As the saying goes, the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. Similarly, it could also be said that the character of a business is revealed by the quality of service it provides when there’s no promise of future business. Acting selflessly is the mark of integrity. And it was just this kind of generous spirit that sparked the strong relationship between TricorBraun WinePak and the Glunz Family Winery.
The remarkable story of the Glunz family in America goes back three generations. The chapter about the family winery, however, began in 1992, when the fourth generation decided to open a winery in Grayslake, Illinois. Joe Glunz Jr., who spent three years in Napa Valley, got it up and running.
After a few years building the business, Joe moved over to the family’s wholesale business and his sister Suzzie took over. With her expertise in retail, she helped further the business and soon they opened a second tasting room. When Suzzie also decided to move over to the wholesale business, their brother Matthew took over the winery.
Matt began introducing more varietals from California to their selection and, with help on the retail side from their sister Beth, the winery enjoyed steady growth. Soon they realized they needed to expand their production facility.
After considering building options in the Grayslake area, Matt, who had previously spent five years in Sonoma, suggested they look in Paso Robles, California, where the winery had been sourcing fruit for years. Within a year, the Glunz Family were the proud owners of 20 acres of rolling hills just east of Paso Robles.
Despite his time spent in Sonoma, Matt had few connections in the Paso Robles area to help their nascent winery get up and running. Back at their Grayslake location, they had a relationship with TricorBraun WinePak, having purchased kegs from them, as well as hiring them to redesign their Sangria bottles. Matt was happy to see that there was another WinePak facility in nearby Fairfield, so he made a call to Tom Deegan, the Business Development Manager for WinePak.
Matt was hoping to get a few industry contacts in the Paso Robles area and Tom was happy to help. He referred Matt to several people in the region. The contacts he provided helped the winery get off the ground, but the first year was a difficult one, with disappointing sales on the west coast. So, Tom recommended a new distributor: Classic Wine of California, a division of the Bronco Wine Company.
Classic Wine proved to be a better fit, as sales began to rise. Soon, with their selection expanding, they needed more from TricorBraun WinePak than just kegs and Sangria bottles. Naturally, Matt’s first call was to Tom. The design team at TricorBraun WinePak immediately went to work designing additional bottles for their growing wine selection.
“Working with Tom at WinePak has been a game-changer. His team has not only helped us streamline our production with their expertise in packaging solutions, but they’ve also helped us sell our wine here in California and other competitive west coast markets.”
— Matthew Glunz, Glunz Family Winery
Today, the Glunz family ferments and bottles most of their wines in Paso Robles, but continues packaging out of their Grayslake location. And business has grown so much, they are embarking on a national distribution plan with Classic Wine. What’s more, TricorBraun WinePak is not only helping with package design, but also developing packaging for their co-packing clients.
Almost without exception, the most successful business partnerships are also carefully nurtured relationships built upon collaboration and mutual trust. Tom knew that, even if the Glunz Family Winery had ultimately gone with another supplier, helping them get started with some sincere advice and a few local references was the right thing to do—and it paid dividends. The ongoing partnership between the Glunz family and TricorBraun WinePak is a real testament to the value of doing business with honesty and integrity.