Fresh off of its success in landing a spot on Forbes Magazine’s America’s Most Promising Companies list for 2015, Votto Vines Importing is looking ahead to surpass the $10 million milestone this year.
Founded in 2009 out of a Subaru in the company’s home state of Connecticut, Votto Vines has seen steady growth over the past couple of years, generating $6 million last year with barely half a dozen employees. “We are going to really push the innovation side of the business and for us that really means looking at creating new brands and new opportunities,” says CEO Michael Votto, an attorney and investor who heads the family-led business.
That innovation will come in the form of 187 ml. plastic container wines (that’s 6 and 1/3 ounces) with a unique wide top that allows consumers to drink their wine from the receptacle in which it was purchased. Votto Vines created the brand, VINaaGO, to market the product, which comes as a chardonnay, cabernet, moscato and rosé. Though probably shocking to wine connoisseurs more used to cork and glass, the design could be a boon to individual sale. “We’ve been looking at the category for well over a year,” Votto says.
Up until now the company has focused moving mostly Italian and Spanish small-production estate wines to wine enthusiasts on the east coast of the U.S. “What 2015 is all about is taking what we’ve learned and the relationships we’ve built and continuing to do what we’re doing but also this mini-pivot to develop some of our own concepts.”
This year is also about hiring an executive manager for the east coast. This will be the first major hire for what has until this point been a largely family-oriented business. “It’s essentially an east coast chain manager to work with a number of our distributors,” Votto explained.
As always, Votto Vines will continue to add new wine sourcing partners to its roster, likely from France, Portugal and emerging markets. “We get hundreds of inbound inquiries a month from export managers, from wine brokers and from wineries…” says Votto. “We also conduct a lot of our own research.” Products the company imports tends to go to the New York tri-state area (New Jersey is the company’s biggest market) but Votto Vines is working to cover the eastern seaboard, largely with alcoholic beverage distributor Republic National Distributing Company, and this year will also see the Votto family expanding its reach along the coast.
Original press release by Karsten Strauss, Forbes magazine