Mike Northup, The WINEMAN
While I was living in Albany, NY, I met Mortie Schwartz who started my education in, and passion for, wine. I was fortunate to be introduced to wine through the 1971 German wine vintage, still considered a legendary group of wines. And it was there that I met my future wife, Kathy. I then moved to Boston where I spent another two years working in the retail side of the business. However, on May 9th, 1977, we were caught in a blizzard while driving between Providence, RI, (where we had driven to pick up some of the first ever CA wine futures sold on the East Coast) and Boston. It was then and there that we decided to “go West, young man”…..and by July we were living and working in Southern California, where we spent the next 20 years.
I started out working for a small distributor and delivery service called Allen Beverage. From there I moved to Bronco Wine Company, where I had the privilege of working for Fred and Joe Franzia for 3 years. I started out covering the “West Side” of LA (Westwood, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu). In time I worked up to the position of Assistant Sales Manager. From there, I went to work for Simon Levi Company, a major wine and spirits distributor. While at Simon Levi I received an education in the integration of wine and spirits sales as a tandem. At this point I wanted to see another side of the industry and started searching for supplier-side opportunities. I eventually found a position with Vineyard Brands, Robert Haas Selections. My timing was perfect, because not only did I get the chance to sell the fine French portfolio specializing in Burgundy, it was Vineyard Brands that was the marketing company chosen to introduce the new Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnays to the world. After this experience I went back to the wholesale side of the business, primarily working with smaller distributors, specializing in working with “premium boutique wine.” In 1997, my wife was offered a job in Houston, TX that we couldn’t turn down, so I spent most of that time working with the small premium wine distributors in Houston (with a brief 8 month hiatus to Boise, ID). In January of 2007, I decided to take my over 30 years of experience and start my own state-wide broker business in Texas.
Karl Newman has over 25 years of experience in the wine business. He has worked in distribution at every level. And, he has also worked as a multi-state sales manager for both domestic and import wine companies. Throughout that time his main focus has been the Texas market in which he has maintained many strong relationships. Karl has called on every type of account from major corporate chains to independent retailers and restaurants. His many years of work in distribution give him good insight into how to work best with both sales and management teams. Always one to sport a wine bag, his one goal is to facilitate the sales of the clients of THE WINEMAN.