Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by nicole
Arnaud Fabre, Founder and General Manager at Benom, was born into a family of winegrowers in Bordeaux, France. Although immersed in winemaking, his passion lay in the business and sales side of the wine industry. Arnaud studied at INSEEC University of Bordeaux before venturing to the United States with his brother, Guillaume Fabre, to explore wine production.
During their American adventure, Arnaud met Chloe Asseo from L’Aventure, a pivotal moment in his life. In 2015, he and Guillaume founded Benom, a brand that brought a touch of French expertise to Paso Robles.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Arnaud shares the story behind Benom Wines, revealing the inspiration for the name and the brand’s beginnings
- He discusses the distinctions in marketing wine between France and the US
- He discusses the significance of the wine-tasting experience, particularly at the higher caliber level
- Explore the unique location of Benom’s tasting room in Tin City, Paso Robles
- Arnaud delves into the collaborative spirit of Paso Robles and shares his vision for the region’s growth as it expands
- We delve into Benom’s vineyards and the process of creating their distinctive wine blends.
- Arnaud explains how Benom distinguishes itself in a crowded wine market
- Arnaud shares his insights on the challenges of dealing with rising prices in the wine industry, from supply chain issues to pricing strategies
- Learn about the exciting events hosted by Benom Wines, with a special focus on their remarkable food pairings
- Arnaud juggles multiple ventures, and he sheds light on how he manages his busy schedule
In this episode with Arnaud Fabre
We sit down with Arnaud Fabre of Benom Wines, as he shares the captivating story of Benom, its French influence, and the unique charm of Paso Robles. Discover the secrets behind Benom’s name and the nuances of marketing wines in the US compared to France. Arnaud reveals the art of creating exceptional wine-tasting experiences and the importance of knowledgeable staff. Explore the enchanting Tin City in Paso Robles and the sense of community it brings to winemaking.
In today’s episode of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, Drew Thomas Hendricks and Bianca Harmon are joined by Arnaud Fabre, Founder and General Manager at Benom Wines. Dive into Arnaud’s vision for Paso Robles’ growth and learn about Benom’s distinctive wines and marketing strategies. We also discuss the challenges of pricing and the magic of wine and food pairings.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Barrels Ahead
- Bianca Harmon on LinkedIn
- Arnaud Fabre on LinkedIn
- Benom Wines
- Guillaume Fabre on LinkedIn
- L’Aventure Winery
- JUSTIN Winery
- Clos Solène
- Procure Wines
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
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[00:00:00] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Drew Thomas Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. On the show, I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Before I get on with the show, brief sponsor to message, today’s episode sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead, we help the wine and craft industry build stronger bonds through, with our customers and brands through authentic content, go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more. Today I’m talking with Arnaud Fabre. Arnaud is the founder and general manager of Benom Wines in Paso Robles. How’s it going, Arnaud?
[00:00:32] Arnaud Fabre: Good and you?
[00:00:33] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Doing well. We’ve, we actually know each other. We’ve worked on a couple of sites together and I’m really excited to have you on the show.
Bianca’s also joining us today.
[00:00:43] Bianca Harmon: Hi guys. Hi Arnaud.
[00:00:45] Drew Thomas Hendricks: So Arnaud, talk to us about Benom.
[00:00:50] Arnaud Fabre: So, there’s so much to say about Benom. But basically, Benom, it’s a brand I started with my brother Guillaume from Clos Solène back in 2015. As you can hear, you know, we have, we are French. Another French family in Paso Robles.
So, everybody’s saying that we are taking over, but that’s not true.
[00:01:16] Drew Thomas Hendricks: There’s a, there is a pretty large French connection there. Why?
[00:01:20] Arnaud Fabre: Right now we, we are from the Languedoc region, so southern of France. That’s where our family got established. You know, my brother, Guillaume, who is a winemaker for Benom and owner, obviously.
He’s the sixth generation of winemaker in my family. So wine is flowing in our blood, you know?
[00:01:42] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah.
[00:01:43] Arnaud Fabre: And so, when I was about six to eight years old, my dad wanted something different, you know, than the Languedoc. He wanted to deal with Cab, Merlot, you know, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. And so we bought a property on, on right bank Bordeaux in the late nineties, early 2000.
