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Awareness of regional products has to be strengthened

Julia Gappmaier studied International Wine Business at IMC Krems – because business administration on its own was too “dry” for her and she’s always had a passion for wine. Originally from Salzburg, Julia has moved for love to Lower Austria, where she now markets regional food at JA ZU NAH, a startup of the Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Austria (Landwirtschaftskammer NÖ).

Julia Gappmaier auf dem Feld

Julia Gappmaier works at JA ZU NAH, a startup of the Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Austria, where she wants to raise awareness for regional products.

The beginning of my studies at IMC Krems was already particularly memorable. One of my study colleagues had some bottles of wine and glasses in his car. The resulting afterwork-event was very spontaneous but an amazing start!

Thinking outside the box

Community plays a huge role during the studies and networking as well as open-mindedness to foreign cultures is coming naturally as you’re surrounded by many international students in this English-taught degree programme. Moreover, classes such as E-Commerce or Marketing broadened my horizon. The most valuable learning opportunity was by far thinking multi-dimensional and outside the box. In a nutshell, I’d describe International Wine Business with the following three words: multicultural, oenologie, fun.

After graduating from IMC Krems, I started working at the winery of Franz Hirtzberger in Spitz. While working there, I gained several valuable insights:

•    High quality products and craftmanship can be paid fairly
•    Connections are the be-all and end-all
•    Austrian wine has a very good reputation
•    Teamwork is important, even though the coordination effort rises
•    When it comes to marketing, other agricultural branches can learn a lot from winemakers

Raising awareness for regional food

JA ZU NAH is like a digital marketplace founded by the Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Austria, where regional produce is marketed directly from farmers to canteen kitchens. Our mission is to bring more regional products into Austrian canteens and raise awareness for food.

I always ask myself why some people have no problem buying pricey smartphones but don’t think it’s worth buying a knob of butter which costs three euros (keep in mind that butter needs five liters of milk to be produced). As far as the product presentation is concerned, the food industry still has a lot to learn from the wine industry. The Austrian path must be dedicated to quality, otherwise we will have a very difficult time in international comparison.

Food and drink unite people

During my studies I’ve obtained several skills which come in very handy in my current job. Holding presentations is not the most popular task amongst students but practice makes perfect! When it comes to marketing, I really benefit from courses such as Marketing and Brand Management. The acquired knowledge in Agriculture and Farming is also very beneficial to my work. In my opinion, the most valuable learning is that food and drink unite people.

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