San Francisco Wine Exchange Appoints Diego Lo Prete as General Manager, Executive Vice President

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| Source: San Francisco Wine Exchange

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The San Francisco Wine Exchange (SFWE), America's oldest independent wine marketing agency and a leading importer of fine wine, announced today the appointment of Diego Lo Prete to the position of General Manager, Executive Vice President. Lo Prete's new position was effective January 20, 2014. Lo Prete will report to Hugh Thacher, President of SFWE, who founded the company in 1975.

Lo Prete joins SFWE with over 20 years of management experience. His career began in the consumer goods business, working with companies like Danone from France and Parmalat from Italy, where he discovered his passion for the wine business. Lo Prete has extensive marketing and sales experience in many of the world's leading wine markets, where he created and managed both imported and domestic brand portfolios.

Lo Prete has lived in Spain, Argentina and the U.S., and worked in numerous other countries, including Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Continental Europe, Brazil, Latin America, Caribbean, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. He has a Master's in Integrated Marketing from Northwestern University and expects to earn his Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirits Trust in London this year.

Lo Prete's most recent post was head of global marketing and communications at Barcelona-based Grupo Codorniu. He was a member of Codorniu's executive board where he oversaw marketing in the company's 80+ markets, including the USA. Previously, Lo Prete spent seven years at Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery in California, where he managed many of Gallo's global brands and a large portion of their imported wine portfolio. Prior to Gallo, Lo Prete directed Grupo Peñaflor in Argentina, one of the top ten wine companies in the world.

"It's clear why Diego will be an asset to the San Francisco Wine Exchange," said SFWE founder Hugh Thacher, "his experience, passion and knowledge of the wine business, coupled with his leadership skills and integrity make him a perfect fit. I know Diego will stimulate future growth with the brands we represent and trade partners. In particular, Lo Prete is one of the few people capable of making the changes and improvements necessary to position SFWE as a leading sales and marketing agency catering to premium wines into the next century. "Lo Prete agreed with Thacher, adding that he's "excited about being a major player in the changes and enhancements to make SFWE an example of successful sales and marketing management into the future."

The executive search for Lo Prete was conducted by The Cypress Group of St. Helena. Cypress is a leading business executive search firm focused exclusively on the wine industry.

The San Francisco Wine Exchange (www.sfwe.com) was founded in 1975 by Hugh Thacher and it is the oldest independent national wine marketing agency in the USA. SFWE oversees a national network of regional sales personnel from its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company represents a highly reputable portfolio of family-owned wineries from California, Washington, Chile, New Zealand, and Argentina. For more information about SFWE please call 415.546.0484.

Tim McDonald, Wine Spoken Here

707-363-0174