In 1979, when Adam Strum was a wine salesman, he and his wife published a small mail order catalogue featuring corkscrews, wine glasses, and other unique wine accessories. In those days, the Strums produced and processed orders in the attic of their home, and they did so with memory typewriters; computers weren’t even invented. That first year, they counted 100 orders. This year, the number was closer to 750,000 orders.
From this humble beginning, Adam Strum has grown the largest group of wine commerce and media companies in the world. As Founder and Chairman of Wine Enthusiast Companies and Editor and Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Strum has encouraged millions of Americans to become acquainted with wine, and has also helped propel wine retail sales in the mainstream market.
Strum said: “The wine culture in America and around the world is fast-evolving, and we are dedicated to staying ahead of the trends while keeping our readers on the cutting edge of wine and providing them with purchasing direction with our Buying Guide. Wine Enthusiast Magazine continues to forge ahead in the digital and print realms of wine media. These new appointments further strengthen our role as the most dynamic progressive and fastest growing wine magazine and media company in the world.”
How did Adam Strum take Wine Enthusiast from a company that sold cork screws from his attic to a $100 million per year business? Early on, he identified that the most affordable way to reach consumers was through direct mail, and thus pioneered the beginning of the catalogue direct marketing industry. To date, more than 300 million catalogs have been published.
The original version of Wine Enthusiast’s Lord Winston mascot, which was introduced as part of a branding logo, added to the company’s growing charisma. In the early 80s, as people began to collect wine, Strum identified the need for wine storage and soon discovered its retail power. He says much of the success comes from riding the growth of wine consumption. Even in recessions, the wine industry does well.
“It’s really all about wine,” stated Strum. “Wine consumption is growth. Wine is a healthful, civilizing beverage. Once people identified how delicious wine tasted and its many benefits, more people became converts. That’s what happened over the years. We managed to keep our edge because we diversified.”
With phenomenal growth came new locations. Then, in 1988, when Strum perceived a dearth of education about wine, he founded Wine Enthusiast Magazine to offer vital information on the world of wine, plus hundreds of wine reviews in every issue. The Magazine has grown to become the world’s largest periodical devoted exclusively to wine and spirits, and successfully launched on ongoing series of consumer and trade wine tasting events.
Today, Wine Enthusiast Companies is a prominent, multi-channel marketer of a growing line of products that satisfy, inform, enrich, entertain, and inspire. Headquartered just 30 minutes outside of Manhattan in Mount Kisco, New York, it is the world’s number one source for wine accessories, storage, information, education, events, and travel. Over the last 30 years, this multi-faceted business has thrived along with America’s ever expanding enchantment with wine. The company successfully markets via direct mail, multiple internet sites, and with its business to business division, bringing Wine Enthusiast products into retail stores throughout the nation.