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Respuesta de Michele

Tiempo de lectura: 7 minutos

Dear Michele

first of all thanks for your email, I recognise that we have been iterating and now we understand much better the way of working to be follow.

many thanks for your support and understanding that i am sure will allow us to colaborate in this trip and in some others in the future

i include below my answers to your email.

Hi Ana,

OK let’s try again.  However I think this initial start has been possibly useful to get to know how we can work better together.

Ana answer;  I agree

I think the ‘problems’ with this initial trial was that firstly Eugenio did not give me his ‘wish list’ of wineries earlier on and initially he said maybe to stay in one Hotel only using Bilbao as a base or maybe only 2 hotels to avoid changing locations too many times.   I have selected 3 hotel stops for the new itinerary, so lets see how this will be received.

Ana answer;  that is

Second issue was that not having received this info from Eugenio (who is in charge of the winery selection and therefore influences the itinerary and the restaurant selection – Eugenio will also have restaurant suggestions) we spent time making an itinerary that could have been better focused.

Ana answer;  that is

However, right from the start I asked you for a skeleton outline of an itinerary – which basically meant suggestions not bookings because I knew this would need to be approved and contacting hotels ecc takes time.  This should have been very simple especially when you know the area and the wineries.  It should have been more like a listing.  Instead it ended in an exchange of too many whatsapp messages too many exchange of emails and explanations to Antonio.  I don’t want this to take so much of my time, otherwise I can do all this myself – it will take me longer but I can do it. So the reason to have you is to use your expertise knowledge and your time.

I hope we can now start on a more effective and efficient approach.  We must bear in mind that they are the clients and we have to follow their selection.

Ana answer;  I agree I was may be too proactive  however for such a number of rooms it is not bad to check in advance in the hotels even to have a prereservation otherwise the booking or even offers will not be posible. of course there will be other hotels but not at the required price.

I suggest that we do not do anything until I receive feedback from Eugenio and Rosemary.  Rosemary is more responsible for the hotels – requesting hotels of a certain standard.

Ana answer;  no problem understood

As you mentioned you know these areas very well, and you know the wineries, the owners and the winemakers, this is very important (as I did for Peimonte, the tasting and visits were only conducted by the winery owners or the winemaker or the export manager – not a touristy visit). For this I used the reason that we are a wine school – all WSET students, Eugenio is a master sommelier and I am a wine professional, one of the participants is linked to UC Davis (one of the most important winemaking universities in the US) three of them are shareholders in 3 retail distributions in San Francisco and they all know basic knowledge of wine.  I will be able to send you the list of participants later with this specification – against the names.  Therefore this is a professional and a study trip and they want the best representative of the winery.  If the person cannot speak good English we will try and manage I can speak some Spanish and Eugenio also.  But of course it would be best to have someone who speaks good enough English.  We do not want the tourist tour.

Ana answer;  fully clear.

Also because this was a study trip with some trade professionals we never paid any winery tasting in Piemonte.  But of course I am well known in Italy and especially in Piemonte.  In fact I am organising (for the last 4 months now and this is why I am so very busy right now I have an event in Torino over 2 days with 300 wineries form Piemonte organised by the one of my main clients,  with 80 global importers which I have selected personally and invited.  This takes place 28-31 January and in February I have 2 events in London and Manchester to organise, so I need to plan my time carefully.

Ana answer; understood

Of course in Piemonte I did not have to pay for my hotel or meals as we were a group of 14 people and many places know me well.  Here we could be 18 people but I would rely on your negotiation skills to see what you can do regarding best prices for the highest quality.  I can also write an article after and include hotels, restaurants and wineries.

Ana answer;  I will do my best to get the best offers and advantages for your trip

So as to be very clear of what I would expect from your side I think it best I write it down in this email – it should be much easier now that you have a list of selected wineries

Ana answer;  I already listed some of the best in the area and the list can be extended, but let know the preferences of Eugenio…for instance if you are interested in Chacoli …we have of course many options and I can propose may alternativies. In principle i focused the winnwerie in rioja wines but we can adjust the trip to Eugenio advise.

I have outlined a possible itinerary which they need to approve and they need to approve the number of nights we spend in each hotel.

I would also say that the budget should be divided as follows based on €3000 per person:

So far there are 18 people:

4 couples sharing a room – 8 people + one double room for myself and my partner can be standard (offered by the hotel) or upgraded by the hotel if they agree  (5 double rooms in all)

4 single rooms  – 4 people

4 women wanting to share (so two rooms with double/queen beds) – 4 people

16 paying guests + 2 non paying Michele and Michal we have to cover our expenses from the budget

Total rooms 7 double and 4 single 

Total budget €3000 x €48.000 I would like to keep as close as possible to this figure, I may try and raise the budget a bit deepening if it is essential to the desired outcome of the programme.

