Sunday, September 14, 2008

Someone You Should Know - Todd Hess of H2Vino

Let's suppose while visiting your favorite wine shop, it has stocked
out of wine from your favorite producer. If you know the name of that
wine's importer, you can increase the chances that your next purchase
will satisfy you as much as your old standby.

Meet Todd Hess of H2Vino. His company is one of approximately sixty
five serving the Chicago market. "It provides healthy competition",
he explained over drinks at Bin 36.

He started H2Vino with his wife and another couple about two years
ago. "We knew many good wines were under or not represented in our market."

His portfolio numbers about 350 wineries, mostly from France and
Spain. Most are small producers of less than 10,000 cases per year.
You can view his current portfolio at

H2Vino adds wines to its list slowly. "We hear about possible
additions by word of mouth and through recommendations of
importers in other countries. I was surprised when he told me there's
even friendly trading of wines with other local distributors.
Restaurants and wine stores also suggest ideas.

Todd enjoys working the Illinois market. "I would give the state an
A-minus for wine availability and pricing. It's not a state dominated
by major wholesalers. Also, there's no 'Franchise Law' in Illinois;
i.e. a winery can move more freely from one distributor to another."

If you like to take careful notes about your wines, always check the
back of your bottles for the phrase "Imported by __________." Those
names can suggest new wines for you to explore!

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