Interview with Ibert van der Waal MV from Wijnimport J. Bart
- 5 min read
“As soon as one of our wines is offered in the supermarkets, we stop selling it”
I graduated from Hotelschool The Hague in 1985. At the time I studied, Skotel was still in the building on the Brusselselaan, a similar concept to the current Amsterdam campus. After Hotelschool The Hague I worked for Pullman hotels. I first helped open the Pullman in Amsterdam, but then I had to join the military for my compulsory military service, unfortunately. After my service I came back to Pullman hotels, this time opening the Pullman Central in The Hague. This hotel is now the Mercure hotel. Having worked there for one year, a new GM was appointed, who fired all the staff, so I ended up working for Hilton.
Afterwards I became Banquet and F&B Manager at Hotel De L’Europe in Amsterdam. I worked there for almost three years, meanwhile I decided to do a study to become a ‘vinoloog’ at the Dutch Wine Academy. In 2012 I graduaded as Magister Vini (MV).
That is how I ended up working for Wijnimport J. Bart. It is a family company that started fifty years ago. Before changing to the wine trade the founder Joop Bart was involved in the agricultural trade and Wijnimport J. Bart developed into a wine importing company. I now work as their National Sales Manager. The company has a very flat organisation with a small management team. We travel a lot for our work because we do our own selection and buying. French wines used to make up the largest part of our sales, but the world is opening up to many different regions now, such as Italy and South America. We also import spirits, and we work with producers in eighteen different countries.
Wijnimport J. Bart supplies wines to the Dutch Hospitality Industry. Having worked in the Hospitality Industry, it helps me to do my job better, because I understand the industry I am supplying for. We supply directly to our clients, which is a big advantage as we cut out a lot of players in the supply chain. We aim to deliver qualitative wines, and as soon as one of our wines is offered in the supermarkets, we stop selling it. Due to the price sensitive market here in The Netherlands and our on trade market focus, we are never going to make our money selling off trade wines, but we still try to specialise on qualitative products. Knowledge of wines is very important in our company.
We also started an internet concept QV Select, were we sell high-end wines through the internet. The market is always changing, so our ways of distribution are also always changing.
Hotelschool The Hague prepared me for my work, because it is a very broad and general study. You learn a bit about everything and you gain a broad perspective on the hospitality industry. If I look at where my classmates ended up, everyone works in a different industry, living all over the world.