And so that’s pretty much where I was raised Bordeaux, and that’s where I fell in love in wine. And so, my brother who did the first vintage in 2004, wanted to kind of learn English to kind of develop the sales and marketing of the Chateau in Bordeaux. He got in contact with a friend of my parents who knew Stephan and Beatrice at L’Aventure in Paso Robles.
[00:02:38] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, okay.
[00:02:39] Arnaud Fabre: So that’s kind of how we landed in Paso in 2004. And that’s where the whole story started, where I fell in love with the region. I decided to move full-time in Paso.
[00:02:56] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You didn’t just fall in love with the region though.
[00:02:58] Arnaud Fabre: What’s that?
[00:02:59] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You didn’t just fall in love with the region.
[00:03:01] Arnaud Fabre: It’s coming.
[00:03:02] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh okay. Sorry. Sorry. I cut you off. Such a fairytale story.
[00:03:07] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah. And so in, you know, for, so he moved to, to Paso to be a glass winemaker of Stephan L’Aventure. And that’s where the whole thing, I kind of continued in 2008. He started close to land with 50 cases of white on the back of L’Aventure.
And that’s how the whole brand started at L’Aventure. And the same year, he got married back in Bordeaux and he obviously invited Stephan and Beatrice, the owner of L’Aventure, along with the kids. And that’s kind of how I met Chloe, not with a dance, on his wedding. It’s more like trying to approach her, but I was very shy at that point.
So, it’s more like in 2009 when I came to Paso as an intern that we started kind of dating. I stayed in Paso at Justin Winery for about two years as an intern on a production. I did as well some, some testing room, which was good for me because that’s how I learned English a lot. And then in 2011, Chloe and I went back to France.
She spent some time in Paris on the fashion industry. And I was in Bordeaux finishing up my studies on a business, wine business. And in the same time I was helping my parents on the vineyard, but as well selling the property. And so we sold the property in 2012, a year later. And then in 2013, Chloe and I kind of decided what’s our next plan.
And so she really wanted to go back to America because much more opportunities. I love Paso Robles as well. So I told her, you know what, let’s do it. So we moved in 13. I started, started to work at law in early 19, 2014. And she obviously slowly, took over L’Aventure winery. She started in the tasting room and she went, I worked all the way up to now managing the whole place.
And so I worked a lot from 2014 to 2019. So I stayed five years. They taught me a lot of things, you know, I went on every corner of the winery and sales and marketing to learn as much as I could. And that’s all the way up to 2015 that Guillaume and I wanted to start our own brand, you know because we want to continue the family legacy as we stopped everything in France.
That’s what Benom came all about.
[00:05:54] Drew Thomas Hendricks: That’s amazing. For the people that are listening, how did Benom get its name?
[00:05:59] Arnaud Fabre: So Benom, it took, it took, we didn’t find a name at the beginning. You know, we started making our, our few bars in 2015. It was worse about 200 cases, same thing for 16. So at that time, I was, you know, working at law and helping Guillaume as much as I could during harvest and making the wine.
And so we, we found the name in 2000, end of 2016. Where we needed to label the wines, and so Benom means a project together in French. You actually spell it differently, you spell it B I N O M E in French. But we wanted everyone to say it the same way, so that’s why we kind of tweaked the word a little bit.
[00:06:46] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, that one. Yeah, you’re allowed to take creative license and it’s easier to copyright something like that when you… Make up the
[00:06:55] Arnaud Fabre: There’s only one, one Benom spelled like this.
[00:06:58] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Is there? So, talk to me about the on marketing. So you got your degree in France for wine business and marketing. Yeah. And then, and then made the jump over to the US how, what are the differences between the two, like when you had to come to the US It’s, it’s a much different way of marketing wine here, I believe.
[00:07:19] Arnaud Fabre: Very, very much. So, I think the main distribution, I’m going to talk more into the wine, you know, industry. You know, in France, you know, the property that we used to have were small and, you know, we were retailing our wines are around like 10 to 20 bucks a bottle. There’s so much more competition in France.
Just to give you an idea, there is about 8, 000 producer, 8, 000 producer in Bordeaux.
[00:07:46] Drew Thomas Hendricks: That’s just in Bordeaux.
[00:07:48] Bianca Harmon: Wow.
