Partners in Wine

October 10, 2011 |

pioneerblog-partnersinwineAlumni Business Spotlight: Pioneer Wine Company. Marquis Sauvage, BSBA 1991; MBA 1993, Alan Sauvage, BSBA 1993, Greg Kassanoff, BSBA 1992

Growing up in Oberlin, Kansas with an entrepreneurial father, Marquis and Alan Sauvage seemed destined to be businessmen. Shortly after Marquis graduated in 1993, he and a friend, John McGuigan, BA 1989; MA 1997, opened Enoteca Lodo, and after two years, business was so hectic and successful, they sold Enoteca in 1995. Through his wine bar, Marquis became familiar with the distribution business and with the help of Alan and his father started Classic Wines in 1995, distributing wine throughout Denver and western Colorado. The Sauvage brothers continued to expand their wine enterprises in Chicago, California, Las Vegas, and even internationally in Germany and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Marquis’ college roommate, Greg Kassanoff enjoyed a successful career in investment banking after graduating from Daniels, but when his triplets were born in 2005, Kassanoff says it was time for a change. Soon, he was in talks with Marquis about teaming up to do what Marquis does best: wine. In 2007, Marquis and Kassanoff founded Pioneer Wine Company in Texas—named for their alma mater. In just over three years in business, Pioneer is at $14 million in annual revenues and growing.

For Alan, it is a similar passion that makes his job an ideal fit. Nearly two decades since they were DU Pioneers, Kassanoff and the Sauvages believe that their solid foundation in business set them up to succeed. “Daniels provided the technical and theoretical fundamentals of business,” says Alan. “I’m very proud to tell people I went to DU: the Harvard of the West.”

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