Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

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Howard Cooper
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Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#1 Post by Howard Cooper » March 16th, 2020, 5:15 am

Thought the German wine lovers on this board would be interested in what is happening without Wiest and Theise.



https://thegwc.com/

I would love to know more if anyone knows more about all this.
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John Morris
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#2 Post by John Morris » March 16th, 2020, 6:28 am

Wow! There was the thread on Skurnik's break with Terry Theise, but I hadn't seen anything about Cellars International, Rudi Wiest's company, going bankrupt. Together, those events really do turn the German wine importing business upside down. (It might be a good idea to combine these threads.)

Wiest had a reputation as a difficult guy, and at least in the NY area, he kept changing distributors. One retailer who was trying to get some Wiest wines for me around 2006 couldn't manage to get them. Because of such problems, his producers didn't get the shelf space they deserved here.

Valckenberg still has a good, though smaller portfolio (JJ Prum, Max. Grunhaus, Schloss Saarstein, Robert Weil, Huber), but I don't see their producers around her much, either.

Does anyone know how German sales are these days? My impression is that they aren't what they were through the 2000s.
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#3 Post by Howard Cooper » March 16th, 2020, 6:44 am

I don't know how German wine sales are in the US these days. Back in the 1980s, 1990s, etc., Theise and Wiest were more aggressive in going around tasting the wines in stores. My sense is that this has decreased over the years as they have gotten older. Maybe with a new generation of importers, the German wine market will become more vibrant again.
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D@vid Bu3ker
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#4 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » March 16th, 2020, 6:48 am

John Morris wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 6:28 am
Wow! There was the thread on Skurnik's break with Terry Theise, but I hadn't seen anything about Cellars International, Rudi Wiest's company, going bankrupt. Together, those events really do turn the German wine importing business upside down. (It might be a good idea to combine these threads.)

Wiest had a reputation as a difficult guy, and at least in the NY area, he kept changing distributors. One retailer who was trying to get some Wiest wines for me around 2006 couldn't manage to get them. Because of such problems, his producers didn't get the shelf space they deserved here.

Valckenberg still has a good, though smaller portfolio (JJ Prum, Max. Grunhaus, Schloss Saarstein, Robert Weil, Huber), but I don't see their producers around her much, either.

Does anyone know how German sales are these days? My impression is that they aren't what they were through the 2000s.
Valckenberg has done a terrible job of distributing their portfolio for years.
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Robert Dentice
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#5 Post by Robert Dentice » March 16th, 2020, 6:52 am

John -

The demise of Rudi Wiest and the situation at Skurnik in my opinion have very little to do with the state of the market for German wine. Not sure why but as you pointed out the distribution at Rudi Wiest was a disaster for years. I would also point out Fass Selections, Vom Boden and possibly Schatzi are doing very well.

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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#6 Post by John Morris » March 16th, 2020, 7:18 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 6:48 am
Valckenberg has done a terrible job of distributing their portfolio for years.
Apart from Prum, and to a lesser extent Max. Grunhaus, I don't see those other producers on that many shelves.
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#7 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » March 16th, 2020, 7:30 am

John Morris wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 7:18 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 6:48 am
Valckenberg has done a terrible job of distributing their portfolio for years.
Apart from Prum, and to a lesser extent Max. Grunhaus, I don't see those other producers on that many shelves.
Prüm has multiple distributors, so Valckenberg can only screw them up so much.
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#8 Post by Thomas Keim » March 16th, 2020, 7:56 am

Frankly, I thought both Rudi Wiest and Terry Thiese did a good job gaining wide distribution in the states over the last 20 years -

Rudi retired, and was not happy at all on how his son was running the show - and rumors were he had fired his entire crew last year - gonna be very interesting to follow - I've always been a big fan of Rudi's negociant wines, and pour them by the glass regularly - gonna be hard to replace.
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#9 Post by Nathan Smyth » March 16th, 2020, 10:58 am

Around here, the German/Austrian market has been in the tank since forever.

Fortunately we had an yuge German/Austrian market circa 2002/2003/2004, so I got the chance to sample a number of epic wines from circa the 2001 & 2002 vintages.

But as things currently stand, I'd be very surprised if I were ever to get another chance like that again.

PS: Does anyone know what became of the old Vin Divino Austrian import company, out of Chicago? Do they still exist? Our market used to get a ton of Alois Kracher from them, but I haven't seen a Kracher in years.

PPS: Same question for DeeVine Wines - do they still exist?

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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#10 Post by John Morris » March 16th, 2020, 11:00 am

Thomas Keim wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 7:56 am
Frankly, I thought both Rudi Wiest and Terry Thiese did a good job gaining wide distribution in the states over the last 20 years -

Rudi retired, and was not happy at all on how his son was running the show - and rumors were he had fired his entire crew last year - gonna be very interesting to follow - I've always been a big fan of Rudi's negociant wines, and pour them by the glass regularly - gonna be hard to replace.
If you read the story that Howard cited (it's hard to click through in his post), it says that Cellars International went into bankruptcy last year, which probably explains the layoffs. The story mentions that the German Wine Co. -- based in Carlsbad, like Rudi's company -- has picked up much of his portfolio. The company lists its producers here.

I notice that Gunderloch, a Rudi import, isn't on there. Had they stayed with Rudi till the end?
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Re: Shake up in German wine distribution in this country

#11 Post by Robert Dentice » March 16th, 2020, 11:51 am

John Morris wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 11:00 am
Thomas Keim wrote:
March 16th, 2020, 7:56 am
Frankly, I thought both Rudi Wiest and Terry Thiese did a good job gaining wide distribution in the states over the last 20 years -

Rudi retired, and was not happy at all on how his son was running the show - and rumors were he had fired his entire crew last year - gonna be very interesting to follow - I've always been a big fan of Rudi's negociant wines, and pour them by the glass regularly - gonna be hard to replace.
If you read the story that Howard cited (it's hard to click through in his post), it says that Cellars International went into bankruptcy last year, which probably explains the layoffs. The story mentions that the German Wine Co. -- based in Carlsbad, like Rudi's company -- has picked up much of his portfolio. The company lists its producers here.

I notice that Gunderloch, a Rudi import, isn't on there. Had they stayed with Rudi till the end?
German Wine Co was started by a former employee of Cellars International. Gunderloch has been with Bowler for a bit.

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