Spotlight: Cameron Hughes
With this post, I’m introducing a new, occasional feature to my blog: Spotlight. I’ll be writing about interesting people doing interesting things in the wine and food biz. If you’d like to be spotlighted, or know someone who should be, let me know.
I’ve been a fan of Cameron Hughes’ wines for years. An admirer of the man, too. He took a business model–the negociant–that was far from a proven success, and made it work. I’ve given a lot of Best Buys to Cameron Hughes wines over the years. His Cabernets and Bordeaux blends are some of the best values on the market.
• age — 40.
• company name — Cameron Hughes Wine
• title — CEO
• founding date — 2001
• HQ — San Francisco
• # employees — 25 + 400 contractors
• total case sales — approx. 400,000
• rank, U.S. wine companies — #31
• # SKUs produced — over 100 this year
• why so many? — The idea is to preserve the initial identity and quality of the source wine.
• most expensive wine — $28 [Stags Leap and Napa Valley Cabs]
• cheapest wine — $5 Romanian
• how many countries do you make wine from? — At least ten
• do you level off or keep growing? — Keep growing. Sky’s the limit.
• your background in a few sentences — Started as cellar rat at Corbett Canyon, went into marketing and sales with The Wine Group. Worked at an importer for a year, then started this company.
• born — Modesto. Dad worked for Gallo, then Wine Group.
• describe Cameron Hughes Wine in 1 sentence — We’re a virtual winery and negociant company.
• how find/select your wines? — Through turning stones over. Brokers bring us deals, and we actively go out and try to acquire partnerships and wines. And people come to us.
• are there confidentiality agreements? — Yes. At the very high end, a few folks require those. Folks sell bulk wine for a variety of reasons. For example, we get between 13,000-16,000 gallons of wine blended for us from a super-super high end Napa producer I can’t identify. They’re component wines that didn’t fit into their blends. So they purpose-build blend it for us, not just dregs.
• what do you drink at home — Everything. I buy lots of different wines from lots of retailers all the time. I’m constantly trying new and different things. I’m very eclectic.
• hobbies? — Big skier. Newbie triathlete. Rehabbing my shoulder so I can swim.