was director of purchasing and also in charge of beverage programs for a chain of 30 Italian restaurants; this deal fell into my lap. One afternoon, the national sales rep for a large beer/wine distributor in Oregon came to visit my office. He explained that the owner of the distribution company was in a bind and needed a bottle of 1960 Vintage Port for his wife's brother's 40th birthday which was taking place in three days. He told me that the man had checked all over the USA and could not find a single bottle of Vintage Port from 1960. He asked me if I knew where he could possibly find one bottle, or if I happened to own any 1960 VP. I told him that I only had a few bottles but owned what I considered the best of the vintage. He asked me if I could leave and go get the bottle. I thought that was a rather gutsy request, but told him that I lived about 20 minutes away and could likely leave and come back if he was willing to wait around. He was heading back to Oregon and said, of course and seemed thrilled to have "scored" a bottle for his boss. He asked me what I wanted for it and I told him that I had never sold any Port from my cellar, but would be happy to help out for something that his boss would consider a worthy replacement. He agreed. I left and grabbed a bottle of the Croft 1960 Vintage Port and returned. I packed it in styrofoam and showed him the great condition the bottle was in and then taped the package up again. I never heard another word for many months, nearly a full half year passed by. I was not going to make a big deal about it and figured that at least I helped in his moment of need and our restaurants in his market still did business with that company. Out of the blue one day, the same national sales rep walks in and comes back to my office bearing a "gift." He first apologizes for having taken so long to come back to make good on his promise, but tells me that he thinks I will be very pleased with the replacement bottle(s). He hands me this large box. Inside it are two bottles of 1989 Chateau Haut Brion and two 375 ml bottles of 1988 Chateau d'Yquem. I was absolutely blown away by this and wanted to joke around and say that anytime he needed another 1960 Croft .... but of course I did not. I asked him to please thank his boss for me. 13 years later and I have still never opened any of those four bottles. I am waiting another four years for a special birthday event and likely will open one of the HB's and one Yquem. I've never made another wine trade that great again ... at least not any that included Port.

By | 2014-11-24T23:10:18+00:00 June 2nd, 2013|Categories: Roys Blog|0 Comments

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