[00:07:49] Arnaud Fabre: 500 in Paso. And so it’s, with that competition and the way everything has been marketed in France, it’s more, I would say 90 percent of the sales are happening through distribution, you know, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, and all of that.
So you always need to be on the market and invest on people to be out and sell your wine and with the risk of you see of losing the brand, because when you go on distribution, you know, entering to the book and you are part of many, many brands and all the sales rep has to remember, you know, all the details about, you can’t really do that.
[00:08:33] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It’s almost their version of the three-tier system where you have a, you’re, you’re going out and you’re marketing it.
[00:08:38] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, I mean, the three-tier is very specialized to US. Yeah, is which I understand, you know, it’s a, it’s a great way of, you know, having representation on each state. But for each producer, it’s really hard complaints-wise, but as well, distribution-wise to find the perfect distributor, perfect retailer on each state you want to be in, but so to compare with us in us for small winery like us, you know, in US, you have tasting rooms and you have wine clubs and, and that’s what makes a huge difference to France is the, you know, tourism here is much more involved than it is in France.
So I would say I’ve been on Benom, we do 98, 99 percent of our sales through direct to consumer when people come to taste at the winery, have a flight of wine, sit down, and enjoy the wines. And if they’re in love with the wine, the quality, and the story, they join the club.
And so they have that subscription that comes every six months or every year back to their door and they can come back, taste the new vintage with the parties and the dinners and all that. So you don’t have as much as interaction in France as you have here on the direct-to-consumer side. That’s why it is difficult in France.
They are kind of transition transitioning to that. But it’s harder. It’s hard to, to do a big shift, you know?
[00:10:08] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It’s hard. Yeah. It’s the, and we were gonna talk more about Paso, but I’m fascinated about France is it’s evolving and the younger consumers are coming into the board. Is it starting to be more direct consumers, like our, the wineries looking for more of this kind of tasting experience or,
[00:10:25] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah.
I mean it’s, it’s kind of the style of wine as well. Change with the young generation traveling more, experiencing the new world, the type of blend, the creativity, the freedom of blending whatever we want. It’s kind of the same thing I would say on the sales and marketing side where, when you have those French people coming here, especially, you know, us at Benom, Clos Solène, and L’Aventure, we have always French interns because of our connections.
And they are amazed by that, the tasting room, the way we do things, the sit-down tastings, and really the care of the hospitality side. And so I would say those young people are, are very intrigued by that and want to apply it, you know, to the, the France, French market. But it’s hard because you don’t have, you know, it’s on your culture to do wine tasting, you know, regular, like spend the whole weekend in Paso.
And so in France, you don’t, you don’t have as much of that.
[00:11:28] Bianca Harmon: So how is the wine tasting done in France versus the U. S.?
[00:11:34] Arnaud Fabre: But, you know, you, when you go to a property, you hope for the tasting to be open. Most of the time you catch the producer, the farmer on the vineyard, and like, “Hey, we’d like to taste your wine.” And stop the tractor and jump and open the bottles.
And he can go, you know, for three, four-hour tasting or even he takes you on the lunch. He can go on a crazy side. But you don’t have like a tea. I mean, I’m talking about generally speaking. There’s obviously some wineries, especially in rolling road that I have the setup to receive people every day. I would say this kind of setup, I don’t know, it would be 10, 20 percent of the setup in France, but more importantly, it’s those young, small producer.
It’s the farmer is doing the vineyard, the winemaking, and tasting rooms and it’s doing everything. So it’s, it’s very, very, very different. But also you have those, you know, appellations where they schedule yearly basis. Where they call, where the winery opened their door for the weekend and people can come and taste.
But it’s more like a bar and you taste a few wines, you buy a few bottles and you leave. You don’t spend the whole hour talking about the story, the vineyard, the climate, the terroir, and all of that. as much as you do here.
[00:13:02] Bianca Harmon: Wow, interesting.
[00:13:05] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Talking about hospitality, that shift into where you are now in Paso, and you get, I, from working with you for the last year, you pay so much attention to the experience.
Talk to me about the experience and why it’s so important for wineries, especially at your level of caliber.
[00:13:22] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, I mean, you know, hospitality kind of, it’s in our blood because my grandmother and grandfather used to have a hotel and restaurant and, and I worked on them, you know, for a few season when I was in vacation during the summer.
