Scott Menzies met Philip Kapneck and Robert L. Walker in Maryland, in 2011. He wrote about how they positively affected his business. Philip Kapneck and Robert L. Walker were both working for the state of Maryland.
Trade Ambassador Philip Kapneck was the mover and shaker behind Maryland attracting many businesses to Maryland, over a 35-year career to that point. Those businesses created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state. Robert L. Walker was the Maryland Secretary for Business and Development.
Menzies had done business in Brazil over 23 years. He said “I had the privilege of making many wonderful Brazilian friends. I was again most fortunate to re-unite on a recent trip with a fellow named Wagner Alberti.”
Wagner worked for Menzies 20 years ago in Baltimore as an intern doing market research. Wagner went back to Brazil in 1991 and Menzies went on to grow a Logistics Company to become the largest Forest Products Import facility in the USA.
Twenty years later, Menzies, Wagner and his wife Julianna were having a terrific lunch at a local Chiarascurria (Brazilain Steak House) in Sao Paulo. During lunch, Menzies decided to see if he remembered how to speak Portuguese. He said “Oi Wagner … esta vinho e muito bem!” (This wine is very good!) Wagner immediately lit up a huge Brazilian smile and said “Perfecto Mr Scott Menzies! This is going to be our future business venture together in the USA.”
Wagner explained that Brazilian wines are very high quality and that it was time for the Brazilian Wine Industry to show and tell their story to the rest of the world. “It is time for Brazil” he said. “We will have the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
“It would be wonderful for the USA and the world to watch these events with a great Brazilian wine in hand to capture the flavor of our country.”
One year after that conversation, A & M (Alberti/Menzies) Imports LLC was formed. They set up a long term agreement with the flagship wine producer of Brazil … Vinicola Salton of Tuity in the State of Rio Grande do Sol.
Salton was Brazil’s largest producer of high quality wines. A very traditional fourth generation family of Italian immigrants who today control 42% of the Brazilian sparkling wine market and produce an incredible line of terrific wines.
Philip Kapneck was talking to Scott Menzies about where to set up the business. Menzies said “We are working with Maryland Trade Ambassador Philip Kapneck and Maryland’s Robert L. Walker, Secretary for Business and Development, to help us set up offices in Maryland as our base of operations.”
As an importer, Menzies needed proximity to port facilities, and Ambassador Kapneck encouraged him to use the Port of Baltimore. Menzies said, “The Port of Baltimore will be our home port and the epicenter of our distribution network generating cargo for the Port of Baltimore and creating jobs for the citizens of Maryland.”
The company’s aim was to grow the market for Brazilian wines in the USA, based on the high quality and excellent value. Philip Kapneck worked with Scott Menzies to connect with many restaurants and retailers. Menzies’ new customers were very excited about having top quality Brazilian wines available for their customers to experience and enjoy.
This is a good story for the Embassy Night event that Ambassador Philip Kapneck attends every year.