Southern Wine & Spirits of Minnesota to Acquire World Class Wines - WCW Portfolio to be Foundation of SWS of Minnesota’s Fine Wine Business
Minneapolis, MN, November 9, 2010 –Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor, announced plans today to acquire World Class Wines (WCW) of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and merge it into Southern Wine & Spirits of Minnesota (SWS-MN). World Class Wines will become the basis of the fine wine selling division of SWS-MN—a joint venture between Southern and J.J. Taylor Distributing Company of Minnesota, Inc. The World Class Wines portfolio includes domestic fine wine brands from California, Oregon, and Washington as well as many premium, imported brands from all major wine producing countries.

Southern’s President & Chief Operating Officer Wayne Chaplin commented, “We are very excited to enter into this agreement with Marty and Diana Ullman of World Class Wines. The truly remarkable portfolio of fine wine brands and the professional capabilities of their people are legendary in Minnesota—and a tribute to Marty and Diana’s business vision, love of fine wine and hard work. World Class Wines will be the initial step in building our fine wine business in the state, and Southern is honored to represent this tremendous group of suppliers from around the world. We plan to build upon Marty and Diana’s history of brand stewardship by continuing to grow these brands long into the future.”

Marty Ullman, Founder and President of World Class Wines remarked, “The move to join Southern‘s venture in Minnesota will give the World Class Wines’ division the resources to carry our vision forward in service of Minnesota’s fine wine accounts and of the suppliers in our portfolio. This legacy will be realized and further enhanced in the newly formed company.”

Daniel Daul, Vice President-General Manager of SWS-MN, added, “I am truly excited to have World Class Wines joining our portfolio in Minnesota. Southern and World Class Wines share the same values of brand building and customer service, and I am confident and committed to continue to deliver against these values for our suppliers and retailers alike.”

The agreement is expected to close next month.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America:
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor with operations in 33 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia—as well as the additional seven states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah through the Southern-Odom/Spirits West partnership. In addition, Southern has a presence in Maryland and the District of Columbia through a joint venture with F.P. Winner Wine & Spirits as well as a joint venture operation in Minnesota with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 11,000 team members. For more information, see: http://www.southernwine.com.

About World Class Wines
World Class Wines was founded in 1982 by its President, Marty Ullman. Originally, it was an avocation and a means to bring fine wines of the world to Minnesota. No other distributor had sold wines of this level to that market. In 1984, World Class Wines was incorporated and in 1986 it became Marty's full time occupation. Diana Ullman worked the 1991 harvest in California and was soon hooked on the wine business. She officially joined World Class Wines in 1992 working in the office, later becoming Senior Vice President. For more information see: http://www.worldclasswines.com.

About J.J. Taylor Distributing
J.J. Taylor Distributing is a multi-million dollar malt beverage distributor for Miller, Coors and Heineken. J. J. Taylor Companies, Inc. was founded in 1958 by John J. "Joe" Taylor. Originally a Knickerbocker Beer distributor servicing the greater Brockton area of Massachusetts, Joe Taylor brought 20 years experience with Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co., of New York to Brockton and his beer distributorship thrived. Through the years the company has grown both internally and through acquisitions under the leadership of Joe's son, John J. Taylor, III. Today with acquisitions in Minnesota and Florida the company is one of the top five distributorships in the United States. For more information contact: www.jjtaylor.com.

Posted on Tuesday, November 09, 2010 (Archive on Tuesday, November 09, 2010)
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