So I was, I always have been into the hospitality side, but I was amazed when I arrived here, especially working for Clos, which, you know, if you guys have not been, it’s a very state-of-the-art winery, very modern, really focusing on premium wines experience and all of that. And I was amazed by that.
And so that’s what I really pushed to work over there to the point, I was talking to the general manager every week. I’m like, give me the phone number of the owner. I like to talk to them and none of that, because I really wanted to work there. And so I got the job and, and really the fact that for me now, everybody’s making good wine or great wine.
What really changed, obviously, is the taste of each of the people coming in, but what really makes the difference is the connection, you know, the relationship. And so, our goal is to create that relationship with customers and really, you know, tell them about, you know, how we do things, how we make the wine, how we like to farm the vineyard.
And the way that we treat the customer really, really well, we spend an hour and a half with them. They have a flight of five to six wines. And we, we sit down with them and we explain everything. So we can go on a very educational tasting where people wants as much production information as they want. Or we can go more on the life, you know, conversation.
If we feel like people are just want to talk about their life and know more about our story and all of that. And after the wine kind of, you know, sales by itself. You know, it’s, we really talk a little bit about the wines. How we like to do things after, you know, the tasting part, it’s on their end. You know, we don’t have tasting notes.
We just have a presentation of the wine, the title, and the blend. And that’s it, you know, we, we want to be, to have them kind of judge the wine and not influence them by anything. So like, you know, tasting notes, pricing, and all of that. So, so it’s more like relationship for us.
[00:15:53] Drew Thomas Hendricks: And there’s like a, what I’ve seen working with you is there’s almost, there’s a synergy.
A lot, I see a lot of wineries making a mistake where they, they may have a very high-end, fantastic wine, but then you go into the tasting room and the people behind the bar that are pouring, don’t have that same level of knowledge, and then there’s a disconnect. And the one thing that I really loved about being able to work with you is I see all the Google reviews and review after review, after review, just talks about what the, how that one-on-one experience is and how knowledgeable it is.
[00:16:24] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah. I mean, you have to know about wine. You, I mean, obviously when we hire, it’s not our priority to find somebody that knows everything about wine. It’s more like we want to find somebody that is passionate to learn and discover more so that having a WSET or master or blah, blah, blah. It’s that thing.
It’s great to have. Obviously, it’s a plus, but what we want to find is passionate people. And then, you know, just by working here every day, they learn everything. You know, they learn, we have the cellar right behind the tasting room. So they see when my brother and his team, works in the cellar, we try every month to do tastings of French wines or Spanish wines or other wines to compare what is, for example, Syrah in Rhone versus Paso, Bordeaux versus Napa or Paso.
It’s always important for us to, to give them new details and new education point in order for them to communicate it back to the customer. And so we want them to be aware on the whole process of winemaking, but as well, the knowledge of wine in a world. So it takes time, you know, it takes a lot of time to train somebody, and have it really feel part of the brand and have the brand in the blood, you know.
Like I know it took me about six, six months to really feel it. Really feel the brain and be comfortable tasting and, and give that knowledge back to a customer.
[00:18:04] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I think that’s so, that’s so important. Like you mentioned the WSET and all the knowledge, but all the knowledge in the, of wine in the world isn’t going to really help the person when they’re there talking with the customer or talking with the person about the wine right there, because you really don’t want someone just spitting off everything they know about wine.
Cause you’re not really reacting to the, to the person in front of you.
[00:18:24] Bianca Harmon: Well, in my experience, working in the tasting rooms to the people with the WSETs, I mean, they were always, they always kind of seemed like they should be in the restaurant world. There wasn’t this huge fit forum in the tasting room.
That actually the ones that didn’t come in knowing so much and that were teachable and trainable performed better.
[00:18:48] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah. And it’s passion, you know.
[00:18:51] Bianca Harmon: Yeah.
[00:18:51] Arnaud Fabre: When you need to learn, that’s what matters to us. You know, you know, we had some, when I was at Clos, you know, I remember a girl that was working carefully that started in design and she worked all the way up to, to marketing manager and she was passionate about it.
She was into wine. She wanted to discover and more importantly, as well, she wanted to work and develop and all of that. So that’s why, you know, on our team, we have those people because it helps us being inspired, you know, and continue to find new ideas and all of that. You know, when you are owner and manager or even an employee, you want to be inspired.
