Currently Searching for VP US Sales

Title VP US Sales
Company J. Lohr
Location San Jose, CA
Job Information

In conjunction with the Cypress Group;

THE COMPANY: J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines (J. Lohr) is a long established and respected wine industry leader, producing 1.6 million cases annually. One of the few family-owned, operated and estate-focused wineries of its size, J. Lohr ranked 14th among the top 30 U.S. wine producers in the 2016 annual review compiled by Wine Business Monthly. The Lohrs are a dynamic family – passionate about the business and about producing high quality, flavorful wines representative of their appellations. The company crafts its portfolio of wines from 5,000 acres of owned, sustainably farmed, estate vineyards in four appellations: Paso Robles on the Central Coast, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands, and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. For over 40 years the family has maintained a steadfast commitment to honesty, excellence and service, as well as the long-term health of its company and the environment.

Today, the first and second generation of Lohrs are actively involved in the business. Patriarch and Chairman Jerry Lohr is widely recognized as an industry visionary and tireless advocate for the wine business and Central Coast region, as well as the pioneer winegrower and vintner responsible for bringing the wines of Paso Robles and Monterey to global prominence. Second generation Steve, Cynthia, and Lawrence Lohr participate in the day-to-day business. Steve is CEO and maintains responsibility for the company’s overall management, strategic planning, and sales activities. Cynthia and Lawrence are active in important leadership ambassador roles that support and promote brand advocacy for J. Lohr among trade and consumer audiences, leveraging deep relationships and involvement in industry organizations. Under the dynamic leadership of the Lohr family and long-standing Director of Winemaking, President and COO Jeff Meier, J. Lohr has consistently grown its business, land holdings, and product offerings in a measured and strategic manner, and has benefited from continuity of executive and vineyard management. It doesn’t follow ephemeral trends – rather, it makes well-considered decisions based on its assets and market position.

  1. Lohr produces 35 different wines in five tiers.  These range from exclusive single-vineyard and meticulously crafted Bordeaux blends to the well known, larger-volume Riverstone Chardonnay and Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon. The portfolio includes J. Lohr Estates (8 wines, SRPs $10 – $17); J. Lohr Vineyard Series (a group of 9 reserve level, single-varietal wines, SRPs $24 – $60); J. Lohr Cuvée Series (a trio of blends, SRP $50); J. Lohr Gesture (five Rhone-inspired varietals available online, in the tasting rooms, and to wine club members); and the newly released, limited production J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon commemorating Jerry Lohr’s 80th birthday. The company maintains three additional brands: Cypress Vineyards, a largely by-the-glass offering of three wines; ARIEL dealcoholized wines; and Painter Bridge, an export-only brand.

The Lohr family leads by example, placing value on people and relationships, sustainable farming, excellent winemaking, and support of the wine industry. Collectively, the extended Lohr family of employees hold, or have held, key leadership positions in numerous wine industry associations and alliances for many years, and the family is generous with its philanthropy. In support of wine research and education, the Lohr family made the second largest gift to the UC Davis LEED Platinum Research and Teaching Winery and also pledged $1 million toward building a new teaching and research winery at Cal Poly.  Jerry Lohr was recently honored as an industry visionary and Central Coast Wine Pioneer by Wine Enthusiast magazine as its “American Wine Legend,” an honor that has only been awarded three times since 2000. He has received many other accolades and awards, including being recently named Innovator of the Year by Wine Business Monthly and the Innovation + Quality 2017 Advisory Board. The passion, commitment, and dedication of the Lohr family serve as an inspiration to many within and outside of the industry.


The highly desirable Vice President, US Sales role for J. Lohr affords the chosen candidate the opportunity to join an industry leader working with a gracious, well-regarded family firmly committed to the wine business with a long-term focus. J. Lohr has proven stability and a 40-year history of producing high quality, high value wines sold nationally and internationally. J. Lohr is an appellation leader in Paso Robles and Monterey, and the brand is an exceedingly strong brand with an authentic, quality story. Proud of the accomplishments to date, the Lohr family is also keenly aware of the competitive climate and continues to elevate the brand through the ongoing evolution of wine quality, relevant and current packaging updates, enhancement of marketing and social media efforts and a clear understanding of the need to execute in sales at the highest level. The company culture promotes and reflects integrity and excellence. It is a positive, employee- centric culture, with historically low turnover, where employees feel part of a bigger family. The ideal candidate will join a well-positioned wine industry leader with strong capability and continuity.

