The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 68 of 104

INDUSTRY LEADER FOR ALEX GUARACHI, THE SUCCESS OF GUARACHI FAMILY WINES REWARDS EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL INVESTMENT Everything Ventured, Everything Gained I Alex Guarachi. t was 18th-century poet Robert Burns who said, “Dare to be honest and fear no labor.” This prescription for success has come to life under Alex Guarachi’s daring venture with winemaker Paul Hobbs to launch a high-end wine portfolio of his own: Guarachi Family Wines. For any producer, releasing a new wine is an exciting but nerve-wracking experience. The gurantee of quality implied by the vintner in putting his own name on the bottle adds to the stress. And in this case, there’s an anxiety-induc- ing trifecta: Guarachi’s reputation, 25 years in the making, as a quality importer, wholesaler and distributor is at stake. Guarachi, Founder and President of TGIC Importers, Inc., is responsible for the U.S. import, wholesale and (in some states) distribution of the wine industry’s fastest selling, high-end quality brands from Chile and Argentina, as well as port- folios from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and California. Among TGIC’s imports are the esteemed Montes, Bodega Norton, Santa Ema, Pascual Toso and Achaval-Ferrer brands. Business is thriving, and supplier-distributor relationships are rock-solid. With so much at stake, why would Guarachi take the risk of launching his own wines? The reason is simple, honest and representative of a passion: “I love wine,” he says. “It’s a natural evolution for someone like me. I felt safe in terms of my reputation because if the wines weren’t of the standard I had intended for them, I wouldn’t release them. So the financial risk was there, but I would never have compro- mised my reputation or the trust of my suppliers if the wines weren’t up to par,” he explains. It seems he need not have worried: Guarachi Family Wines have already been lauded with high scores and outstand- ing reviews. “The goal is to over-deliver. If the wine is $70 retail, then I want what’s in the bottle to be worth $90,” says Guarachi. “Production is expensive. Harvesting grapes is demanding; French barrels cost money; glass, corks, logistics and acquiring the best wine maker in America, Paul Hobbs, all take time and patience,” acknowledges Guarachi. “It is stressful and difficult at times, but it’s also rewarding and exhilarating to produce a highly-revered portfolio of wines, when, like me, you are so immersed in the world of wine.” The wines are a huge accomplishment, there’s no doubt. But can Guarachi take away anything else from this experience? “I’ve learned how complex it is to produce wines. I now realize the irony of how completely organized you have to be in the face of so many variables. You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature when dealing with a live product. One misstep can end it all.” Developing his own wines has been a new experience for even this seasoned industry pro. “Of course, for a long time, I have known what goes into making your own wine. But now I’ve lived it, and therein lies a world of difference.” 68 / the tasting panel / august 2010 PHOTO: MARIA SCHRIBER

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