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October 17, 2022

WX Brands founder and CEO steps down after 23 years at helm of US wine group

Peter Byck will be replaced by COO Oliver Colvin.

By Jessica Broadbent

The founder and CEO of US-based wine company WX Brands has stepped down after 23 years.

Peter Byck founded the company, originally called Winery Exchange, in 1999. “This company started as an idea on a PowerPoint deck in my home,” he said. Today, WX sells 4m cases of wine worldwide each year across 20 countries.

He will be replaced by COO Oliver Colvin, who has been at the company for 22 years. Colvin will officially become CEO on 1 January. Byck described him as “a key contributor to the company’s success”, adding he is “the right person to continue to drive WX’s tremendous success”.

Colvin has been COO and general counsel for the last decade and has been responsible for all operations including winemaking, procurement and legal and compliance. Previously he was head of operations, head of international sales and head of US sales. Before starting at Winery Exchange, he worked for Silicon Valley Bank.

In a statement, WX Brands said: “After 23 years at the helm of WX Brands, our incredible leader, Peter Byck, will be transitioning from his role as CEO and moving into a senior advisor position.

“Oliver’s extensive experience in various roles at WX, from operations to sales, makes him the perfect candidate to take the reins of our next chapter. We are fortunate and grateful to have his guidance, knowledge, and leadership to continue pursuing and innovating upon the extraordinary work our company has achieved over the past two decades.”

WX Brands sells wine from 14 countries and develops exclusive brands for retailers. It has a winemaking and bottling facility in Sonoma, California.

Regular acquisitions have boosted its Californian portfolio in particular, which includes Napa Valley’s Bread & Butter wines, Novato’s Baileyana Wines portfolio and Paso Robles brand Chronic Cellars.

Bread and Butter Wines launched a canned wine earlier this year following WX Brands’ canned Chronic Cellars range.

Last July, Argentina’s Bemberg family purchased a majority stake in WX Brands. The deal made WX Brands a stablemate of Argentine wine company Grupo Peñaflor, which Bemberg acquired in 2010. Peñaflor, the owner of wine brands including Trapiche, also has a distribution and production agreement for Diageo’s spirits products in Argentina.

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