Q & A with Jamie Conahan
US National Accounts Sales Manager and Partner Folio Fine Wine Partners
in the Mix staff caught up with Jamie Conahan recently and had the chance to interview him for the spotlight section. Here is what we found out…
ITM – How long have you been in the Hospitality/Wine industry and where did you get started?
JC – I started at the Pier House in Key West, Florida in 1975 so that makes it over 33 years. Hopefully, I don’t look like I have been in the business that long. Next year on 9/3/2010 mark’s my twenty-fifth year of working for Michael Mondavi. Something I am very proud of.
ITM – What is the best part of your job?
JC – I still get excited when I close a deal that will generate considerable revenue for our company. I know my colleagues at Folio Fine Wine Partners are counting on me so it’s great to come through for the company. I also enjoy seeing other wine producing countries. My tenure in the wine business has allowed me to visit all the most prestigious wine producing areas of the world…well, except Australia.
ITM – Do you have a drink of choice and what preferred foods would you pair with it?
JC – Foie gras on warm brioche with a glass of 1979 Chateau d’Yquem, followed by a Padron Number 9, 1926 series cigar.
ITM – Any favorite customer story you’d care to share with our readers?
JC – I would have to say it was last year with Mary Melton,Don Melton, Celeste Dinos, Nicole Andrus and I running with the bulls in LaGuardia, Spain. I can tell you that you don’t want to be the slowest member of that group. Historically, I will always remember being at the same dinner table with the Baroness Philippe De Rothschild and Robert Mondavi for the vintage debut of 1982 Opus One.
ITM – Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.
JC – I am into rescuing animals that need a good home. My wife and I have two rescue dogs now; we are picking up another English setter next week and will soon be rescuing at least one horse.
ITM – Do you have any words of wisdom for a rookie wine representative starting out in National Accounts?
JC – A sense of urgency is required to be successful in your job. Your customers have to come first before anything else.
ITM – What is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate?
JC – Thanksgiving. It requires enormous amounts of extraordinary wine, excellent food, great friends and family and a long nap afterwards.
ITM – Did you have a mentor or mentors in this business who were instrumental in guiding you along such an impressive path of success?
JC – That’s easy: it is Mitch Clark who now owns a company called Avanti. Mitch hired me at Robert Mondavi and taught me how to succeed in the wine business.
ITM – What was the proudest moment of your career?
JC – Being asked by Michael and Rob Mondavi to become one of the original partners at Folio. It all started in Michael’s guest house back in 2004 and has become a very rewarding experience for all of us. Last year our portfolio of wines generated 93 reviews over 90 points.
ITM – Describe the primary philosophy and goals of Folio Fine Wine Partners.
JC – There are many, but if I had to pick one it would be, at Folio we only represent wines that we are proud to serve our family and friends. To me, that say’s it all.
Thank you for your time, Jamie. We wish you and Folio Fine Wine Partners every future success.