Wine Wars: Fallout from Direct Cellars’ collapse
Since our coverage of Direct Cellars’ collapse yesterday, additional details have emerged.
Most noticeably, there appears to be a behind the scenes struggle to retain Direct Cellars distributors.
Typically this takes place on social media and rarely expands beyond a 1:1 relationship. For Direct Cellars distributors however, at least one offer appears to be supported at the corporate level.
In our article yesterday we detailed Sherry Leasure jumping ship to iGalen. This took place five months ago, despite Leasure awkwardly boasting about having built a 10,000 strong Direct Cellars downline.
Anyway, that’s one option.
Direct Cellars corporate emailed distributors to announce the collapse on October 12th.
Due to adverse conditions and a lack of immediate financing, Direct Cellars has made the difficult decision to suspend its direct selling business operations until further notice.
Accordingly, we are terminating all Rep Agreements.
During this period, Direct Cellars will no longer process new orders for wine club members or accept new members.
All orders placed before today’s date will ship in the near future and we will provide tracking details at that time.
Three hours later Direct Cellars corporate followed up with another email.
This second email directed Direct Cellars distributors to a pitch from Travelling Vineyard CEO Rick Libby.
A $79 enrollment “special offer” was included with the email.
The pitch was purportedly sent out by Direct Cellars President Kevin Raulston. Rick Libby thanked Raulston for “hosting” him in his pitch video.
Three days later on October 14th, Direct Cellars corporate sent out a third email.
If you missed Kevin Raulston’s address to Direct Cellars on Saturday, we wanted to remind you about the call happening today with Traveling Vineyard.
For Direct Cellars members, this is a no pressure, no-obligation call. We simply wanted to give you an option to continue pursuing your passion for entrepreneurship and wine.
While all this is going on, Direct Cellars distributors are also being pitched Wine Ambassador.
Wine Ambassador launched in 2016 and hasn’t really gone anywhere. Wine Ambassador’s official Facebook page hasn’t been updated since August 2018.
The company is keen to attract Direct Cellars distributors though, going so far as to now include Rory Ricord on the company’s founders page.
Following Direct Cellars’ collapse, Ricord has been appointed Wine Ambassador’s CEO.
I wasn’t able to pin down an exact date, but Ricord’s LinkedIn profile confirms he only took the position this month.
Things have grown into an amazing and blessed situation as we progress in the Direct Sales, and Direct To Consumer Marketplace of Wine.
I am taking the helm of an incredible Wine of the Month Club program that we are growing Globally.
Ricord was a prominent 3 Star Direct Cellars distributor. He also was deep into the marketing tools side of the business, which he offers through “RRR247”.
RRR247 has already been repurposed to pitch Wine Ambassador, complete with “demand a refund from Direct Cellars” instructions:
The fall of Direct Cellars appears to have created a vacuum, inside of which anything goes.
While Sherry Leasure and Rory Ricord are free to pitch their respective company offers to Direct Cellars distributors, the pitch from corporate is disturbing.
Likely for an undisclosed sum of money, it appears Direct Cellars corporate sold access to their distributors to Travelling Vineyard.
Either access to just distributor emails, or the entire distributor database itself.
That’s not to say Travelling Vineyard can just sign up people without consent. No, they still need distributors to sign up – but if I was a Direct Cellars distributor I wouldn’t appreciate my details being passed on like that.
Remember, all it took was three hours for Direct Cellars corporate to announce they were terminating distributors en masse, to pitching a competitor to distributors they’d just dumped.
Pretty shonky guys.
As it stands I wasn’t familiar with either Travelling Vineyard or Wine Ambassador. Both have now been added to BehindMLM’s review list.