Greek vintner entering U.S. market with VCU assist

ikos Kavounis, second from right, is bringing his Greek sparkling wine to the U.S. with help from VCU MBA students Jonathan Stoffer, left, Matt Guise and Kristina Friar. Photo by Jonathan Spiers, Richmond BizSense.
ikos Kavounis, second from right, is bringing his Greek sparkling wine to the U.S. with help from VCU MBA students Jonathan Stoffer, left, Matt Guise and Kristina Friar. Photo by Jonathan Spiers, Richmond BizSense.

A trio of graduate students in VCU’s School of Business is helping a Greek vintner uncork the U.S. market.

Kristina Friar, Matt Guise and Jonathan Stoffer, three students in the school’s executive MBA program, spent the past year developing a go-to-market strategy for Chimera sparkling wine, marketed by Athens-based Oinovation.

Nikos Kavounis, founder of Oinovation – its name a combination of “innovation” and “oinos,” the Greek word for wine – met the students last year at a business incubator when they visited Greece through the school’s “Global Challenges” program. The trips expose students to facets of international business and tasked them with helping entrepreneurs and startups with various challenges.

The challenge for Kavounis was how to market Chimera, a sparkling wine infused with organic saffron, to U.S. importers and distributors. Through the strategy the students developed, Kavounis was connected with three importer-distributors, including Richmond-based Athinian Imports Inc.

Read the full story in Richmond BizSense

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