Purple Feet Wines sold to national distributor
Owners will remain consultants for first year

By Katherine Michalets - Special to The Freeman

Feb. 11, 2015

 Chris Weyland in the warehouse at Purple Feet Wines in the City of Pewaukee.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - An offer to purchase from The Winebow Group  finally got the owners of Purple Feet Wines in the City of Pewaukee to agree to sell because of the national wine distributor and importer’s reputation for integrity and wine-centric business model.

Mark Bausch and Christopher Weyland, who started the statewide distribution and import company Purple Feet Wines in 1997, will remain as consultants for at least the first year and the current staff will remain in place.

The companies will combine their efforts in Wisconsin and operate as Purple Feet Wines, a member of The Winebow Group.

Weyland said he and Bausch decided to sell the business because no one else in the family was in the industry, and as men in their 60s they planned to retire soon.

“We wanted to sell to a group that would maintain the culture that we have garnered at Purple Feet for the last 18 years,” Weyland said.

The Winebow Group, like Purple Feet Wines, N29-W23810 Woodgate Court W., is passionate about wines and does not make liquor its focus, Weyland said.

“It is getting handed off to good hands,” he said. “It ensures that Purple Feet will be around literally forever.”

With the staff remaining, Purple Feet Wines will also “essentially have the same face,” he said.

During the years since Weyland and Bausch opened their business, there have been many larger companies interested in purchasing the Wisconsin distributor, but none was quite the right match, Weyland said.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Purple Feet Wines to our family,” said David Townsend, president and CEO of The Winebow Group, in a statement. Bausch and Weyland “have built one of the most successful distribution houses in the state. Their dedication to fine wine culture and the highest standards of customer service is in perfect alignment with our vision.”

The Winebow Group was founded in 2014 with the merger of two companies that each date from 1980 with a focus on quality, education and customer service: The Vintner Group and Winebow. With the addition of Wisconsin, The Winebow Group increases its distribution network to 16 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C.

Joe Siler will oversee Purple Feet Wines as senior vice president of The Winebow Group’s Midwest region. Melanie Denhart will be vice president/ general manager of Purple Feet Wines, and Andy Rothbaum will manage the portfolio as director of brand management for the Midwest region.