The VP US Sales will play a key role in the continued growth and success of the company. This is a “seat at the table,” and the chosen candidate will be a strong contributor to company short and long-term planning and strategy. This individual will be only the fourth US Sales VP in company history and will lead a talented sales organization of 35+ people. Due to retirements and other attrition, a portion of the sales team is relatively new to the organization. The VP US Sales will build culture, continue to develop the strengths of the sales team and create a sales organization that is recognized by distributors and the rest of the industry as proactive and process driven. The family values its long-standing distributor partnerships including Wine Warehouse, RNDC, Southern Glazer’s, Young’s, and Breakthru Beverage among others. The VP US Sales will lead the team to keep the J. Lohr portfolio of wines front of mind throughout the distributor selling organization with attention to leading growth in the on-premise and independent retailer segments. He/she will utilize his/her proven management skills to promote forward thinking sales practices to further enable the sales team to successfully sell based on points of differentiation, not just price. The company is seeking steady annual growth while maintaining margins, and the VP US Sales, best utilizing data and metrics, will promote and drive sound decision-making, informed recommendations, clear strategic plans and timely execution throughout the regions.

This is the ideal role for an individual seeking to work with focus on a leading brand to elevate the practices of the sales organization resulting in new levels of success and attention. The VP US Sales will work with the talented team and will report directly to Steve Lohr, CEO. The office location is ideally in Northern California but alternate locations are open to discussion.


The VP US Sales, possessing strong analytic, organization and leadership skills, will create–in collaboration with executive management-and execute, a national sales plan that optimizes the approach in each market. He/she will bring the necessary strategic leadership, financial acumen and personal sales expertise to align business and organizational practices to create and advance opportunities that will best position the company to meet and exceed its revenue and profitability objectives. He/she will employ his/her strong knowledge and contact base, both off and on premise, and will own top-to-top relationships and work closely with upper management within distributors to support sales team efforts to meet aggressive goals. The ideal candidate will promote a performance driven sales culture that is continually building on its forward progress and success to maximize the growth potential of the brand. As the head of sales, he/she will maintain an in-depth and thorough knowledge of the marketplace and market conditions and will aggressively and proactively identify market opportunities and allocate resources to capitalize on those opportunities.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include:

Executive Leadership

  • Build and maintain a high performance culture through effective performance management, communication and coaching of sales team to improve the overall effectiveness of the sales organization
  • Develop sales plans, forecasts, campaigns and strategies necessary to achieve brand objectives and profitability growth establishing the marching orders and key priorities, goals and quotas for each Region and each of the different markets and channels
  • Maintain and refine management processes that facilitate the monitoring and control of volume, revenue, spend and resulting profitability
  • Be the key player in ensuring that sales strategies are implemented at the wholesale level
  • Participate in market campaigns where and when needed
  • Work closely with Marketing to forecast and manage the development of marketing communications material
  • Work collaboratively with the winemaking teams to provide feedback on wines, packaging, competitive winery and general market trends
  • Attend national trade events as warranted, organizing appropriate resources, i.e., winemaker market visits
  • Maintain and foster top to top and upper-management relationships with distributors
  • Review market analysis to determine customer needs, volume potential, price schedules, P.O.S. needs, etc.
  • Review and analyze performance of sales team and distributors, including but not limited to: depletions vs. goal, account placement performance, and budget adherence
  • Establish strategic and tactical pricing plans and coordinate implementation
  • Direct sales forecasting activities and set performance goals accordingly

Sales Team

  • Review and analyze performance to sales budgets by product, territory, category & priority
  • Review the sales structure to ensure optimal staff and organization to achieve stated goals
  • Establish methods and standards for best selling and management practices within the sales organization
  • Ensure that the sales staff is properly oriented, educated, and motivated to achieve stated goals including driving growth in on-premise and with independent retailers
  • Organize and coordinate periodic national sales meeting(s) including an annual planning/review meeting
  • Direct sample and freegoods usage
  • Approve special needs, requirements or opportunities

Distributor Accountability Administration

  • Perform regular reviews of distributors’ performance against key measures and metrics including but not limited to: depletions vs. PY and target, points of distribution/account growth, and class of trade mix
  • Manage distributors, working in concert with the Regional Managers, to ensure that the J. Lohr portfolio is both a priority and ‘top of mind’ within the selling organization
  • Establish and maintain key relationships with the critical players within the distributor selling organization; utilize thorough understanding of the distributor ‘DNA’ to get things done
  • Personally conduct annual distributor reviews in conjunction with the Regional Managers in all top tier markets as determined by volume and opportunity
  • Personally attend as many secondary and tertiary market reviews as makes good business sense based on growth potential and market importance
  • Make recommendations (and take subsequent actions if required) to ensure J. Lohr is properly aligned with the right wholesaler in each market
  • Create and promote target programs which foster a deeper understanding and engender more loyalty by the wholesaler for our brands


  • 15+ years significant premium wine sales management experience, leading a team of 15+ individuals, with increasing levels of responsibility for sales team leadership and strategy and program development and implementation
  • Documented success of consistently meeting and exceeding sales goals and objectives for a sales organization representing a multiple brand portfolio and revenue exceeding $50 million with proven success selling premium brands
  • Ideally, national experience for a top wine company representing annual production of 500,000+ cases
  • Experience building and managing a significant budget
  • Proven experience and abilities in educating and motivating sales people and buyers to successful completion of sales
  • Solid high level relationships with key on premise and off premise accounts
  • Demonstrated excellence in the management of distributors in a variety of regions throughout the United States
  • Solid relationships with key distributors ideally including Wine Warehouse, RNDC, Southern Glazer’s and Breakthru Beverage
  • Proven success as a member of the Executive team with the ability to collaborate and effectively participate
  • A track record of success in creating deeply leveraged relationships and establishing new relationships with proven negotiation skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Experienced and skilled at PowerPoint presentations to various audiences
  • Strategic planning abilities and experience with attention to financial budgeting and financial management
  • Demonstrated strength in use of sales management software, including TradePulse
  • Strong computer skills and comfort with wine sales and inventory management systems. Strong PC skills (Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Valid driver’s license; physical ability to accomplish travel by car and plane; ability to sit and operate computer; ability to lift 40 lbs.
  • Willingness to travel 50+% of the time
  • Bachelors degree (preferably in business, sales and marketing, or a related field); MBA a plus


Coupled with one’s experience are the personal qualities which determine an individual’s ability to make an impact and to be credible with internal and external audiences.

  • Honest and deals with unquestionable integrity in all business interactions
  • Possesses a passion for wine and the wine business as a whole
  • Sales visionary with a clear picture of the role and the necessary steps to make the sales organization successful
  • Likeable and natural leader with the ability to motivate and inspire others to “raise their own game”
  • Comfortable tackling new challenges with good business sense and intuition
  • Seasoned executive with ability to make tough decisions and defend those decisions
  • A team player who works collaboratively with others
  • Performance driven with a desire to compete and win
  • Knows how to get things done and can find opportunity in adversity, finding new ways to succeed as the marketplace continues to change
  • Intelligent and energetic self-starter
  • Actively learns from own failures and successes and those of others
  • Straightforward and honest in opinions; takes responsibility for his/her actions
  • Well connected within the industry with a strong professional network and highly regarded by his/her peers, superiors, customers and competitors
  • Detail oriented and analytical with a strong financial acumen
  • Clear understanding of customers — highly customer driven with a proclivity to be out in the field
  • Motivational with the ability to lead and direct top talent; strong communicator
  • Reputation for both strong strategic and tactical sales skills


The successful candidate will receive a competitive base salary and bonus tailored in recognition of the experience level of the candidate.

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