About James Gunter
I was introduced to the wine business while working evenings at A&A Liquor Stores during my last two years of College. Upon graduation, I was offered the role of newly created position of “Wine Director” of A&A Liquor. In the 70’s there were only three wholesale wine distributors, American Wine Company operated by Tony LaBarba, Accent Wine operated by Mark Berman and Estrada’s operated by Al & George Estrada.
In 1977 Tony LaBarba offered me position with American Wine Company. Those were the formative years for the wine business. Jug wines were king, and the emergence of family California wineries had just begun. Napa Valley at this time was just a small farming community.
American Wine Company proved to be a great training ground; they extended me the opportunity to meet many of the visionary leaders of the newly developing import wine business. Mr. LaBarba ran a great business and introduced me to the wines of the world, especially the wines of France, Germany, Italy and California.
In 1992, American Wine experienced family problems and I was offered a chance to work for the Glazer family. Glazer’s was not active in the fine wine business and I was able to help transition about half the portfolio and a large portion of the sales staff to help Glazer’s grow it’s fine wine business.
In 1997 we were able to introduce the concept of a “Fine Wine Company” to the Glazer family, and I was an integral part of introducing Glazer’s Domaines and Estates to Texas.
Over the next few years Glazers was involved in expansion and along with that we were able to introduce variants of Domaines and Estates into many markets. I always enjoyed working with the California Family wineries and the imported wines. Bordeaux in particular was always an affinity, as I executed the “Bordeaux Futures” business for Glazers from vintage 1991 thru Vintage 2011.
At the end of 2011, I was able to leave Glazers and start the third phase of my life, a family owned wine Importing Company, Wines With Conviction. I hope to use my experience and connections to develop a portfolio of products that will have value in the marketplace.