When I co-founded Italian Wine Merchants in 1999, it was with a sincere belief that serious wine collectors and more casual enthusiasts alike would support a business offering absolute quality and personalized service. Fast-forward 10 years, and I’m proud to say we’ve proven our theory right. 2009 was a tough year for many industries, and the wine business at all levels has not been spared serious challenges to its bottom line. However, it is precisely during such times when one’s chosen business model and strategy either proves its worth or exposes its weaknesses. Now that we’ve closed our year, we’re proud to report that though it did not come without significant effort, IWM wine sales grew 21% in 2009. People may not be spending as easily, but they continue to appreciate quality and service.
IWM remains focused on producers that can make quality wine no matter what. For us, the response to the recession was not about reinventing what we do, but perfecting it, and so far it’s working. The reserves and allocations we get from wineries have dramatically increased over time. What used to be just a few bottles became cases, and cases became pallets and containers.
At IWM, we have always believed in continuous improvement, knowing that doing better every day for our clients is the best guarantee of success. As we go forth in 2010, what current and future IWM clients can count on from us is stability: in our unerring commitment to quality across the price spectrum; in our dedication to shaping long term customer relationships; and in our value-added services to deepen enjoyment of your wine.
Along with our unparalleled Portfolio Management team, IWM Cellars is our most dynamic and complimentary value-added service. IWM Cellars, our proprietary cellar management software, actively connects clients to all aspects of taking care of and engaging with their wine. We continue to offer full, personal service to all clients and also host a robust online tool that users can enjoy as they live and evolve with their collections, whether 10 bottles or 10,000. In these uncertain times, I see it as extremely important that IWM Cellars exists as a means for current and future IWM clients to maintain uninterrupted access to inventory, information and analysis. Over the next quarter, even more capabilities such as Current Market Valuation and Bar-coding will roll-out and underscore our commitment to regularly improve our offerings across all aspects of the business.
Finally, I want to thank our clients for their trust and their significant role in making IWM what it is today. I hope you’ll take advantage of our complimentary IWM Cellars and continue your great journey to enjoying the world’s best wines.