West Sacramento-based Raley’s has been named 2016 “Retailer of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast, which publishes a wine industry magazine and widely circulated catalog.
Raley’s was among the annual “Wine Star Awards” winners, who will be formally recognized Jan. 30 in Miami.
Wine Enthusiast cited Raley’s in-store wine departments that emulate “fine wine shops” and praised the grocer for “having the courage to reimagine its wine and spirits category and the expertise to turn it into a thriving business.”
Wine Enthusiast also cited Raley’s 2013 hiring of Curtis Mann, the local company’s director of wine, beer and spirits.
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When he joined Raley’s, Mann had more than a dozen years in California's wine and hospitality industries, including management stints at the Trinchero Family Estates winery in St. Helena and The Vine at Bridges shop in Danville. He's also completed extensive training from the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust, a London-based organization that covers all aspects of wine education, from product knowledge to retail management.
Wine Enthusiast added: “Under Mann’s direction and the support of Keith Knopf, the company’s chief operating officer who came on board in 2015, Raley’s overhauled its formerly staid wine program.”
That overhaul included an eclectic mix of distributors and international brands, incorporating a diverse line of spirits in its revamped, in-store wine shops.