The Yum List gets the inside story of what life is like as an international beverage sales director with Xavier Vicente from Asia-Pacific González Byass.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am the Sales Director in Asia Pacific for González Byass, one of the most well-known wine and spirits producers from Spain and Chile. I am based in Bangkok. I got into this industry 14 years ago, as I am originally from La Rioja region in Spain. This is the most popular region in Spain for wines, and sooner or later, everybody there is related to the wine business (there are 250.000 people in my province only, but there are almost 700 wineries).
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is that I love what I do. I love wine. I love food and I love travelling, so it seems I have the perfect job for me. At the same time, the worst part is that even though it seems it is all fun, we have to spend long periods of time away from home travelling, and I have a small daughter (three years old) that I only see a few days in certain months because of all these trips….
What’s your favourite experience at González Byass?
Well, we do a very fun activity with one of our Brands, Beronia. It is a cooking class in San Sebastian, the capital of food in Spain. We are taught about some traditional Basque dishes while enjoying Beronia wines. It is also very fun and a real experience to follow a sherry tasting from the master Mr Antonio Flores, the best-fortified winemaker of the world.
What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
The scariest probably has been to be a witness of how some people copy wines and even spirits in China, not having any quality controls at all. To copy some brandies they even added some colourants. It is scary because in the end someone will consume that drink and I am very concerned about potential health issues.
The perfect day off would be…
A few years ago I would have said “partying with friends” but I guess I am getting old. Now the perfect day off for me is to stay home with my wife and daughter (especially after so much travelling!)
A day in the life of sales manager is…
Well, days are a bit different if you’re travelling or not. When not travelling I am basically in my home office preparing reports and budgets, answering emails, etc… nothing special. However, when I’m travelling there’s a bit more ‘action’, with several meetings that usually end up with a few glasses of wine or a gin & tonic
What do you do for fun?
I love sports of all kind, especially basketball and football (both watching and practising).
What’s something you’d like guests to know about González Byass?
We are the most famous sherry producers in the world, with a history that goes back almost 200 years. Also, we are the most awarded winery in Spain and voted the best winery in Spain a couple of times these past five years.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
I love meat, and especially beef. I love a big ‘Txuleta’ (as we call a T-Bone steak in the north of Spain) paired with a Beronia Reserva or a Finca Moncloa (another one of our brands from Spain).
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I will be home because my second daughter will be born in August! So looking forward to it!