Minnesota Winery, With Julianne Hough As Partner, Files IPO Application

A Plymouth-based company hopes to raise $ 15 million in an initial public offering that would launch its California wine business.

Julianne Hough of “Dancing with the Stars” and Nina Dobrev of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “Vampire Diaries” are co-founders with former Anheuser-Busch InBev executive Rick Nechio. The other co-founder and connection from Minnesota is businessman Damian Novak, who is the executive chairman of the company.

Fresh Grapes LLC, in the process of officially changing its name to Fresh Vine Wine Co., last week filed an initial registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell common stock of its developing-stage company.

The wine market in the United States is large and competitive. In 2020, the total US retail wine market was $ 67 billion and there are more than 11,000 wineries in the United States, including more than 4,700 in California alone, according to a report by Statista.

Fresh Vine Wine adopts a capital efficient strategy for its business, contracting with other companies to produce, bottle and license its wines.

Fresh Vine Wine hopes to find its niche with “better-for-you” wines that contain fewer carbohydrates and calories, but are still considered top quality wines. The company has contracted with Napa, California-based wine production company Fior di Sole to produce cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir and rosé wines for its label. Prices per bottle are $ 15 to $ 22.

The company sells its wine wholesale and directly to the consumer. In the first half of 2021, it generated $ 500,000 in revenue but lost over $ 6.5 million.

Janelle Anderson, former director of marketing at American Airlines and PepsiCo, is the CEO of the company. She joined Fresh Vine Wines in August as Chief Marketing Officer and was named CEO in September.

Novak and affiliates have provided a large portion of the funding since the company started in May 2019 and if the IPO is successful, $ 1.45 million of the proceeds will be used to pay off Novak. The remaining proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Golden Valley-based investment bank Oak Ridge Financial subscribes to the offer.

Shirley M. Pinder