Total Budget for the hotels could be €30.000/€35.000 for six nights for the group

Total Budget restaurants Lunches & dinners with wines could be €12.000 – €15.000

Bus hire for total period about €3000

Winery visits if to be paid €3000 ???? Hopefully not to be counted

Ana answer;  in some we will have to pay

Ana expense of assisting Michèle €3000

This could come to more than €48.000 so lets see.

Ana responsible for:

Logistics – you know the area and the roads and the order of which towns to visit first and how to maximise the itinerary minimising the time in the bus – taking into account time for village/town/cultural visits & winery visits suggesting picturesque towns and villages to visit (and why)

Suggesting restaurant and hotels – initial choice to get approved – suggest the hotels and why – suggest the restaurants and why

Winery visits –  if preferable free of charge – we are in important US group and good for their business and promotion in the US – we need a professional tasting – not tourist visit. We need to focus on the 1) tasting 2) vineyards 3) property and maybe the working winery if there is something of particular interest. Winery visits depend in length on the importance and size: (1.5 – 2 hours each visit).  Note that this part has now been made easier that the wineries have been selected – so this takes away considerable work in selection.

Hotels – need to be special – we can consider some of the Paradores line – boutique hotels – historical buildings – charming hotels – winery properties – I have put a large part of the budget in the hotels so they want something as exclusive as possible – good quality – superior rooms or junior suites – your skill in negotiating comes in here!

Restaurants: Lunch times and dinner times should be scheduled as possible to 13.00 for lunch (understand if some top restaurant doesn’t start service until 13.30) and 20.00 for dinner we need to have one important meal and one less important smaller meal per day and keep a space of time between finishing lunch and starting dinner.  Focus on two or three Michelin starred restaurants – the others can be good and simpler characteristic restaurants if possible having something special about them.  You will need to focus on each menu where necessary

Bus: select a company that can be with us all the time if we are on tour. Negotiate price – needs to be a fairly new comfortable bus 22/25 seater not larger with air conditioning that works and a punctual service – driver needs to speak some English if possible

Museums – shows, city visits – these need to be booked with English guide where necessary

Ana answer; all agreed, but in somme wineries the paiment for the visit will not be avoided

Payments & deposits: – these will be made by me through my company on receipt of invoice.

Itinerary/Budget/Programme: This needs to be put down in a clear way like the excel spread sheet I sent you for Piemonte and the itinerary programme in full with pictures that I sent you.

Agreement with Ana:

For the above ( see points in Ana responsible for) a total fee of €3000 will be paid – €1500 when the itinerary has been decided and initial agreements reached  €1500 when Michele Shah receives all the confirmed agreements and the final itinerary  and the final budget and programme, as per the files sent for Piemonte trip.

If you prefer not to negotiate and not to draw up the final budget and programme we can also agree on the following:

€ 2000 for assisting with contacting all the hotels explaining that we need a group price and asking for their best price, passing the contacts to Michele to negotiate final price

Assist with planning the skeleton initial programme  together with Michèle  until we reach a final version.  Michèle will then put it in its final format.

Assist with explaining and making clear to the winery the necessity to have a professional visit and tasting and that we are a trade & a study group with a wine professional journalist and sommelier therefore we do not expect to pay – then passing the contacts to Michèle to negotiate final agreement.

Suggesting restaurants and discussing with them the menu for each location – often groups have to pre-decide on a menu – making an initial request to keep to a reasonable budget – asking to keep us a good seating/table/view – passing the agreed menu and cost and the contacts to Michèle to negotiate final price

Assist with booking the hotel and with negotiating a group price explaining that we want good rooms if with view where possible – pass on proposal to Michele to negotiate final price.

Assist with finding bus company and discussing with them the format needed and cost – pass on contact for Michele to negotiate final price

Assist with booking or passing on details for any necessary visit to museum and city guides –

Ana answer;  as it is the first colaboration, i prefer the secon option for this time. that is due to the fact the i have a lot  of work in the magazine and i have new projects arriving.

I hope this is all clear.  Let me know what you think.  This has taken me time but I think it is best to be as clear as possible as I think some things have been lost in translation.  Let me know what agreement you prefer.

I suggest that we do not do anything major now until I receive feedback from Eugenio and Rosemary.

All the best Michèle

Ana Belén Toribio
Ana Belén Toribio
Periodista y sumiller. CEO y Directora.


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