Hansen, a fifth generation Californian, has defined his nearly 30 year career in the wine business by his achievements as one of the wine industry’s top brand builders. Building sales and distribution throughout the U.S. and in over 40 countries around the world, he is a professional who understands the industry from vineyard to retail to wine list.
Starting in 1987, Hansen was appointed, by California’s Secretary of Agriculture, as manager of the newly-formed and revolutionary Agricultural Export Program (AEP), a program established by California’s Governor to develop and support the growth of international sales and marketing of California food and agricultural products. He managed a $5 million annual budget and organized California’s first trade show in Korea in 1988.
In 1988, Hansen and two partners created an international sales, marketing, and consulting company that focused on exporting California dried fruits, nuts, and wine. As president of the company, Hansen helped bring revenues to more than $6 million by the end of the Company’s third year of business.
Hansen’s focus was on his company’s wine business. In 1990 he won a contract with Sebastiani Vineyards to establish and build their international sales and distribution network. By 1995, Hansen had expanded Sebastiani’s distribution from five international markets, selling approximately 20,000 cases, to 40 countries with sales in excess of 500,000 cases annually.
In 1993, Hansen formed a joint venture company in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, gaining distribution rights to America’s largest food service company, Sysco, for the Malaysian market. He served as a director on the company’s board through 2000. In 1995, Hansen established a second joint venture in Paris, France. This company was established to further expand distribution of California wines throughout Europe.
That same year, Hansen established a new firm in California that imported and distributed wines from the most important appellations in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Chile. The company also played a key role distributing many important California brands, including Rombauer, Davis Bynum, Merryvale, Arrowood, and was successful in incubating brands, early-stage brand building and creating a distribution foundation that led Hansen to establish in 2000 the Jewel wine brand.
Hansen’s goal was to develop the best bottle of wine in the U.S. for under $10. By 2005, production had grown from 1,200 cases to over 150,000 cases, making Jewel the fastest-growing new winery in the U.S. for 40 consecutive months. As Jewel’s CEO, Hansen built a sales and distribution network of 59 top distributors in all 50 states, EU and Asia. Many accolades included Jewel’s being named a top ten wine in “Hottest Brands” by Wine Business Monthly in 2003, and was acknowledged quarterly for excellence over three years by Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates.
After leaving the Company in 2008, Hansen refocused his efforts on a “one of kind” boutique vineyard he developed in Lodi, with plans of creating an exclusive Bordeaux style wine. His new efforts, under his company, AH Wines, also became active as a négociant, supplying exclusive wine brands to major wine buyers throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia. He works closely with a small network of large wine grape growers in California, which play an integral role as the predominant supply source for AH Wines’ rapidly growing portfolio of brands.
Hansen has used his extensive background in international sales and distribution to build an impressive network of customers throughout the world. While the California wine industry, on average, exports approximately 5% of its production, AH Wines’ international sales represent approximately 60% of their business. Of the more than 30 international markets AH Wines serves, China has become their leading market. There are few in the wine industry that rivals Hansen’s experience in China; he has been doing business in China since 1992 and wine business since 1997.
Hansen has led AH Wines, since its beginning in late 2008, to impressive levels of success in both overall revenue growth and profitability. Different from past companies, Hansen is the primary shareholder along with his son and daughter, thus ensuring critical management control of finance, operations and sales. Hansen created an industry leading production model based on maximizing cost efficiencies, which makes AH Wines highly competitive during today’s challenging economic times.
To further solidify AH Wine’s production efficiency model, they completed construction of a 6 million bottle, state of the art winery in Lodi, California. The new winery was built on the premise of establishing an unprecedented level of quality standards, while achieving cost efficiencies unmatched by any winery of similar or greater size.
Hansen has been regularly quoted by numerous wine writers, business media, such as CNN radio as well as other major business sources. He has been a keynote speaker, presenter and panelist for many wine and business events throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Hansen was a graduate of California State University, Fresno, where he earned a degree in Agricultural Economics and Marketing, and served two terms as President of the Student Body.