This month, three vintners from the Finger Lakes will head to Europe, stepping up their global presence with the launch of a new European business venture. Scott Osborn of Fox Run Vineyards, John Martini of Anthony Road Wine Company and Chris Missick of Villa Bellangelo, have come together with European partner, Christian Claessens, to create the first-ever Finger Lakes European importing company. Based in Luxembourg, the company will forge new ground overseas, importing and distributing wines from the respective cool-climate wineries into European markets.
"New York State has quite a mystique in Europe," said Claessens. "But importing through a major distributor comes with its own complexities - so my three partners and I decided to take matters into our own hands and start a joint venture company in Luxembourg with this unique purpose. No one has done it before." With Claessens based in Luxembourg, the new company will be called New York Wines SaRL.
The first markets of focus will be Belgium and Luxembourg, with more to follow after the first year. (Warehouses will be outside of Brussels.) This month's launch in Brussels, takes place at the international wine exposition Megavino 2013 - the largest show of its kind in Belgium, running from October 18-21. The focus is primarily Vinifera, highlighting Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay estate bottlings from all three wineries. Said Claessens, "We chose Belgium as our first test market. It's an open, cosmopolitan market for wine, with ample opportunities."
Fox Run is currently in five international markets - from the UK to the Philippines, and Anthony Road distributes in Japan and Singapore. This will be the first venture for Villa Bellangelo outside of the United States.
As Fox Run owner, Scott Osborn commented, "The timing is right. We have gotten such a strong response from international shows. Our Finger Lakes appellation is unique. Everyone knows the New York name, and the excitement is there to learn more about our cool-climate estate wines. We are also going into these markets well-positioned with a beautiful portfolio and competitive pricing."
Fox Run Vineyards, Anthony Road Wine Company and Villa Bellangelo are all situated on the shores of Seneca Lake. Each is renowned for limited-production, artisan wines. All of the wineries are family-owned.