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Wine.com and WineShopper.com Announce Merger


Date: 08/15/00

Wine.Com And Wineshopper.Com Announce Plans For Merger

NAPA and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., August 15, 2000 The leading companies in wine e-commerce, wine.com and WineShopper.com, today announced plans to merge operations.   The new company will ultimately operate under the name wine.com and the url www.wine.com.

The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.  

"We intend to leverage our combined resources, management expertise, and established industry relationships to provide the best customer experience in the online wine space," said Bill Newlands, president and CEO of wine.com, who will serve as CEO of the new company.   "We look forward to continuing our business relationships with existing partners and developing new opportunities in the $100 billion worldwide wine market."

"Each company's strengths dovetail beautifully with one another. The new company will combine the best of both into a single category leader that can focus its resources on growing the wine market," said Peter Sisson, founder and CEO of WineShopper.com, who will serve as vice chairman and chief strategy officer of the new company.  

Both Newlands and Sisson will serve on the new company's Board of Directors. Hank Lambert, president and COO of WineShopper.com, will serve as president and COO of the new company, while wine.com Founder Peter Granoff will continue as chief wine merchant.  

For the remainder of this year, the company will focus its efforts on growing traffic and sales through the existing wine.com Web site. The WineShopper.com platform will be used to develop a re-designed Web site that incorporates the best features and functionality of both sites. It is slated to launch some time next year.

With a roster of strategic partnerships that includes Amazon.com, TheWallStreetJournal.com, Wine Spectator, The New York Times on the Web, WineToday.com, Food & Wine, Saveur, Wine & Spirits, and Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, the combined company intends to become the ultimate destination for wine advice, ratings, and reviews. Other strategic alliances including TheWeddingChannel.com and OpenTable.com will also remain intact.

"This combination strengthens our investment in the online wine space and furthers our commitment to deliver an unprecedented customer experience to wine lovers around the world," said Erich Ringewald, vice president of marketplace at Amazon.com and Board member of WineShopper.com.

The new entity will continue to partner with wine producers, wholesalers, and retailers to fulfill wine orders in compliance with the laws that govern the three-tier distribution system.  

"These two companies have both invested considerable time and energy towards improving market access for small producers," said Patrick Campbell, owner of the Laurel Glen Vineyard. "The combined entity will make these efforts even more productive for all of us who devote our energies to making great wine."

"The WSWA remains committed to a legal solution to Internet sales and we are very pleased this new venture is similarly committed,"   said Juanita Duggan, CEO and executive vice president Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, the sector's leading trade organization.

Wine.com is backed by TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners, New Millennium Partners, GE Capital, MediaOne Ventures, Inroads Partners, Alpine Technology Ventures and Applied Technology.   WineShopper.com is backed by Amazon.com, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and other strategic investors

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