And, when you want, you are inspired, you can do a lot of things.
[00:19:45] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. For sure. I want to, I want to shift for a second, cause you’re in a pretty unique location where your tasting room is in a place called Tin City in Paso Robles. And you were one of the. Talk to us about it for a lot of people that may not have visited there, and some of the advantages of being in sort of that, I don’t want to call it a collective, but in some sort of a space devoted to food and wine.
[00:20:08] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, no, so it’s a, so Paso it’s kind of divided into side, route down by the 101, where you have the east side and the west side. Tin City, it’s on the south of Paso downtown. On the, on the east side of the one-on-one, it’s kind of a district where you have about 25 wineries, you have a brewery, you have a cider place, you have restaurants, so you can pretty much back your car there, and spend the whole day wine tasting drinking beer.
I mean, obviously, if you do all of them, I’m sorry for you, it’s going to be tough. But it’s cool because it’s all new winemakers, young people, again, passionate about their work, and they, the vibe there, it’s very, it’s a great vibe, you know. And so you can see everybody’s making wine, they have their door open during harvest, you have trucks, a load of fruit coming in.
Dumping on each one. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a great vibe to go. And so when you do wine tasting, you can pretty much, yeah, go from a tasting room to another and really experience the feeling of 25 to 30 winemakers with a different style, different blends, and all of that. So you have a pretty good pulse of Paso by just going to Tin City.
And so all those guys are sourcing fruit from Westside, Eastside Paso, even Santa Maria, Santa Barbara. So, you have a good diversity, which is awesome.
[00:21:45] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, it’s expanded a lot. I believe. I hard to believe. So 45 wineries now.
[00:21:51] Arnaud Fabre: No, I would say there’s about 20, 20 to 31 wineries.
[00:21:55] Drew Thomas Hendricks: 20 to 30. And as it’s grown, is it kept that same collaborative kind of, like a work environment.
I mean, is everybody friendly or is it, is it because competition’s coming in?
[00:22:07] Arnaud Fabre: No, you know, in Paso, you won’t feel any competition at all on any type of wineries, even Tin City the winery is around. You know, that’s the first thing people tell us when they visit Paso for the first time. They are in love with that community.
We want to help each other grow. And so a lot of recommend from, you know, it is from people, the owners. And we do the same thing back to them. And so it’s a, a really strong community, that works great as a whole to promote Paso on another level.
[00:22:47] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. Where would you like to see Paso grow? So as it expands, and it is such a great region and so such a collaborative area, is it expands. How would you like to see its growth occur?
[00:23:01] Arnaud Fabre: I mean, we pretty much want to have the same thing. You know, we, we don’t want obviously to be known as very commercial and all of that because we are getting more traffic. So that’s why we try to keep, you know, that kind of family side. I’m talking more, more importantly to be Benom, where we could open our doors to more people, hire more people, make more wine, and do more traffic.
But we wanna keep it small. We wanna be family oriented. You know, and we want to make sure quality is consistently growing. Obviously, we are making more and more wine, but it’s very organic. You know, we want to stay small. And so I think, you know, all the people around us, definitely growing, but we are not changing our rules a lot more because of the traffic.
If you understand what I mean, it’s not because more and more people that we’re going to make the time or what. And so I think people are more into that mindset of continue to grow together. Being very strong from each other and promote Paso as much as you can, as we can, and give a great experience, you know?
[00:24:19] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. I sure hope it’s,
[00:24:22] Bianca Harmon: Oh, no, I was just gonna say, wasn’t there a documentary on Amazon about
[00:24:28] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a documentary from, I would say 2015 or 16 when it was filmed. So you see actually my brother on it when he started, he started in Tin City in 2013 or 14 with four wineries and in the brewery.
And that documentary is around that time, but since then, it changed quite a bit. Quite a bit.
[00:24:58] Bianca Harmon: Oh, I’m sure. I’m sure.
[00:25:01] Arnaud Fabre: That’s kind of the beauty of Tin City, again is, you know, we’re able to have, you know, Tessium winery barrel room in about 5 to 6, 000 square feet. So it’s really great for us financially to grow without impacting too much.
