One of the largest suppliers of wine to the world’s airlines and cruise ships has become 100 percent employee owned.

Intervine, headquartered in California’s Napa Valley, became 100 percent employee owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). ESOP’s were established by the United States Government nearly 50 years ago as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, there are approximately 6,500 ESOPS currently operating in the U.S. covering more than 14 million employees.

During a surprise celebration in January, founders Colleen May and Michael Borck presented each team member with T-shirts emblazoned with “I Just Bought a Company” alongside Intervine’s logo.

“It’s long been our dream to give back to the those who have made Intervine the world leader it is today,” said May. “We saw this as the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of the team-oriented culture and success we have built together.”

Intervine is a full-service wine management company representing more than 300 wineries around the world for sales, marketing and distribution to airlines and cruise lines. Last year, Intervine sourced and supplied more than 1.4 million cases of wine flying on 30 airlines in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America as well as sailing on more than 15 major cruise lines.

Intervine also manages the full wine programs of several airlines including the three-cabin service of American Airline’s 6,700 daily flights to 350 destinations in over 50 countries.

Borck, who co-founded Intervine with May in 1991, called it one of the proudest days of his life. “We have always believed that investing in talented, highly skilled people is what separates good companies from exceptional companies. Now this amazing team will enjoy all the benefits of being employee-owners.”

Ed Matovcik, who has led Intervine over the past 9 years as President, has been named President and CEO. He has served on several boards including the Wine Institute and Napa Valley Vintners. Before joining Intervine, Matovcik was a senior executive at Beringer Vineyards. He is a graduate of Columbia’s School of Business where he earned an MBA in international marketing.

May and Borck will continue their involvement as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

Source:  Associated Press (press release)