L’uva Bella Winery Inks Texas Distribution Deal
LOWELLVILLE, Ohio – L’uva Bella Winery expects to begin distributing its products in Texas next month.
The winery, which produces Purple Rain, Passion and Red’s brands, as well as its Reserve Collection, recently finalized a statewide distribution agreement with Fort Worth-based Ben E. Keith Co., reports , co-owner Marisa Sergi-Schumann, co-owner and CEO.
Keith Co., founded in 1906, is a privately held food and beverage distributor that employs more than 6,000 associates, according to its LinkedIn page.
“We’re confident that Texas will bring us a lot of ability to amplify our growth in the Mahoning Valley and continue to be on track to be nationally distributed,” Sergi-Schumann said.
The full-state distribution agreement will permit L’uva Bella to sell in every Texas county that permits alcohol sales, and Keith will be the sole distributor, she said. She anticipates starting Texas sales at the end of September through the Kroger grocery store chain in the Houston market.
“I imagine once our other retailers learn that we’re officially set up in Texas, we’ll continue getting opportunities from there,” she said. Other current L’uva Bella distribution partners that have Texas locations include Walmart, Target and Total Wine.
With the addition of Texas, L’uva Bella Winery will distribute its products in 10 states plus the District of Columbia. Kroger already distributes L’uva Bella’s products in 400 stores in four states.
“We’re starting in Houston first because we want to really understand the demand of the Texas market so we don’t bite off more than we can chew,” Sergi-Schumann said. “Once we get that analytical data on sell-through, and what an appropriate inventory level will be, we’ll be able to then further forecast to properly cover the rest of the state.”
Texas consumers purchased nearly 62.5 million gallons of wine in 2022, according to data compiled by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Sergi-Schumann and her husband, Evan Schumann, bought the winery from her parents in 2020 and last year secured a “seven-figure” investment from InvestBev Group LLC in Chicago to enable them to expand production capacity. The Lowellville winery has the capacity to produce more than 350,000 cases annually following last year’s expansion, and now produces about 100,000 cases.
“This will help us fully use our facility to the maximum potential if things really get cracking,” Sergi-Schumann said. “We expanded our facility in order to be capable [of fulfilling] opportunities like Texas.”
Pictured at top: L’uva Bella Winery owners Marisa Sergi-Schumann and Evan Schumann.
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