And our next plan down the road is definitely to have a vineyard and, you know, be more on the west side where we source our food, have our winery, and Tessium. So that’s what we see every day when we push our door and what motivates us. It’s the fact that we see ourselves more on the west side on the road, and then we’ll let a winery to younger generation to start their own thing.
[00:25:46] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, absolutely. Let’s talk about your wines. So you definitely a west side winery. Right now are you using long-term contracts? Let’s talk about your vineyards and kind of how your wine blends are.
[00:25:58] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, so we, we use about 10 to 12 different producer, even a little bit more with Clos Solène together.
So my brother handle the whole farming process and winemaking. And when I say farming is we don’t actually farm physically and go every day to those vineyard because it’s not ours. You know, we have contract with those farmers. My brother kind of follow them and kind of tell them what we like to have at the end and how we like the vines to be treated in know, in order to get the quality that we want for the grape.
So he really followed them on a monthly and daily basis when we are close to a harvest to, to get the best grape. All of them are mainly on the west side. We like the west side because it’s a little bit cooler. You know, you have more rolling hills, limestone, and all of that. So you have a great terroir on the west side.
And it fits really well our brand because, you know, Benom, it’s all about more like a French style of wine. And so wines are a little bit softer, a little bit less concentrated and extracted. We want more freshness on the wine. So my brother makes sure we pick that at the right time to really capture more freshness.
We really focus on this side of wine, I would say. And on the top of that, you know, coming from France where there is so much regulations, we wanted to kind of break the rules a little bit, and be more, you know, a French style winery with a new world type of blend. And so, we focus on Cabernet at 50, 60%, which is very unusual from Westside wineries.
Westside wineries are more Rhone-driven. So we focus on Cab, and then we play with Rhone and Spanish varietals to create those unique cuvées. And so, that’s very important for us to be able to showcase our creativity and the freedom in Paso that we were not allowed to do back in France, you know. So, we have wines like Les Deux Freres, which is a Grenache Cabernet Tempranillo, we have one Muse, it’s a Mourvèdre Cabernet, so we really play on those varietals to find thickness, balance, freshness, and structure.
[00:28:28] Drew Thomas Hendricks: But so the one thing I want to talk about it. So Bordeaux, so you specialize in Bordeaux varietals with like, almost like a Rhone nuance to it. And that kind of matches what is really happening on the west side.
And I think few people realize how much Cabernet is actually planted on the west side. It’s a, it’s a major force and I think it’s just from the hillsides.
[00:28:48] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, I mean, if you talk about your past, so generally speaking, the whole operation inside the west side, the first grade to be planted is Cabernet.
I don’t know what’s the percentage on the west side. I would say it’s more Rhone-driven on the west side. Maybe I’m wrong. But what you see for the caliber of wineries like us. Those ones that are more driven by Rhone than they are with Bordeaux. And so that was important for us to do different things as well.
Because there’s so many great GSMs, Shiraz, Grenaches, and all of that on the west side of Paso and east side of Paso that we wanted to showcase different things and so we are, you know, not a lot of people are doing Cab. Shop – Carino as well. We use Graciano, we use Tempranillo, so we are going a little bit to Spain, because, you know, it’s, it’s hot here and so Spanish grapes really stripe.
[00:29:48] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, no, I think Tempranillo would be, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Cab sounds like a fantastic blend. Let’s talk about like, so let’s, let’s talk about for a second about your, marketing your wines and distinguishing it. It’s a, it’s all one big good collaborative happy family, but at the end of the day, you got to separate yourself out from the next winery down the road. How do you set Benom apart?
[00:30:12] Arnaud Fabre: You know, it’s not like, I would say a marketing plan on how to differentiate ourselves. It’s not being yourself. You know, the first goal is to make the best wine that we can. The second goal is to give one of the best experiences. And the third goal is to have branding, when I talk about branding, it’s website, social media, labels, collaterals that match all the work that we do on the farming and the winemaking side, because we are very into the details.
And so, you know, we are very picky with my brother. And so we always look at all the details, the big picture, but as well the details. And so we want this to match, you know, all the work that people don’t see. And that’s what I think is we are doing with our marketing is just, it’s just matching what we do on the back.
