Kevin Novack attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, and witnessed first hand the amazing transformation of wine in the region. He knew something magical was happening to Walla Walla, similar to Napa in the early days, or more recently in the Pinot Noir country in the Willamette Valley. Kevin was convinced that he could bring the best big Syrahs and Cabernets from the hot and dusty Walla Walla AVA and introduce them to Portlanders who were more accustomed to delicate Pinor Noir wine grown in the cooler Pacific air of Dundee. And he was right.
D’Vine Wine was started in 2003, and within 10 years the Portland Business Journal named CEO Kevin Novack one of the 40 under 40 to watch. After years of double digit growth, D’Vine was importing and distributing some of the best Northwest, French and New World wines in the world, counting the top restaurants and wine retailers in Oregon among their customers.
Kevin comes from a long family history of entrepreneurs, and is a bit of serial entrepreneur himself. In 2015 he moved to California to pursue other business interests. He chose Pragma to provide contract CEO services and strategic planning. While running the business, we were able to accelerate the growth in revenue, while increasing gross profit by several points. Strategically, we advised Kevin that the best plan for continued growth and success of D’Vine was to find a strategic partner with similar values and complementary strengths. After a nationwide search, Pragma identified Handcrafted Wines of Kansas as the perfect partner. The family owners of Handcrafted Wines share the commitment to quality wines, including producing critically acclaimed wines at their family winery in Northern California.
Handcrafted Wines purchased the assets of D’Vine, and will be merging two remarkable portfolios of wine, growing in both the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.
The transition to new owners strengthened the culture of the company, improved relationships with its major supplier, provided financing for growth, and allowed a successful businessman to retire knowing his family’s legacy was safe in new hands.
Hood River Distillers was the first distillery in Oregon to open after prohibition. Their first products also came from the fruit of the Hood River Valley. HRD wanted to return to its roots – perfect fit.
Pragma Group developed multiple growth strategies, and tested each of them against the cultural and financial requirements of the business. Looking at every growth strategy known to restaurants, ultimately it was decided to split the company in two.
Pragma Group helped build a world-class marketing team, and spearheaded an effort to tell the brand story in a new way. We launched a campaign in Texas, where people are serious about their smoked meats.