Bull or bear, up or down, wine goes with everything and is impervious to recessions, said Joe Carr, founder of winemaker Josh Cellars. "Super luxury brands might suffer a bit, but for the most part people are always going to keep drinking wine," he said.
Josh Cellars is the fastest growing wine brand over $10 a bottle and was named Market Watch magazine's 2015 "Wine Brand of the Year." Carr was a world-class sommelier before starting the family owned wine company in 2007 as a tribute to his late father, a volunteer firefighter. He sold his first thousand cases in New England in 2009 out of the trunk of his car.
"People realized it's an authentic story, and how it's a tribute to my dad," said Carr. "It's a very competitive landscape out there so you have to keep knocking on doors."
Carr has built the brand working with partner-growers and sourcing grapes from vineyards across the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Mendocino County and the Central Coast of California. His partnership with Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits began in 2011 and has enabled him to compete with much larger industry players such as Constellation Brands (STZ) .
"You've got to get the distribution, you've got to get the display and you've got to get the trial," said Carr. "And that's the success of Deutsch's marketing group."
Deutch's marketing group initiated a massive digital campaign last year for Josh Cellars, placing the company's products in places like Times Square and Grand Central Station. It also was promoted on Netflix in addition to social media networks Facebook and Instagram.
Carr has also been successful in getting millennial drinkers, a growing part of the wine market.
"They drink craft beer and they also love wine," said Carr. "They want to know all about it, if it is authentic and the story behind it. They are interested in price, but also what is behind the brand."