Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

When wine and spirits create a winning combination

Posted by Kimberly on October 12, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 12, 2007, page 2 (459 words)

With his own wine importing and distributing firm, Links Concept, Managing Director Patricio de la Fuente Saez is in a good place.
The 34-year-old admits he has exclusive rights with “all the vineyards we work with” which happens to number around 40 to 50.
Not that wines are the only name in his game, with the firm distributing spirits as well, including such famous brands as Skyy Vodka and Frangelico.
Patricio started out in 2000 when he recalled “no deals were coming up.”
In 2003, he received a call from Sands casino, with a request to supply William Weidner with something very specific.
Giving him a case of the liquor along with a business card ensured his future with the company.
“I had the feeling something special was happening here [in Macau],” he said adding that “now we know everybody and organise lots of events.
Patricio originally began in 1998 working for a big local company in Hong Kong that he left in 2000 to start his own business, at the age of 27.
“I figured I had nothing to lose,” he said, adding that they are now one of the top five distributors in Hong Kong, “and in Macau we’re definitely in the top three.”
Asked what sets him apart from the rest, he believes in the need for a “strong international selection special vintages and a pretty good idea in the market of what people like.” The same, of course, goes for the company’s spirits selection.
The main point, he adds, is being able to anticipate the needs of casinos.
“With casinos you need everything now,” he said, recalling requests for a 1947 Chateau Margaux magnum.
He tells the story of a shipment of champagne which was apparently discovered aboard the Titanic 15 years ago, of which his company obtained a few.
“They retail for around HK$250,000,” he added, suggesting that the price is all relative, certainly to someone who’s a billionaire.
With Macau’s low tax, wine is a lot more affordable here and with an increase of foreign tourism over the next few years, Patricio’s main objective is to extend his range of wines and cater to that overseas market.
“A lot of United States visitors will be coming over so for the market, it’s going to be more and more interesting,” he added.
Having recently been awarded the Cathay Pacific Shooting Star award this year, which aims to recognise young entrepreneurs and with a total staff of 153 in Hong Kong and China, Patricio has come a long way over the past four years.
“You need to keep on challenging yourself every day otherwise you become complacent,” he said.

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