Hubbard One Ex-Leaders Now Selling Wine

Kent_zimmerman135_2 Ever wonder what happened to Kent Zimmermann and John Fish after they sold Hubbard One to Thompson West?  These two guys built up a Web business that had much of the AmLaw 100 law firms as customers, and they won several entrepreneur-of-the-year awards.  So how do you follow that up?  Kent briefly went to Thompson's LegalWorks conference business, but left after about a year.  John I totally lost track of.

They're  back, according to the June 19 issue of Crain's Chicago Business: They're set up a web site at and they're reselling bottles of boutique wine to connoisseurs in the 33 states that allow direct shipping of wine.  The U.S. Supreme Court made this business possible with a ruling last year that overturned laws banning cross-border shipping of wine.

Zimmerman, age 34, said they're picking "diamonds in the rough" -- small wineries that produce a few thousand cases a year and that are not widely distributed.  John and Kent net a 15% commission from each sale.  Fish, also 34, has his father scour the wine publications to find high-ranking wines from small, family-run vineyards.

They're promoting the Web site by sending direct mail to Wine Spectator subscribers, and contacting associations of professionals, like lawyers.  While they may face competition, it's a good market niche: the price of a $7+ bottle of California wine grew 13% to 58 million cases last year.

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