And then after how, you know, we get people in, it’s more like word of mouth, you know. Members that comes in, they joined the club and they takes their brother or friend and like, “Oh, you got to go to Benom.” And that they come in. And then we have our peers, I mean, our peers, it’s a lot of our traffic to that recommend us, you know, when somebody likes Cabernet Sauvignon or like softer reds.
You know, it’s every, everything is more like by word of mouth, you know. A lot of events we’re going to do a little bit more because we have more wine now, but it’s more like a very organic, you know, thing.
[00:32:04] Drew Thomas Hendricks: In that attention to detail. I can testify to that because having, we’re the ones that built your website and it has got to be one of the more unique on-brand websites, not to toot our own horn, that we’ve done.
And I such a pleasure to do because a lot of times you get a winery that I even have a blog article on, 10 Reasons Why Wineries Seem to Want a Crappy Website.
[00:32:27] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah.
[00:32:28] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It’s just sometimes, it’s just like our wine speaks for itself. Just throw it up there on the site and it’s good enough. But with you, there’s this unified experience where you go through the site and you can tell that time was taken.
It wasn’t just put up a template.
[00:32:43] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, I think what’s the big force of Benom is the fact that you know, Guillaume, my brother, doesn’t really need to think about the whole marketing sales side. I mean, I don’t need to think about the whole production and farming side. And so we are really focusing to our role into that brand.
That’s what creates that big synergy with the two of us. And really focus into our details on every aspect of running the winery. When you talk about those producers that have a crappy site, you know, some, most of the time it’s, it’s the guy that started his brand, is really passionate about making wine, but he doesn’t have the sales and marketing plan yet, develop the brand and as his team grow, he hired the right people to make the site look good.
[00:33:36] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Sure. I want to shift to, shift to a different topic that’s really wanting to get your thoughts on this. So pricing has just gone off the roof with supplies and just everything in the supply chain is going up. And at the end of the road, the only, how do you deal with all raising prices or increasing prices on the supply side when the wine, when really one of your only rudders is to increase the price of your wine, but sometimes you just can’t.
So how are you confronting that? As I didn’t phrase that very well.
[00:34:10] Arnaud Fabre: We always not anticipate, but you always, you know, when you start to want to have a cushion of security, which is what we did for Benom. And so we were able to eat the cost, I would say easily in some ways, but obviously, we have, everybody has to raise prices.
You cannot keep eating, eating, eating. It’s not a good business decision. So we try to be very fair, you know, on that. And we do raise our pricing, but not crazy. And we look, you know, you see the quality of the, our peers, the quality of others. That’s kind of how we built our pricing, but it’s more like, again, you know, pricing is very subjective, you know. And you can, people will say it’s not worth it or people will say, yeah, it’s a great deal.
And so it’s very subjective approach. And so we, you know, we just want to have a product that reflects again, all the work we do behind. And I, I wish I can show all the people that come at the winery, all the stuff that we look, you know, you know, from the vineyard perspective, the winery perspective. You know, the selection that we do in the vineyard, the selection that we do on our blending.
Sometimes we can lose, you know, from picking the grapes to bottling the wine, we can lose 20 25 percent of what we picked. And that we, we sell on the market, you know, so it’s a hard selection of the best of the best. And so, obviously, it takes time and financial to arrive to that point. And so we think, you know, our wines are fairly priced.
[00:36:03] Drew Thomas Hendricks: No, I think they’re very fairly priced too. But when the whole supply-side goes up 30, 40% because suddenly that’s what the suppliers are able, and not just the grape contracts, but everything from glycol to barrels, to bottles, everything that all has to filter down.
[00:36:22] Arnaud Fabre: 100 liters, I think it’s 100 liters barrel of black hole was five, five, six years ago, 200 or 400 a barrel.
And now it’s 2, 000 dollars. We installed the whole black hole system when he was at 2, 000 dollars a barrel and now it’s 400, unfortunately. And so those costs, you just don’t understand how, how can they go so fast, you know, and you, you are not talking about 30 percent over it’s much more. We try to, to play with it as much as we can.
You know, we do, you know, compare pricing from, you know, suppliers to another. We try to, to play with it. You know, sometimes we do less stuff because it’s just too expensive. So I’m glad that today we are not building the winery. Maybe in six years, it would be much more expensive.
[00:37:21] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Let’s, as we’re kind of wrapping down, definitely want to hear about your events because you’ve got some pretty amazing events. And the one of the parts that stands out is some of the food pairings that you’ve got.
