Dean & DeLuca Uncorks Wine Spin-Off

To go with the gourmet food and gifts it sells, Dean & DeLuca launched its first wine and accessories catalog. The 52-page book sells more than 130 hard-to-find, small-production California wines, along with unique wine and spirits accoutrements.

To reach customers in time for the holiday season, the wine book first mailed in early November, followed by a second drop at the end of the month. The company mailed a total of 575,000 catalogs to existing Dean & DeLuca customers as well as to some selected prospecting lists, says Ellen Hunt, executive director of parent company The Rudd Group.

In addition to New York-based Dean & DeLuca, the Oakville, CA-based Rudd Group includes luxury companies such as Rudd Vineyards & Winery, Edge Hill Estate, Oakville Grocery, and PRESS Restaurant. Dean & DeLuca catalog and Internet orders are fulfilled from its distribution center in Wichita, KS.

What prompted the company to start a wine catalog? “Wine and wine accessories are a natural addition to our specialty foods and kitchenware business,” Hunt says. “ In addition, our owner [Leslie Rudd] is a vintner based here in Oakville in the Napa Valley, so many of the winery owners and winemakers in California are our neighbors and friends.”

What’s more, Dean & DeLuca has had a successful wine retail business in several of its store locations, “so expanding that to direct made good business sense,” Hunt says. The company hopes to gain “expanded direct sales and brand awareness, plus additional Internet business” from the new catalog, she adds.

“Growing the company’s direct business is much more economical than opening additional retail locations,” Hunt says. “And given that the Dean & DeLuca is a 30-year old lifestyle brand, plus the growing interest in wine and wine-related accessories, it seemed the right time to expand the brand to include this growth area.”

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