Taking the Direct Route
There are many reasons that wines from other countries are typically more expensive than comparable American ones but one of the largest contributing factors is the involvement of an importer. Importers are American companies that purchase foreign wine, have them shipped to the US, then sell that wine to distributors throughout the States who in turn, sell it to retailers who finally sell it to consumers. Overall, this model has been good for the American consumer as it has exposed them to countless wines that they otherwise would have never tasted. But the addition of a fourth step brings with it a significant increase to the ultimate price. For decades, the wine industry simply accepted this as the cost of doing business, but in 1990, Brian Larkey decided that there was a better way.
Larkey figured for all the good the importer did, they were, at the end of the day, simply a facilitator who allowed wine from overseas to make its way to American distributors. He devised an innovative business model that allowed distributors to buy directly from the foreign suppliers without involving the extra step of the importer or the markup that comes with it. He called his company Dalla Terra Winery Direct
By focusing only on a pool of 18 family-owned wineries in Italy, Dalla Terra is able to facilitate the sale of high-quality Italian wines that are 25% less expensive on average than their peers. “It’s a very interesting business model that so far nobody has been able to copy,” Larkey recently told us.
Larkey specifically decided to focus on Italian wines because with over 600 different varietals grown throughout the country, he views it as the most diverse wine growing region in the world. “I live in the Napa Valley, we maybe have six, maybe eight, but we don’t have 600,” he said. “Italy is the most diverse, exciting wine growing region anywhere and I believe the future of wine consumption in the United States is not a concentric view where we’re looking at fewer and fewer varietals, but a very expansive one where people are going to want to taste and try new varietals from areas and regions throughout the world that represent just that area. So indigenous varietals that come from just those places.”
For the rest of our conversation with Brian Larkey, check out the video below:
You can find the following Dalla Terra wineries throughout the state of Ohio: