Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

[Interview] Michael Asimos, Wine Wholesaler

The world of importing and exporting wine has proven to be one of the best decisions Michael Asimos has ever made. It reshaped the path of his career and has ultimately become a lucrative endeavor that he has passionately followed. Through his dedication to sharing wines from across the globes with neighborhoods far and wide, he now shares as much knowledge of the classic drink as he can. From favorite festivals to matching wine with the right food pairings, Asimos has plenty of recommendations for those looking to elevate their wine experience.

While Asimos is based out of Portland, OR he is always on the go in search of new wines to sample. Regardless of where he’s at, Asimos is interested in the best and most bold flavors that are going to really peak others interests. In the moments that are a little quieter for Asimos also enjoys attending as many jazz festivals as he can. And luckily for him jazz and wine somehow always go hand-in-hand, so he has opportunities to continue exploring all those wine options available to him.

You’ve been in this industry for a long time. What’s the best part about your job?

I don’t want to sound cliche by saying “everything” because even though that’s true, it’s too vague! So I would say that I enjoy traveling the most. I always wanted to combine my passion for wine with traveling, I just never saw how they would work together at first. Then it clicked and well, here I am! I truly enjoy going to other parts of the world, meeting people, and learning how they take care of their vineyards. And, of course, even more to it than that! I wouldn’t ever change what I do because this is exactly the right fit for me.

Do you think there are “must know” steps others need to follow to do well in this industry?

I think there are some “guidelines” people can follow, but it also depends on what you want to accomplish. There are certain tips entrepreneurs can use to find business success along the way. And then there’s just sheer desire and passion that guides a person, especially in this industry. No matter what field someone goes into, it’s always a good idea to discuss with others (mentors, friends, etc.) to ask them their opinion to help navigate you through your career. It can only benefit people since those who have already been in the industry can give them a wealth of knowledge that younger (or newly minted) entrepreneurs may not have.

Is there something you wish you had been told before becoming a wine-preneur?

Oh, I really like that new title you’ve created! I think I might use it too. When I first started out I definitely didn’t take it upon myself to be organized in any shape or form. And that caused me to really be out of sorts sometimes. I had no idea just how hectic it was all going to be.

Instead of what I wished had been said to me, I think I wish that I had just listened more to people when they were giving me advice! It wasn’t because I didn’t believe what they were saying or that I didn’t value their answers. It came down to me trying to prove to myself that everything was going to work out exactly as I had envisioned. So in the end, I wish I had listened to how organized I needed to be. Things could have run a little more smoothly for me. But I think I’ve learned my lesson!

What inspires you on a daily basis?

I’m inspired by other entrepreneurs everyday. I think it’s motivating to watch others following their passions through both the good and bad moments. Because I see how powerful a dream can move someone. It reminds me a lot of myself and it also reinforces the idea that I chose correctly with this path I’ve taken. Life moves us to the most interesting places, and mine has brought me to some incredibly beautiful locations on Earth. Seeing a new country or visiting vineyards also inspires me and makes me excited to keep pursuing this career.

What has been the most rewarding thing for you as a wine wholesaler and importer?

I think about how my clients rejoice when their product comes to a store or restaurant or the like. Because for them it means they’ve finally getting the audience they deserve after all their hard work to create an outstanding product. Sure, I’m also turning my passion into money, and that in turn is a type of “reward. But I’m making a difference for someone else-even if it’s not in the way a doctor does for example!

I work hard and try to take the time to improve my methods or business strategies to continue growing and learning every year. I want to provide the best possible experience for my clients so that they know and feel like they are being taken care of. Knowing that they are excited about their business growing is more rewarding than anything else I experience.

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Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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