Gonzalo works out of our Santiago, Chile office and oversees sales of several South American crops to our many global customers. A significant focus for Gonzalo is managing the sales of our own Peruvian grapes to the Asian market(s). This role requires lots of travel between Chile and Peru, and working day and night during the harvest time. Sleep? Who has time for sleep?
Let’s get to know Gonzalo a little more!
VG: Has Chile always been home, or did you re-locate for work?
Gonzalo: I was born, raised, and studied in Chile. Once I finished university in 2004, I went to live for 10 years in California working first year in quality control inspections and then moving to sales, living in Visalia and Los Angeles in California.
VG: Have you always been destined for produce? Where did your career start?
Gonzalo: Since my grandfather was a Pisco producer in the 1940’s in Valle del Elqui, I knew my destination was to be in the grape business. Lots of years have gone by and I realized that I was right! Grapes were my destiny from the start, my career with grapes started 2002 in a small field located in the central valley of Chile working with Thompson Seedless vineyards. Since then I have gone through many jobs, fields, packing operations, quality control operations and sales, so I can now proudly be a Sales Associate at Vanguard International.
VG: How long have you been with Vanguard?
Gonzalo: 5 years since September 2014
VG: Has it been an interesting experience being a part of an emerging and fast growing business for Vanguard?
Gonzalo: YES, it has been a tremendous experience and I am very proud of how the company that we are all part of has been growing day by day and year by year. It is very rewarding to be able to contribute to that growth in such a hands-on role.
VG: What has been most memorable?
Gonzalo: Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong has been amazing, allowing me to go on trips with clients, especially getting to go to Indonesia and meeting outstanding people. All so that I can better serve our important third-party strategic suppliers, and our customers.
VG: Do you have any tips for managing communication to many countries at once, or rather, how to operate in international markets?
Gonzalo: Communicate daily, listen carefully, and not just on a business level but as a person. And practice the most important thing: respect.
VG: What does your free time look like?
Gonzalo: I dedicate my spare time to my family. My girls play soccer a couple of days a week, we hold BBQ’s with friends, and once in a while go hiking.
VG: Do you eat grapes as often as you talk about them?
Gonzalo: No, I’ll tell you a story I maybe shouldn’t (ha!). In my first job related to grapes in 2002 I ate so many grapes that I got very sick. Ever since then, I had trouble eating them, even though I loved them. However, I believe this made me a better salesperson. I had a very good objective side to seeing them as a wonderful very tasty, beautiful fruit. Now I am back to loving them!
VG: What do you think makes an outstanding grape? And what is your favorite way to eat them?
Gonzalo: Flavor,sweetness, crunchiness, thin skinned, and very cold. I eat them very cold and when I’m thirsty (preferably at our PPG cold storage in Ica).
Every day is different at Vanguard; with new growers joining our community, new crops and fresh varieties being introduced, and new markets opening. Keep up to date with what’s happening in our expanding world.