Si dice che in Texas “tutto è più grande.”
They say that everything is bigger in Texas.
It’s probably not always true. But when it comes to wine sales in the U.S., Texas has Spec’s, the behemoth wine retailer, importer, and distributor of fine wines and gourmet foods throughout the state.
With nearly 200 stores, Spec’s is by far the state’s biggest retailer and one of the biggest in the country.
But perhaps more significantly, Spec’s locations aren’t just limited to major markets and the state’s big cities. In fact, you’ll find Spec’s stores scattered throughout the state, even in “small-town” Texas where Spec’s is often the only resource for fine wines and foods.
The other thing that makes Spec’s stand out from the rest is the sheer breadth of its selections. The Italian selection alone is comprised of literally hundreds of wines. That’s thanks in part to the fact that the Spec’s store “model” is designed to give clients a wide-reaching offering of wines.
But it’s also thanks to Joseph Kemble (above), Italian wine buyer for Spec’s, who has been working in Italian wine for more than 20 years and who has traveled to Italy to attend the Italian wine trade fairs and to visit Italian wine country more than 50 times.
He’s one of the most powerful Italian wine buyers in the country. And he’s also one of the most passionate and nerdiest.
Whenever you’re around Joseph, his knowledge of Italian wines and his passion are simply contagious, whether it’s an obscure Italian grape variety that he’s excited about or a vintage of Brunello that he just can’t live without.
We are thrilled that he will be joining in March 2017 for the Taste of Italy event, where he will be appearing on two panels and will also be joining our group for both trade and consumer tastings.
“We’re working on making Taste of Italy into a Texas ‘Vinitaly,'” said Joseph yesterday when we met with him on the floor of the Spec’s flagship store and corporate offices near downtown Houston yesterday. He was referring to the annual trade fair in Verona, which he has been attending literally for decades.
We couldn’t be more pleased that he will be joining our team this year.