Jean-François Christini or the passion for wine
On August 28, 2009, Jean François Christini was decorated with the medal of the Order of Agricultural Merit, in recognition of the efforts he made over a number of years to promote French wine on the American market and, in particular, those of small and, despite the excellent quality of their products, lesser known growers.
A native of Nice, Mr. Christini quickly became passionate about culinary professions, pursuing specialized studies in hotel management and food service. After spending several years in France to put his technical knowledge into practice, he came to the United States to work in Ohio, where he finished by opening his own restaurant, Christini’s, in 1990. In 1994, he relocated to Florida, as director of the restaurant Black Angus Stockyard.
Throughout this first career as a restaurateur, he paid special attention to the wine lists of the restaurants in which he worked. This is why he finally decided to devote himself entirely to the profession and in 1995 joined the office of buyers ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Florida, where he focused on developing the portfolio of the retailer’s French wines.
From the beginning, he endeavored to attract the wine of small growers so that they may see the potential for development. The logical conclusion to this evolution found its concretization in the creation of his own import and distribution company in Florida in 1999. Thanks to the excellent relationship he maintained with ABC, Mr. Christini is today the group’s sole supplier for small French vineyards.
Given the growing success of his first efforts, he opened an import company in Georgia, which covers a majority of the Southeastern states, where he now has a solid network of distributors.
With a portfolio today of approximately fifty French growers and more than 300 references, Mr. Christini imports around twenty containers of French wine each year. The ties he has woven with his growers, some of whom have been with him since his beginnings in 1999, are strong and full of trust. Each year Mr. Christini hosts a weeklong tour of the American Southeast for several French growers.
Always eager to discover new products, Mr. Christini visits France two to three times a year, to visit his growers but also to discover new ones. During the course of the last few years, he has also participated in three buyer voyages organized by the French Trade Commission, returning each time with new references to launch on the market.
Mr. Christini is also a much appreciated contact of the French Trade Commission, never hesitating to share his experience and knowledge of the local market and French suppliers with exporters newly presenting their products on the market.
The success of Jean-François Christini, to which his wife Linda is closely linked, is also that of the small French growers who, thanks to him, have found a place for themselves on the market alongside the largest French vineyards.