AP NEWS

New Consulting Firm Hopes To Shake Up Wine, Spirits Industry

March 29, 2019

PLAINS TWP. — After spending 34 years managing operations and sales at The Woodlands Inn, Rick Kornfeld has started a new venture. Kornfeld now owns a wine and spirits consulting firm called Legacy in a Glass. Recently retired former Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Chairman Selection Wine and Spirits Buyer Steve Pollack is the national sales director for the business. He has extensive wine and spirits expertise from more than 30 years he spent working in the industry. He began his career with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board as a clerk. As the buyer for the “Chairman’s Selection” program for Pennsylvania, he has dealt with wineries all over the world. His wife Jennilyn Pollack has worked in the industry for 20 years. She retired from working at the state-run Fine Wine & Good Spirits store in Dallas and is now working in sales and product development for Legacy In A Glass. Their plan is to change how people in the industry buy and sell wine and spirits and they want to bring quality back to shelves. Over the last 10 years, they said they have watched the wine and spirits industry become consolidated and dominated by big box brand companies. “I want to change the industry nationally because this industry has turned into a monolithic kind of one size fits all,” Steve Pollack said during an interview Thursday at The Woodlands. “You go to any grocery store and any retailer now and you have the top 40 brands and that’s it.” They said Legacy in a Glass will provide opportunities to growers, wineries, retailers and suppliers who are tired of buying the same brands from the same companies. They plan to take brands from vineyards to the market. They are not targeting consumers yet but they will be, Pollack said. “Right now, we’re a consulting group to use our passion and the experience I have with not only buying for one of the biggest states in the world of wine and spirits, but also selling,” Pollack said. “There are a lot of wineries out there that can’t be represented because they don’t have the money or the facilities to get in front of people. I provide that service.” Since many grocery stores now sell wine, Pollack said people want to pay less and there isn’t talk about quality. “We could provide quality,” he said. “What’s in the bottle is going to be as good as what’s on the bottle and that’s where our uniqueness comes in. They ask what makes me different? I’ve been doing this for 31 years.” Kornfeld owned The Woodlands with his brothers Ross and Rick and he said his long-time tenure with his family business has granted him a unique insight into the typical experience of the wine and spirits end user. He and his uncle Gary retired two years ago and Mitch and Ross Kornfeld now run The Woodlands, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Kornfeld said he decided he needed a “fresh start” and started working at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits store, where he met the Pollacks. He was impressed by Steve Pollack’s knowledge and experience within the wine industry. “When Steve told me about his goal of starting a wine business, I instantly knew I wanted to be involved,” Kornfeld said. “It was very much fate. We ended up talking in the back room one day and it took months for this to develop. They decided to retire and open up this business. Their spirit is phenomenal. Their passion and their knowledge is just off the charts and that’s what attracted me when I first met them.” Pollack said when they met Kornfeld, they knew he would be great to manage the business. “I need a guy who could handle everything, purchase orders when we get going, billing people and payroll,” Pollack said. “He has run this place (the Woodlands) for a long time and they’re not in business because they were lucky. They’re legendary around here.” The Pollacks and Kornfeld recently returned from a trip to California, where they met head wine maker Jessica Boone at Passalacqua Winery. They watched her display her craft and they plan to take some of her wine to market. Pollack said he plans to reach out to specialty retailers and represent the “guy who’s still in the vineyard, who’s actually picking the grapes, producing the wine, bottling the wine and hoping they meet a guy like me to get it to market for them.” “They’re not willing to sell off to the big conglomerates and be forced to overproduce to be in every store. They don’t want to be in every store,” he said “They only want to produce what they’re capable of producing.” For information about Legacy in a Glass or to sign up for a newsletter, go to www.legacyinaglass.com. Contact the writer: dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh