Virginia Imports has the ability to give each product the attention it deserves. No brand is too big or too small for us to offer and promote to our customers. Developing all brands to their fullest potential is what our management and sales force strives to achieve. We have put together this frequently asked questions section as an additional resource. We value our partnership with you and hope that this information helps you to understand what to expect and who to talk to. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!
Q: What certifications/qualifications do On Premise Sales Managers and Sales Representatives have, via 3rd party wine training?
A: WSET II is a minimum requirement for all On Premise Managers and Sales Representatives. Many are certified at higher levels of expertise.
Q: Who do I contact if I want to set up a team sales meeting?
A: Our sales meetings are set up by the sales team Managers. Off Premise/Grocery Store Team meets on Wednesday afternoons and the On Premise/Wine Shop team meets Friday mornings. Contact Sham ElShafie for grocery or Barry Newmiller for the On Premise Team directly to schedule a sales meeting with the sales team.
(Hint: If you do not have wines in the Grocery stores do not set up a meeting with that team.)
Q: Who do I contact about getting my products into chain distribution?
A: Sean O’Brien is our Senior Chain Store Manager and you should feel free to contact him. This is what you should know about each chain:
Giant Food/Martins: Distribution and AD activity decisions are made in Carlyle, PA. Distributors and Suppliers can present new wines. Stores are reset each year and all new items get cut in with resets. Positive Scan data and marketing plans are a big factors in getting your wine or beer authorized.
Safeway: Decisions are made in California. Reset twice a year on average with new items getting cut in then. Large suppliers contact Safeway directly, smaller suppliers go through the chain team at Virginia Imports.
Harris Teeter: Decisions are made in NC. New item presentations and AD activity requires a supplier to visit NC.
Wegmans: Decisions are made out of Rochester, NY. Emphasis on high-end wines. Suppliers and Virginia Imports can present new wines. Highly rated wines are a priority. Authorizations do not automatically get cut onto the shelves.
Shoppers: Decisions are made in MD. The stores are reset about once every year to 18 months. Chain will entertain presentations from Suppliers and Virginia Imports.
Q: Who do I contact to get my products into club stores?
A: Sean O’Brien is our club store contact and you should feel free to contact him directly. This is what you should know about our club stores:
Total Wines: 8 Stores Costco: 13 Stores BJ’s: 6 Stores Sam’s Club: 3 Stores
Q: Who do I contact if I want to work the Restaurant and fine wine shop market?
A: Contact Barry Newmiller. Please be aware that most On Premise work withs are scheduled six to eight weeks out.
Q: How do I set up incentives with your company?
A: Contact Mike Rowe to set up incentives. It helps if we know your objectives (i.e. distribution or cases sold) and a budget. Virginia Imports will co-op the cost for new brands for the 1st year. Please note that if you want an incentive to include gas cards, electronics, or gift cards Virginia Imports cannot buy them and bill the suppler back. They must be purchased by the Supplier.
Q: Can you help me set up tastings in the market?
A: Yes, contact Mike Rowe. We publish a list of suppliers that are willing to pay for tastings. We require a minimum of 5 cases sold for a tasting. The cost is $120.00 for a 3 hour tasting with an agency or $156 for a 4 hour tasting. This will be billed monthly.
Q: What can you use for POS and how much do you need?
A: Generally speaking paper and plastic only.
Neckers OK, many chains don’t allow them now. Discuss with Sean O’Brien or Sham ElShafie.
Coupons Great! Especially if in chain stores. Mail-in only.
Case Cards Send 10 only. Very few accounts use them.
Acrylic Table Tents. Great!
T-Shirts/Golf Shirts. Great, reps love them. $10.00 maximum cost to give to customers.
Corkscrews Great! Send More!
Wine Racks are only legal in Virginia if they are made from plastic or cardboard.
Shelf Talkers OK, but most chains will not allow them. Discuss with Sean O’Brien or Sham ElShafie.
Dealer Loaders are Not legal in Virginia for trade, they can be used as sales incentives with Sales Reps.
Q: How do I get new wines carried at Virginia Imports?
A: The best way is to send a bottle with all the information (pricing, press, UPC, ABC Code, shipping information, etc.) to the attention of Mike Rowe or Jay Colston. We review new wines with the management staff every month.
Q: How are samples treated at Virginia Imports, Ltd.?
A: The sales reps have the ability to draw samples as needed. Suppliers will be billed back monthly at 50% of the laid in cost plus sales tax (sorry the state of Virginia makes us do this). Other arrangements such as discounts off invoice can be made, contact Jay Colston or Mike Rowe.
Q: How do I get samples from Virginia Imports, Ltd?
A: Fax or email your requests to Elaine Weller the day before you pick them up. Supplier samples will be billed at 100% unless they will be used strictly for our market with Sales Reps.
Q: How do I go about donating product to a charity event?
A: The ABC does not permit donations of alcoholic products under any circumstances.
Q: How are unsaleable wines from the market place treated by Virginia Imports, Ltd?
A: We believe our customers should have every confidence in the wines that Virginia Imports sells them. If a customer returns them we replace the wine and document the problem (corked, short fill, etc.). We pay attention to what comes back and we make sure this is not being abused. Every 6 months we bill back the supplier at 100% of the laid in cost. You will not be billed for breakage, or bad labels.
Q: How do I get the Virginia Imports logo on one of my golf shirts to be worn by sales reps?
A: Send any available logo shirts to Mike Rowe’s attention. They will be worn by the sales people in the market.
Q: When do I need to get Virginia Imports, Ltd. information on price changes?
A: Our major chains (Giant, Safeway) lock in their prices 90 days in advance. Therefore we need 120 days notice of all price changes. We print price books on the following schedule six times a year: January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September (electronic version only), October/November/December. The price book goes to print 30 days before it is effective and all changes must be in place.
Q: How does Virginia Imports, Ltd. work pricing promotions?
A: Our pricing is laid out as follows:
Bottle One Discounts (A must if your product has grocery distribution)
Volume (Typically 3 or 5 cases)
You do not need or want to have a price at all levels. ABC Law does not permit “free goods” Separate On Premise vs. Off Premise pricing (channel pricing) became permissible in 2017.
ABC Regulations you should be aware of:
~ metal wine racks and glassware are not legal to give.
~ free goods are not legal to give.
~ donations of product are not legal.