Get to know V2 Wine Group’s Keith Wesselschmidt, winner of a North Bay Business Journal CFO award.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF A FINANCIAL LEADER IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT?
Being able to perform multiple roles. For instance, I also handle Human Resources and new business development.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
The biggest changes in the alcohol industry is the consolidation of retailers and the consolidation of distributors.
TELL US ABOUT THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS MET IN THE RECENT PAST.
“With the growth of the craft beer segment and the growth of the craft spirit segment it has been a challenge to stick with our wine-only strategy. I believe wine has good long term growth opportunities where the others may falter.’
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG EMERGING FINANCIAL LEADERS?
I worked 26 years for one company (Anheuser-Busch). When you find a good company stick with it.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE FOR WEATHERING TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT?
Constantly monitor the trends and try to stay in front of them. Read all you can.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
V2 Wine Group will double its revenue, much of that coming from organic growth.
WHAT IS A DECISION YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
In one of the economic downturns I sold some stock even though my wife advised against it. I learned that is a bad investment strategy.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?
A business trip to Beijing and Quindao China in the 1990s including The Great Wall and Forbidden City.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS SUCCESS?
Being able to learn and perform various roles within Anheuser-Busch and V2 Wine Group.
WHAT WAS YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS DECISION?
Moving from St Louis to California to become Director of Wine Development after 25 years in STL.
WHAT WOULD YOUR FRIENDS BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
I am also CFO of Fish Window Cleaning, my wife’s East Bay-based business. (I say “CFO”; she says “bookkeeper.”)
Most admired businessperson outside the company: Elon Musk
Current reading: “The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party”
Most want to meet: My future grandchildren
Favorite activities outside work: Watching almost any sport, including the Olympics
Chief financial officer and vice president of new business development
V2 Wine Group
584 First St. E., Sonoma, CA 95476
Professional background: Wine and beer finance, strategy and operations
Education: MBA, University of Kansas