New catalog toasts booming wine market

Feb 01, 1999 10:30 PM  By

According to New York market research firm Impact Databank, 210.7 million cases of wine were shipped in the U.S. in 1997, up 4% from 202.5 million cases in ’96 and up nearly 11% from 190 million cases in ’95. As Tod Buckley, founder/president of Thornwood, NY-based catalog Wine & All That Jazz, says, “Wine has never been so popular in America.”

This popularity, combined with the economic boom-and the resulting increase in disposable income- prompted Buckley, a former senior vice president of marketing at Hawthorne, NY-based wine accessories catalog Wine Enthusiast, to launch his own catalog of wine-related gifts and accessories, Wine & All That Jazz, this past November.

Like Wine Enthusiast, Wine & All That Jazz does not sell wine. The 32-page catalog offers gifts such as corkscrews and wine racks, and big-ticket items such as elaborate cooling systems and custom-made wine cellars. Buckley says he is targeting both upscale wine collectors (45- to 65- year-old men with six-figure incomes) and gift-givers (30- to 50-year-old women with annual incomes of $50,000-$100,000). He culled the 500,000 names for the November mailing from rented lists and from space ads in Wine Spectator magazine and The New York Times. The average order so far is $300, Buckley says, and while he won’t divulge the response rate, the initial mailing was successful enough that he plans to increase book size, first to 40 pages, and then to 48 pages by the middle of the year.

A legal snag… But it’s not all wine and roses for Wine & All That Jazz. This past fall, Buckley’s former employer, Wine Enthusiast, sued the upstart catalog. Neither Buckley nor Adam Strum, chairman of Wine Enthusiast, would comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, however, or even indicate where the suit was filed.