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Wilson Daniels Sees On-Premise Resurgence Drive Double-Digit Growth

December 13, 2022

Wilson Daniels continues to raise its profile in the fine wine market nationally, with its portfolio of wine brands expected to reach revenues of $130 million this year, and its five-state wholesale business totaling about $100 million. The company has recently augmented its national portfolio with brands including Bergström from Oregon, Gaja from Italy, and Faiveley from Burgundy, and has logged double-digit growth this year, fueled in part by the return of the on-premise. SND executive editor Daniel Marsteller recently spoke with Wilson Daniels president Rocco Lombardo for an update.

SND: What are you seeing in the fine wine market as we approach the end of the year?

Lombardo: The resurgence on-premise has been reinvigorating for our organization. If we look back to pre-pandemic 2019, approximately 57% of our business was on-premise, and this year we’re closing in on 60% of our business being on-premise. We’re selling 5,000 more accounts on-premise today than we did in 2019, so we’re seeing the American consumer thirsty for that restaurant experience. Overall we’re up 18% through November. The trends remain dynamic in both luxury wine and the sparkling category, two areas we’re heavily invested in.

SND: While Western European wines have been the key focus in terms of portfolio expansion, Wilson Daniels recently made a move in Oregon wine as well. Can we expect to see more domestic additions looking ahead?

Lombardo: This year we launched nationally with the Bergström family of Willamette Valley, Oregon. In 2023, we will have two new projects domestically. One is called Composition, also from the Willamette Valley. It’s a project owned by Bertrand de Villaine, one of the co-directors of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. There will be another project called Jonive, based in the Russian River Valley and owned by Wilson Daniels’ owners the Underwood family. They’ve recently acquired 16 acres near Sebastopol Hills, and we will launch a new brand called Jonive from these vineyards.

SND: What’s new on the wholesale side?

Lombardo: We commenced new wholesale operations in the state of Washington this year. So now we have a bi-state alignment in the Pacific Northwest with the Galaxy Wine Company, which is owned by Wilson Daniels Wholesale, and the operations are in Oregon and Washington. Our other wholesale states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are stable. We have more capacity in our wholesale business for brand onboarding than we do in our national business. In our national business we’re very comfortable with representing approximately 40 families, nearly 50 brands in total. We’re at a point where we can represent everyone fairly, and then overachieve in terms of expectations with regards to our wholesale operations, where there’s a lot more opportunity for brand onboarding. We’ll have more with Rocco Lombardo in the second part of this interview.

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