[00:37:34] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, so, you know, we really, again, focus on experience, education. Education, it’s a big part of -. We don’t want to educate 100 percent during a tasting or an event because it would be overwhelming. But we always want to have that part of education, and so those events are in the spring, we do a more seminar style where people sit down and have, you know, four wines or six wines, and each of them is paired with food.
And so we work with, most of the time local chefs to create a pairing around each wine. So it’s always changing. Obviously, we have some shed that comes back and some shed that gonna come back later. But we really focus on the pairing and telling a part of preparing education to our members, but again, it’s very subjective.
And so in a fall, we do a much more laid back where we still on the pairing side, but it’s not, it’s more like a fun, but fun events, social events, everybody stand up, we have a music group, and we enjoy just talking to each other. So
[00:38:49] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It really helps that whole hospitality side.
[00:38:52] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, so that’s kind of the pickup educational events, and then we have dinners.
That we do for our members. We do two dinners for Benom, one in the spring, one in the fall. Like this year, the spring, we did a co-dinner with my brother at Clos Solène, who stayed at their winery. And we paired Benom wines and Clos Solène wines for an organized dinner with both membership, customers.
And then in the fall, it’s always our winemaker dinner, where this year we’re going to be at Oak and Vine and pull some library future current releases and have a good time. That’s what matters.
[00:39:40] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. That sounds, that sounds fantastic. So speaking of a good time and drinking wine, when you’re not drinking Benom, Clos Solène, or anything in your French family, what do you like to drink?
[00:39:50] Arnaud Fabre: I drink a lot of French wine.
[00:39:53] Drew Thomas Hendricks: What’s your favorite region?
[00:39:56] Arnaud Fabre: I would say if I have to pick on a red side, I will go to Côte-Rôtie, Northern France.
After on the white side, obviously, White Brunetti, you cannot, you cannot go better than that. White Brunetti are for me the best wine in the world, and as well, if it’s bubbles, it has to be champagne. But no, it’s good, you know, to, to continue to, you know, we have our tasting with a team. We try to do it every week, but it’s not easy every week, but we try to go to Europe, we try to go to New World area to have them discover what is, you know, Grenache in Châteauneuf-du-Pape versus here, and sometimes, you find a lot of similarities.
And so that’s very important for them to know that and taste what is like on those other appellation in order again to educate more and more our customer. Education, it’s a big part, a big part.
[00:41:04] Drew Thomas Hendricks: So as we’re wrapping down, is there anything we haven’t talked about that you want to bring up? Any shout-outs or,
[00:41:12] Arnaud Fabre: No, we talk about friends.
We talk about our brand. I don’t know. Did we forget anything, Bianca? Did you?
[00:41:20] Bianca Harmon: No, you’re a busy guy. The only thing I could. My only question is how you manage it all. Arnaud, you’ve got Benom, you’ve got Procure, you’ve got your friend, you’ve got a lot going on.
[00:41:33] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah, no, Procure is definitely by the, what we just talked about, the continuation of accessing you know, those French wine.
And, you know, I used to work for a wine merchant in Bordeaux and I was like those contacts that I made over there are gold. And so, I started using them by creating procure with a friend, my, I mean, my old boss from law. And the goal was to get access to those wines easily.
And the best way to do so is to, I would say, do it yourself. This way they show up to your door. And so that’s where, you know, I started up. I kind of developing it and yes, it’s a lot of time. But it’s a good completion. It really compliments Benom. And now with the kids, one is two, the other one is five.
It’s definitely, you are, you are busy. And my wife being a full-time at L’Aventure, we are busy, but we like being busy. Trust me, it’s not easy every day. Obviously, it’s for everyone like that. But we have more joy than, than a sadness. So that’s what matters.
[00:42:47] Drew Thomas Hendricks: That makes it easier to keep going.
[00:42:50] Arnaud Fabre: Yeah.
[00:42:51] Bianca Harmon: Good way to finish.
[00:42:53] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. Well, Arnaud, thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:42:56] Arnaud Fabre: Thank you guys. Thank you. That was awesome.
[00:42:59] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Thank you. You have a great day and we will talk to you later.
[00:43:02] Arnaud Fabre: Sounds good. Have a good one.