Napa vintners are getting in on the go-anywhere glass game. KR Rombauer III, of Rombauer Vineyards, and Erik Nickel, of Nickel & Nickel winery, announced this week they had bought a majority share of govino, maker of on-the-go shatterproof wine glasses.
Since its founding a decade ago in St. Helena, the company has spread its signature thumb-notched plastic glasses from its first local accounts at Sunshine Foods Market, Dean & DeLuca and Oakville Grocery to a wide-reaching national market. Today, the glasses are commonplace at events like Outside Lands and BottleRock, and made an appearance at the French Laundry’s 20th anniversary.
“We took plastic to another level,” said founder Joseph Perrulli, who is also a partner in the company, now with Rombauer and Nickel. “What everyone realized is that we finally solved a problem where fragile crystal couldn’t go there’s this go-anywhere wine glass.”
From the beginning, Rombauer and Nickel have been two of the company’s key supporters. Rombauer, in particular, was instrumental in helping the brand gain national traction, Perrulli said, as the vintner would offer the shatterproof glasses to distributors.
“If I can’t have fine crystal stemware, the only other alternative is govino,” Rombauer said in a release.
“I have been a huge fan of govino and Joseph from day one,” Nickel said in the release, dubbing the glassware “a brilliantly conceived go-anywhere vessel that blends innovative design and practicality with elegance.”
With its 10th anniversary this year, the company is aiming to grow its national distribution and has plans to step into the alternative wine packaging market, hoping to compete with cans and other single-serve vessels “that aren’t really aspiring to wine connoisseurs,” Perrulli said.
As for its main line, the company has also tweaked its product to be dishwasher safe and better for reuse, after complaints from users, Perrulli said. “We say reuse is the greatest part of sustainability, other than that its one-use plastic.”
The acquisitions are personal investments by each vintner and are not associated with their families’ wineries. The deal comes as former govino partners, including Ladera founder Pat Stotesbury, were divesting of their portfolio, Perrulli said, and Rombauer and Nickel stepped in.
“Just the timing was perfect,” Perrulli added.