Over the last 25 years, Paul Midolo has worked his way through the Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia businesses; from state manager in 2010 to general manager in 2014 and now director.
Samuel Smith & Son began in 1923 and has stood proudly in the market representing the Hill Smith proprietary brands alongside other likeminded family brands that enjoy the scope and reach of a market leading distributor.
Negociants Australia started its life in 1984 as a true Negociant (the conduit between producer and distributor) for some of the northern hemisphere’s finest wine producers. In 1990, the timing was right for a new fine wine distributor and the Vintners Wine Company was born. That trademark was challenged so in 1991 ‘Negociants Australia’ began its journey. The focus remained the same; to represent like- minded, best of region, family producers.
“The scope and reach of our two folios offer a wine solution to all sectors of the Australian market. Our mission is to provide a solution that both surprises and delights the consumer as well as making sound commercial sense to our customer. We want to be the preferred wine partner in Australia,” said Midolo.
Across both businesses today is a world-class portfolio of fine wines from the finest regions, ranging from the accessible to the luxurious.
“Our mantra is Knowledge, Service, Friendship. These values will always be part of our business. Knowledge is our credibility – we understand and cherish the brands we represent and the stories they have to tell. Friendship is a fundamental value of how we operate – reputations take years to build and seconds to lose – how we behave and engage with our partners and customers is always front of mind.”
With an impressive, diverse and world class offering across two folios, the challenge is always how they complement one another and work best for the ultimate goal of servicing the client better.
Smiths & Negociants Australia have a commitment to championing classic wines of the world.
An example of this commitment is the Working with Wine program, which the Hill Smith Family have operated since 1998. it brings the world’s finest producers to Australia to impart their knowledge to the next generation of sommeliers and fine wine retailers.”
“We are a business that is committed to distribution for the long term. This commitment in turn means that we are committed to great and ultimately smart customer service. The world is time poor and digital reach has never been more powerful. This means that when a representative for Smiths and or Negociants walks through the door of a restaurant, retailer, group retailer or chain, the conversation needs to provide maximum value and deliver an outcome with no fuss. Simple.”
To provide this, the business has restructured to be channel focused, with teams that are subject matter experts servicing their customers.
“We have a chain team, a group retail team and on premise, fine wine retail teams. We believe that this focused conversation will provide more customer value than a traditional ‘jack of all trades’ model.”
So, what does the future hold for Smiths and Negociants?
“The future is bright – with the investment in our digital transformation and introduction of customer focused teams, we believe we are future fit, ready and willing to partner with our customers on the opportunities for today and tomorrow,” he said.
While ‘change is the only constant in life’, a business such as Smiths and Negociants prides itself on the long term, so you know when they make changes they are well considered.
“The way we shape our offer and approach will always move with time and changes in the market. What will never change is our desire to provide the knowledge, service and friendship we are known for. We know our trade customers have choice and we don’t take their support for granted. We must remain relevant in terms of offer and commercial value and we work hard to achieve this.
“Quite simply our people are our difference.We get out of bed for great wine and are passionate and creative about promoting great wine experience. In the end, this is what wine is all about – enjoying the wines of the world’s great winemakers and sharing with friends,” Midolo said.
Pictured: Paul Midolo (left) with Paul Dimattina from Lamaro’s Hotel, South Melbourne