Robert Foye, CEO of Accolade Wines , an amazingly thoughtful global leader who knows how to scale big-time, joined me for a fun episode of The Reboot Chronicles to dive into what’s next for one of the world’s largest wine companies, on track to be a global powerhouse.

From 1836 to The Millennials

With their first winery founded in 1836, Accolade has a fascinating history and expanding footprint, up to becoming a part of one of the largest private equity firms, Carlye Group. The company is built on a rich heritage and has been grown into a leading global wine company that produces some of the best-known brands admired worldwide. With over 70 brands and 50 vineyards, Accolade is number one in the UK market, number two in the Australia market and, in my opinion, just beginning to tap the massive potential of the U.S. and China markets....not to mention Millennials.

Shared Experiences: People-Food-Wine-Conversation

Wine has stood the test of time as it has been around since the beginning of civilization. Not everyone drinks the same bottle of wine, but it shares a commonality, bringing people together. With this mentality, Robert has led the company in newer directions, one of which is targeting Millennials. He explains when the company innovates, they use a millennial lens to create a very appealing product experience. Millennials are known for being adventurous, enjoy trying new experiences, and fond of out of the box products or services. In response Accolade has invented some cool drinks, like Madam Sass and Jamshed, two catchy, innovative brands with playful names and great taste.

Growth & Innovation: Wild Brand Names and Smart Roll-ups

Robert describes, when companies are looking to innovate and grow, they need to establish a stellar management team and dive into the untapped products, packaging and markets, like some of his differentiated vegan, low calorie and organic initiatives. The U.S. and China are somewhat untapped markets that Accolade is gearing up to expand in big-time. The company especially has a strong emphasis on the Chinese market, and is looking to target the luxury consumer. According to McKinsey, 40% of Chinese spend on luxury goods, providing a nice opportunity for the company to have an assortment of premium wine brands. Nearly 80% of Chinese consumption is red wine, and in 2018 red sales amounted to $65 billion and is expected to double by 2022.  Held back prior, the company now is able to properly tap the market with partners that can help lead the company into a hyper-growth zone. And in terms of the US, keep an eye out for some exciting launches over the coming years.

Leadership Advice

Having successes and failures himself, Robert has learned a lot from them. He recommends a back to the basics leadership approach, like surrounding yourself with the right team, because people matter and you will have ample opportunities to do amazing things together. In addition, Robert has carved out some room (and the often overlooked, budget) to make mistakes, so his teams can grow. He urges leaders to do the same, so your people are less afraid to fail, with experiences that can make them stronger, and journeys they can live through and learn from.

Watch us here or tune in wherever you listen to podcasts.

About The Reboot Chronicles Podcast: Hosted by Dean DeBiase, The Reboot Chronicles is a popular no-holds-barred podcast on iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and YouTube that has been bringing together CEOs, entrepreneurs, authors, and global leaders, for over a decade, to discuss how organizations are rebooting their leadership-competitiveness of everything from growth, innovation, and technology to talent, culture, and governance. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts or at

Named a "Growth Guru" by Inc. Magazine, Dean DeBiase is a Faculty Member at Kellogg School of Management and Silicon Valley serial CEO, where he has served in chief executive and chairman roles of more than a dozen emerging growth companies, CEO of Fortune 500 subsidiaries, and a director on public, private, family-enterprise, CVC, PE and VC boards. He is a Technology Fellow at Northwestern University, a Board Leadership Fellow at The National Association of Corporate Directors, and an Advisor to the National Science Foundation. A Forbes Contributor and co-author of the best-selling book The Big Moo, Dean, is working on his next book, Dancing with Startups. Connect with Dean here:


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