Whew! What a difference a year can make.
While 2020 was certainly challenging, it seemed as if life slowed down for a moment as well – and that there was a reprieve from the normal high energy pace that we generally move to at Kindred Vines Import Company and Woodberry Wine. Well, life got real busy, real fast in 2021 and it was both satisfyingly fun and another great learning year.
Of course, we all dealt with the greatest issue facing the import business in 2021 – logistics. Fortunately in 2020 we invested in some additional logistics resources that really made a difference for us this past year. We were able to consistently shave off days and sometimes weeks from our committed shipping dates, and kept the flow of wine coming into our and our distributor’s warehouses. We always remind ourselves that we are not being singled out by all of these global issues. Our job is to manage through them as best we are able to and work to achieve a competitve advantage in the marketplace by doing a superior job.
We openned three new states for distribution in 2021, Massachusettes, Arizona, and Iowa. We openned Iowa by acquisition, and we are enjoying learning about this great market and deploying all of the knowledge and resources that we have gathered in growing our distribution company in Michigan in order to make Global Wines Iowa a strong distribution player in the Iowa marketplace. Arizona and Massachusettes are great markets, and we look forward to continue to grow our brands not only there but with all of our partners throughout the United States.
Besides acquiring our Iowa distributor, we also acquired a small Italian Importer, Uva Mare, and integrated its 14 brands into the Kindred Vines Portfolio. There are some great brands that complemented our already strong italian portfolio, and with out strong import and distribution reach we are looking forward to growing them and building strong relationships with those producers.
The most important decision we made this year however, was to move our Kindred Vines warehouse to the east coast. This move will make us easier to do business with – always an important objective for us, by providing greater shipping options for our distribution partners throught the United States. Agreements have been signed, and orders being submitted for delivery in Q1 2022 will be sent to our new warehouse partner in Connecticut.
A strategic by-product of this move is the continued forced decisions on what products we can supply and grow throughout the USA, and to eliminate or make “special order only” on brands and sku’s that are specialty items.
Besides the brands that we acquired by acquisition, we also began imorting several new brands from producers in France, Portugal and Italy – Mastrojanni, Quinta do Paral, Fattoria Pagano, Casa de Santa Barbera, Caves Durand, and Maison Darragon. Additionally we began importing our first spirit – P-31, a beautiful apertivo from Padova, Italy made with 31 natural botanicals and herbs that has become an instant success.
Through our marketing efforts, we continue to submit wines for scores to Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, and other influencers that help support the public’s confidence in these producers. We are building relationships with top retailers throughout the country, and are securing placements for retail friendly brands in their stores.
While we were not able to see many of our producer partners this year due to travel restrictions, we hope to change that this year and we will plan on attending some of the strategically important wine fairs to the extent that they are open to us for travel. Thank you to all of our suppliers, partners and stakeholders that allow Kindred Vines Import Company to Connect the World Through Wine. We are proud to represent you in the United States.
Please reach out at any time if I can help in any way. I hope to see you all in 2022!
CEO & Managing Partner
Kindred Vines Import Company