March 2021 Menu Makers™

Menu Makers – Jay Buchsbaum – Royal Wine Corp./Kedem Wines

Though another Passover season is almost over, Jay Buchsbaum, VP of marketing and director of wine education for the Royal Wine Corp./Kedem, is still hard at work planning his next portfolio with his talented vintners and reaching out to consumers, retailers, and restaurateurs to prepare and promote the world’s largest collection of kosher wines. Their 400-wine portfolio includes Bartenura Moscato (the largest-selling imported Italian Moscato in the US), Herzog and Barkan wines, as well as the more “boutique” Castel Flam, Yatir, and Shiloh brands. Whether it is at Kedem Winery in upstate New York, Herzog Wines’ state-of-the-art production facility and tasting room in Oxnard, CA, or at their partner vineyards in Argentina, France, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain, Buchsbaum has his pulse on the international wine market and does all he can to support and satisfy it and to make sure that Royal remains the leader in the kosher wine space and reaches ever-more deeply into the world wine market.

While kosher wines have continued to grow in terms of complexity and also market share, Buchsbaum is confident that there are still many more meals to pair with and many more customers to reach.

Santé: What makes your product different?

Our Herzog family history and experience in wine goes back to 1848.  This wine lore and…experience is brought to bear in every wine we purvey. Whether [it is] made at our own award-winning Herzog winery in California from our own vineyards, or is curated from the likes of the famed Rothschild family of wines from France or a tiny boutique from Tuscany, our…eight generations of wine experience is employed. Few if any wine companies have this rich of a background.

Santé: What are you hoping to bring to market?

Wines that represent the best of their category, especially in quality-price ratio (QPR). That doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. It could be a $200 dollar bottle, but it’s got to be worth the price!

Santé: When did you start working on your first product and what had you been doing previously?

I have been with Kedem for 30 years, and before that with a non-kosher California boutique portfolio of wines.

Santé: To whom did you look for business advice?

For wine experience and knowledge, there’s no better people than the rich diversity of [our] winemakers [such as] Joe Hurliman at Herzog, Amichai Luria at Shiloh in Israel or Shicki Ruachenberg…from Teperberg Israeli winery, Daniel Desetta from Tuscany, and so many others.

For marketing, I had a mentor when I first joined this business named Harry Marris…an ex-Gallo guy that really knew his stuff! But listening to your restaurateurs – especially the people on the floor – is so very important to glean the pulse of what people want.

Santé: How have you integrated your product into the food and restaurant space?  What benefits can other manufacturers and chefs get from your product?

[As we have] the largest portfolio of wines from Israel and [as] the trend of Mediterranean food [is] so strong, we are a ‘go-to ‘ company for nearly any restaurant looking to match any…dish with excellent quality wine.

Santé: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced and how have you faced them?

Getting established restaurants to experiment with new varieties and new wine growing regions. 

Santé: What do you most look forward to in the coming year in terms of your business?

Getting more business now that COVID is coming to an end. 

Jay Buchsbaum
Royal Wine Corp. / Kedem Wines
www.Kedem.com

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