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Exclusive: Quintessential Wines Aims For 2 Million Cases In 2021, Brings NY/NJ Distribution In-House

January 6, 2021

Napa-based Quintessential Wines is primed for a big year in 2021. Following the recent acquisition of retail-focused brands like Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, XYZin, and Outlot from Accolade Wines, company volume hit 1.2 million cases last year, and Quintessential tells SND it has the 2-million-case mark in its sights for 2021.

To start the year, Quintessential is bringing its distribution in-house in the key markets of New York and New Jersey, seeing an opportunity for enhanced growth in the Northeast region. The move is effective immediately in both states.

The change to self-distribution in New York and New Jersey will allow the company to take a hands-on approach and further develop relationships with the restaurants and retailers who ultimately present its wines to the consumer, noted Quintessential co-owner Dennis Kreps. “We enjoy the most success when our reps and our suppliers have personal contact,” he said. “We’re at our best when our sales people can be in front of the retailers and restaurateurs and tell our brands’ stories and the stories of the families behind the wines.”

Quintessential has hired Bill O’Neill, formerly of Opici, as its general manager for New York and New Jersey. Scott Gerber, who joined Quintessential in 2019 as vice president of business development, is taking charge of account building and training for the company’s new sales force. The distribution team for New York will be around 15 people and New Jersey will get five or six. “One of the biggest challenges, typically, is finding good quality salespeople,” said Kreps. “There’s a lot of talent from the hospitality industry who are looking for jobs. We’ve been able to get really good quality people.”

While 2020 presented unprecedented challenges for Quintessential, Kreps credited its team with rising to the occasion. The company’s portfolio has traditionally skewed towards the on-premise, which was operating either under substantial restrictions or not at all throughout the year. “We’ve always prided ourselves in being a really strong on-premise company,” said Kreps. “That business did not do well, but adding these brands to our portfolio helped make up some of the difference.” Kreps added that Quintessential responded to the pandemic’s challenges by investing and expanding its team instead of shrinking the business.

Beyond the new acquisitions, Kreps said the company’s Tropical Moscato line of flavored wines continues to thrive in the off-premise and that the recent Beaujolais Nouveau release from Georges Duboeuf is doing extremely well. “We were getting reports back from retail accounts that were sold out within 10 days of it hitting the floor,” he said. “I think it comes back to the right people at the consumer level recognizing the brand as something they’re comfortable with.”—Shane English

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