Innovating and Reimagining the Wine Industry – A sit down with First Drop Wines Director, John Retsas

The First Drop in 2004

When two ambitious wine-makers got together and planned to shake up the world of wine with a quirky, fresh-faced and completely re-imagined brand of wines to disrupt the industry, First Drop Wines was born. 

Since its founding in 2004, First Drop Wines have been awarded for innovative winemaking and pushing the boundaries in terms of branding and marketing. This disruptive and forward-thinking winery has led the revolution in wine packaging and branding design in Australia, becoming a house of strong wine brands, adding personality and humour to the industry for the first time. 

“We’re a house of brands, and at the time we started in 2004, there was a traditional nature to the winemaking industry. I guess we just wanted to make it more exciting, build brands, and build brands that people love,” said John Retsas, Director of First Drop Wines. 

With re-imagined entry and routes to market, established, pioneered and led by its iconic ‘Mother’s Milk’ Barossa Shiraz (12000 cases), First Drop Wines has created customer and consumer evangelism, making this highly acclaimed medium-sized (23000 cases) Barossa winery much sought after across the globe.

Local Produce, Global Reach

Strong brands and award-winning wines, the company has grown year-on-year and has established itself as a 5 red star Halliday Winery, organically, without the backing of investors. 

Planning growth

With strong route to market and with distributors in each state and territory of Australia, First Drop Wines have identified significant opportunity to grow further with the backing of investors, particularly in the supermarket distribution space.

And since establishing organic year-on-year growth, the brand now has a global footprint, with distribution warehouses in Australia, Belgium and the US, giving First Drop Wines a platform of entry into 3 very large markets and an ambition to enter into a 4th, Asia.

“Since day one, we’ve focused on building and investing in sales and distribution networks, ultimately delivering strong and sustainable growth. We currently have 44 distribution partners in 20 countries” John explained.

“Our strategy is focused on two key growth markets, USA and China, whilst further opportunities lie in unlocking value in domestic multiples and cellar door sales. Cellar door sales are exciting, being located next door to Penfolds, the busiest winery in the Barossa Valley region has its perks,” John continued.

“Significant investment would give us the opportunity to grow and accelerate, building on our organic profitability and record, we want to hire key personnel, increase our productivity upscale, exit an existing 50% shareholder and Co-Founder, and scale into new markets,” John concluded.   

What’s in the bottle?

The award-winning five-star winery is now seeking investment to grow and scale in strategic markets. 

Organically growing First Drop Wines

John Retsas, Winemaker and Director of First Drop Wines. The company has grown organically and with profitability.

Having shaken up the wine industry, leaving nothing but growth, exceptional winemaking standards, award-winning wines, and engaging brands on the pallets of consumer, customers and distributors – the offer is for the subscription of fully paid ordinary shares in a yet to be incorporated entity called FDW Holdco Pty Ltd, to raise $8.35 million. 

Holdco will own 100% of the issued share capital in First Drop Wines Pty Ltd. The offer forms part of a broader restructuring of the First Drop Wines group involving the exit of a current director and 50% shareholder (Matt Gant), with funds raised under this offer to be used for:

  • Be debt-free
  • Have $2.5 million cash to scale
  • Be revenue, distribution and growth ready
  • Have an increased production capacity.

Find out more about First Drop Wines, and register your interest in their investment offering here.

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