A few months ago, Ryan received the first of many email correspondences from Excel Wines, asking for more information about Catavino. Who is Excel Wines, you ask?! Anna Axén from Sweden, Sandy Tay from Malaysia and Ane Miren Lambe from Ireland manage and run this Internet Spanish wine retail shop in the incredibly windy region of Bilbao, Spain. I’d say the windy and rainy northern region, but sadly, rain seems to be a distant memory of Spain’s past. Having spent several years lovingly devoted to the growth and development of their children, in 2006, both Anna and Sandy decided it was high time to get off their haunches and start on the road to their true passion: wine (smart women!). Having no experience in the wine trade, little understanding of the Internet and few connections (or enchufes) in Spain, they decided to take from the guidance of Sandy’s husband, a Spanish national, along with the trusted support and friendship of Miguel Merino to create Excel Wines in 2006. It wasn’t until many months later that Ane came on board with her intense and professional style to both support and bolster the team. Together, these three have created a perfectly interwoven team that is bound by the inescapable desire to both explore and educate Europeans about Spanish wine.
What makes this company different from your average online wine retail shop? As I see it, two very important factors: unique Spanish wines and exceptional customer service. Let’s start with the obvious, Spanish wines. As a result of their rather convenient location in the heart of Spain, Excel Wines has worked hard to compile a portfolio of wines that not only represent a vast diversity of Spanish wines including Cava, a barrel fermented Godello from Galicia and a 100% Picapoll from D.O. Pla de Bages in Catalunya – not to mention their 237 different Spanish red wines as well, but also which come from producers for whom they both respect and trust. The only issue, from their point of view, is that with so many highly recommended and unique wines, it is difficult to persuade their customers to break out of their familiar rut to try wines that may expand their palate and ignite their taste buds, such as:
The second way in which Excel is unique is their approach to customer service. As we’ve voiced on several occasions, Ryan and I are sticklers about good customer service. Having had some rather poor experiences here in Spain, we are happy to support any company that places their customers before the bottom dollar. What this means, at least to us, is that the company is attentive to our needs, open to feedback and continually assessing both their own service and the services of their suppliers. Therefore, when I asked Excel Wines what they ranked as the number one service they offer that differs from their competitors, it thoroughly pleased me to hear that customer service were the first words uttered from their lips.
We want our customers to be happy with our service. This is why we only sell wines that we believe in, offer competitive pricing, follow-up every request with a personalized email, and track every delivery so that our customer is always informed where their wines are in route. ~Anna Aixen
This said, we do have a few minor suggestions we hope they’ll embrace and change in the near future. One, is a blog, to keep us up to date as to where they’ve been, where their going and what their carrying. We’ve had several conversations about this subject, and trust they’ll be launching one in the very near future (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)!! The second suggestion is a small makeover of their website, as it is a little Web 1.0 at the present moment. Although the information is there, it’s not very user-friendly when searching for a specific wine, exemplified by my frequent use of their search field.
However, we do suggest that if you’re located within Europe to take a moment give Excel Wines a look! Or, if you’ve used their services before, we’d love to hear what your experience was like!
Thanks to both Ane and Anna for taking the time to chat with us, and wish you the best of luck!