Curious Cork Imports Expands National Presence
With accelerated growth in 2014 – 2015, Curious Cork Imports, a Denver and Napa-based wine importer with a focus on premium European wines, is strengthening its sales management team to include six managers and to offer national support to its distributor partners, signaling an overall growth of imports in the U.S. market. Since January of 2014, Curious Cork Imports has grown distribution from its home base in Colorado, to fifteen states in the U.S., with anticipated growth to twenty markets by the end of 2015. “We’re sailing in the center of the storm, seeing imported wine growing to an eventual 50% market share in America,” says CEO Peter Baedeker. “Our growth since last year is evidence of the strong U.S. demand for quality European imports that are supported by authentic marketing to smart consumers. The additions in our sales management team will assure that we support sales growth through strong distributor and account service.”
Curious Cork has recently launched a number of new consumer favorites, such as the Tuscan Sun line of wines—a partnership with internationally best-selling author and “ambassador” of Italian culture Frances Mayes. A premium French sparkling wine Faire la Fête ("to create a party"), and the Siciliana line from Sicily also have captured immediate attention. In addition to these launches, Curious Cork Imports has also developed national agency contracts with a number of premium European wineries. Carlin de Paolo winery in Piedmont, Italy, Paolo e Noemia d’Amico winery in Lazio, Baracchi winery in Cortona, Fattoria della Talosa in Montepulciano, and Bodegas Care in Aragon, Spain have all formed national contracts with Curious Cork Imports for the exclusive importation and representation of their brands in the U.S. Says Baedeker, “Our supplier partners all offer unique products, but they’re bound by one common thread: each is a family winery producing outstanding wines that deliver amazing value for their categories. It is our job to execute on the distribution and sales and marketing plans that will help them develop a strong and sustainable brand presence in the U.S."
To support these new markets and national contracts, Curious Cork has also expanded its sales management team with key leaders from within and beyond the industry. Danny Keefe, who founded the import company through a relationship with Baracchi winery in Cortona, Italy was elevated last year to President of Sales and will oversee the company’s growing sales team and distributor network. “Danny is a top level sales professional and has significant distribution experience from other industries which we believe gives him the insight, yet fresh perspective, to lead the sales organization,” says Baedeker.
Wayland Boyd, who was recruited last year from Southern Wine & Spirits of California and leads sales for the Western U.S., recently recruited Lea LeMessurier to head up the management of Northern California sales. Mrs. LeMessurier brings six years of industry experience to the position, most recently as the Moet Hennessy Portfolio Manager for Southern Wine & Spirits Pacific division.
Mr. Boyd also enlisted Marcela Pinzon, a ten-year industry veteran who was the former Import Specialist for Young’s Market Company and Director of Hotels & Resorts for Southern Wine & Spirits to manage the Southern California region for the company. Says Mr. Boyd, “California is 20% of the U.S. wine market and will be a significant focus for our total sales growth, so we look at the market as several states combined into one and offer the account support accordingly.”
In the Central U.S., Todd Joersz was recruited from Curious Cork’s Colorado distributor—Il Castagno—to take over the management of the company’s home state and help lead the expansion in the center of the country. Joersz has 3+ years of industry experience and was the leading sales rep at Il Castagno.
Former Colorado market manager and New York native Daniel Clas was promoted to Regional Manager, Eastern Region, and has relocated to Manhattan to be in the midst of one of the country’s most vibrant import wine markets. Working to support existing distributors and launch new markets up and down the east coast, Daniel also works directly with Tony Didio Selections in New York, whom Curious Cork recently retained to lead the marketing effort in developing the Baracchi and d’Amico brands within New York City. “Our growth has been rapid,” says Keefe, “but now we have the team of A-players and resources to support and continue that trajectory.”
About Curious Cork
Curious Cork Imports is a brand builder and importer of unique, premium, and authentic wines from Europe. We are a committed, flexible, and dependable business partner, strengthening retailer, distributor, and supplier profitability through tailored marketing support. Working from a position of relevance in the market place, Curious Cork brings brands with authentic stories, a sense of place, and real value to satisfy the wine curiosity of today’s consumer. Learn more at www.curiouscork.com. Curious Cork Imports is a portfolio holding of Impact Opportunities Fund.