Geerlings & Wade Catalog Sold

Apr 01, 2009 2:31 AM  By

Wine merchant Geerlings & Wade has sold its catalog to an undisclosed buyer. The new owner will continue to operate the Geerlings & Wade brand as a direct mail and online wine source, it was announced March 31.

Founded in 1986 and based in Braintree, MA, Geerlings & Wade is a direct marketer of premium wines and wine-related merchandise. Geerlings & Wade will continue to operate as The Traveling Vineyard, which is its home party title.

Calls to the Traveling Vineyard were not returned by press time, but according to a release, the transaction allows the company to retire its credit line and debt with Wells Fargo bank.

Geerlings & Wade president/CEO Gordon Romer said in the release that the sale will enable the company to focus on The Traveling Vineyards independent wine consultants.

“While the majority of resources and growth initiatives have been focused on building The Traveling Vineyard business, our company and stories have intermingled, and unavoidably caused confusion between the brands,” Romer said. “This move, focusing 100% of our commitment on The Traveling Vineyard, will allow us to accelerate the growth of our consultant base and thus the company.”

But Lee Helman, managing director with investment firm Financo, is unsure how this transaction will work. “Clearly, someone else will take on all of the risk of running the catalog business,” he says, but it “doesn’t imply whether there is a royalty to be paid back to G&W. Sounds like Wells Fargo wanted their money back, and this was the only real alternative to getting it.”