Diane Karle, Wine By Design
In 2004, Diane Karle took note of what was happening in the wine space: The wine auction market was on fire, wine bars were popping up everywhere and large companies were using expensive wines as a form of entertainment for clients.
Three years later, Karle began thinking about the business side of the category. She targeted wine as a lifestyle vertical and recognized an unmet need that existed in the cross-sector of the sports fan and the wine drinker.
“That was when I said ‘there’s no real agency that is … representing the category,’” she said. “It was an undervalued, kind of undermarketed category within all sports teams.”
So in 2008, Karle launched Wine by Design, an agency that sells licensed and team-branded wines, manages wine sponsorships and produces events.
Using the sports contacts that she built up over her career — including six years as a vice president at IMG and three years at Carat, where she launched the agency’s sports and entertainment business in 2002 — she landed her first client, the New York Jets.
Her company now services a client portfolio that includes an exclusive wine license for all 30 Major League Baseball teams and team-by-team deals in the NBA and the NFL, including the first commissioned commemorative Super Bowl wine.
“I saw an opportunity at a very relevant time to change the perception and what could be happening with wine,” Karle said. “That was an illustration of, you know, changing the game for that category.”
— Elly Cosgrove