Winemaker John Terlato sips with Master Sommeliers Mark Oldman & Richard Betts….
About John Terlato
John A. Terlato, along with his brother and father, shares the belief that the future of the global luxury wine category is very bright, for the Terlato Wine Group, its suppliers and their brands.
“We’ve positioned this company and these brands for international growth,” says John Terlato. “As the global luxury wine category has grown, as the leaders in luxury wine, we have expanded our share.”
John A. Terlato serves as Vice Chairman of Terlato Wine Group (TWG), the parent company of several independent businesses specializing in the marketing and production of luxury wines. Additionally, he serves in the functional roles of TWG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.
TWG comprises the Terlato family’s winery investments and partnerships in some of the world’s most esteemed wine regions, including: Napa Valley; Sonoma County; Santa Barbara County; Victoria, Australia; and the Rhône Valley.
After earning his law degree in 1986, Mr. Terlato joined Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Group. At the time, this fast-growing commercial real estate company was a major component of the Sears Financial Network, owned by Fortune 500 Company, Sears Roebuck & Co.
He joined the family business in 1989, when he went to work for the Pacific Wine Company, TWG’s wholesale distributor of premium and super premium wines. Mr. Terlato focused his efforts on preparing Pacific for growth by improving the companies infrastructure, operational efficiencies and capabilities, while growing organically through a focus on sales training, productivity and distribution.
With strong organic growth and the expanded o perational capabilities in place, the opportunity came for Pacific to pursue growth in new market segments. Recognizing an emerging market in super premium and craft-brewed beers, Mr. Terlato secured Illinois distribution rights for a number of brands in this category, including the Boston Beer Company brands, brewers of Samuel Adams Beers, Sapporo, Scottish and Newcastle. Leveraging the capabilities of its strong sales team, Pacific grew its beer portfolio from 30,000 cases to over one million cases within a five-year span.
In 1997, sensing that the handcrafted beer category was moving toward commoditization and consolidation, Mr. Terlato initiated and completed the sale of Pacific’s beer portfolio. “The time was right for us to put even more focus on our core business of luxury wines.”
Mr. Terlato was named President of Pacific Wine Company in 1995 at the age of 35. He led the Pacific team through continued expansion and growth. He also oversaw TWG’s four other Illinois distributorships as well as the purchase of three additional Illinois distributorships. By the close of 2001, through their seven Illinois distribution companies, the Terlato family had secured more than a 50% share of the on-premise luxury wine category in Illinois.
Throughout his career, Mr. Terlato has put an emphasis on bringing new learning and perspectives to the company. “I believe it is my responsibility to leverage knowledge and experience in support of the overall goals of the company and help us secure additional share in a growing competitive segment.”
In 2002, the Terlato family, after being in the wholesale distribution business for more than 60 years, made the strategic decision to sell its Illinois distributors and focus its attention and capital on the import/export of their luxury portfolio of brands and on their winery investments.
The sale enabled Mr. Terlato to focus his attention on their growing import/export organization. “My goal was to utilize my knowledge and experience to support and build on the great foundation constructed by my father Anthony, and the brilliant ongoing work of my brother Bill as CEO in furthering this already dynamic company.”
As TWG’s Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Terlato spearheaded enhancements to the company’s systems and infrastructure, particularly in organizational design and development, IT and operations. In addition, Mr. Terlato focused on attracting new talent to the organization. “For our family, just being ‘good’ was not good enough,” said Terlato. “We are fortunate to have attracted to our team some of the brightest people in the industry. This team exhibits a truly ferocious appetite for success and growth, and they create success within a selfless environment.”
Mr. Terlato is also responsible for TWG’s growing Export Division. The company’s luxury wines are currently available in 32 countries outside the United States market, and Mr. Terlato and his export team continue to expand the reach of these brands and open more of the world’s key luxury wine markets. “Our wines are available in the world’s preeminent luxury markets – and stand proudly beside the worlds greatest luxury brands,” said Terlato. “That’s where these brands belong and where their presence is logical – and that is where we want luxury consumers to have the option of enjoying the wines and brands we represent.”
Mr. Terlato was born in Chicago in 1960. He enjoys golf and fly fishing. A wine and food enthusiast, he belongs to the Chicago chapter of The Commanderie de Bordeaux and The Renaissance Club. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola University and a Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School, and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School.
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