Alexander José Agbayani Mascardo is a Brand Manager at Rogers & Company Château, Villa & Estate Wines.
As the main contact for 18 wineries (spanning the US, New Zealand, Italy, Germany and France) he is in charge of winery communication, market visits for producers, product retail pricing, logistics, retail wine tenders and sales performance for LCBO Vintages. Because he works in a small company, he also has the opportunity to wear other hats beyond the traditional scope of his job title. This includes helping with website updates, retail store visits and staff tastings and managing staffing for the annual portfolio show.
His career path since graduation has been a one of self-discovery, ultimately leading to discover a passion for the wine trade. After graduating, he began working with Sherwin Williams for 2 years in their management training program and worked from Trainee to Assistant Manager and finally to Store Manager. From there he moved into the world of wine, working as a Retail Store Wine sales rep for Azureau Wines as well as a Sales Representative at the Wine Shop before being brought onboard as a Brand Associate at Rogers & Company Château, Villa & Estate Wines. In that role, he was in charge of inventory data entry, sales reports for the retail side of the business as well as a support role to the brand managers
After completing an Arts & Science degree and then teaching English in Japan for a year, he felt that he was missing the business acumen that would help him succeed in the working world. As a result he decided to go back to school.
"To be honest, Retail Management wasn’t initially my first choice because I didn’t really have a clue what a degree in retail was all about but it was the best thing that happened to me! "
The Retail Management program helped him understand all the different areas that make up a business, helped fine-tune critical math skills and provided the tools to understand how to work with different stakeholders in order to reach a goal along with how to communicate clearly and effectively by understanding his audience.
Alexander notes that the best thing he learned from his time at Ryerson was the importance of maintaining a good working rapport with all of his peers, even if he did not see eye-to-eye with some of them all the time.
"I think a lot of programs do not equip their students with this very important and practical social skill because they focus on the knowledge but not the ‘application’ part. The Retail Management program did both and equipped me with skills and knowledge that help me to understand that it is through working well with others that you can be successful in anything you do."
Some advice he offers to current students is to keep learning and keep building your network, especially after graduation. Specialized education is important in the Wine Trade because it is the gatekeeper to really moving up in the industry. Although he just finished the coveted Diploma in Wine & Spirits by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust , he is currently finishing up a French Wine Scholar Program, a masters course in Bordeaux wines and is probably going to complete the Wine Scholar Guild’s Spanish Wine Scholar course in the fall. Not only does continuing education provide him with more specialized knowledge about his products and sector (i.e. wine), it also connects him to like-minded individuals in the industry and beyond. He has made great friends through these classes and expanded his professional network as a result. It is also how he finds out about the many wine industry tastings that happen throughout the year.
A favourite quote...
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” - Henry Ford
A fun fact...
Did you know that there are over 10,000 varieties of grapes that can make wine - of which 1,368 produce commercial quantities of wine today?