Ekaterina Strelyanaya
export manager italian wines

EKATERINA STRELYANAYA

Born in 1987, Ulyanovsk
(Federazione Russa)

In 2002 I moved from Russia to Verona with my mum, who fell in love with Italy at first sight, and, by the way, is also a wine export manager. I went to a high school specialized in languages and went on to graduate in "International Politics and Diplomacy" at the University of Padua in 2013.

Once I finished my degree, my first job search led me to a course organized by the Consortium of Soave to become a Wine Marketing Manager. Afterwards, I was lucky to have been chosen for a 4 month internship at the Consortium.

After a few weeks, the director told me a life-changing, albeit popular quote: "No one is indispensable, everyone is replaceable". At the time, I wasn't sure about my career, but I had a very clear idea of what I would not be: I would not be replaceable, nor would I be just one of a lot of faceless, nameless interns/employees, I would not settle for a job that I don't love just for the money or the paid vacations. I wanted, and still want to be indispensable and I want to love my job.
After 1 year and a half at the Consortium I started to work at "I Stefanini" in 2015. Here I was not only a part of the winery (just an employee), I was a part of the Tessari's family! I have donned several hats including export manager (I Stefanini currently exports to 16 states), administration, tastings in winery and exhibitions in Italy and abroad, relations with Siquria quality control and the Custom Agency, organizing bottling etc. I harvested for 4 vintages and always had an amazing time. I think that you can truly understand the product you sell or explain it if you contribute with your hands to create that product.
WORKING FOR A SMALL/MEDIUM WINERY GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN A BUSINESS LITERALLY FROM THE GROUND UP
EVERYTHING YOU DO IN YOUR LIFE YOU DO FOR YOURSELF, NON FOR SOMEONE ELSE, DON'T SAY "NO THANK YOU, IT'S NOT MY JOB"
In January 2018, I even got my licence to operate a forklift truck, and during the harvest 2018 I helped decant the tanks, by changing pipes.

A lot of things I did in the winery weren't a part of my job and I could have said "no, thank you".

Working for a small / medium-small winery gives you a unique opportunity to learn a business literally from the ground up. You just need to be humble enough to listen and learn. Remember: everything you do in your life you do for yourself, not for someone else, don't say "no thank you, it's not my job".

Meanwhile, I am continuing my formal wine education. I passed the WSET's First and Second levels (and I am currently preparing the Third). I've participated in a number of courses for export managers held by Wine Meridian.

In February 2020 I decided to open my own agency to help other wineries that can't yet afford a seasoned export manager and to consult for others that need ad hoc help with documents, exhibitions and new markets.
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