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History of Via Pacifica

The company was founded in 1998, by Howard and Shelley Kalmer to import wines from New Zealand into the United States. In 2005, David Duckhorn was retained by the Kalmer's to offer insight regarding wine sales and strategic direction. David's family started Duckhorn Vineyards, in 1978, and he has been involved in the wine industry his entire life.


In 2006 David went with his friend Steven Zhao, of Sushi Tozai, in Sebastopol, CA to Shanghai, to explore the market and both came back impressed with the unique opportunity to leverage their knowledge of California wines and western food, so in 2008, David organized an investor group and purchased Via Pacifica Selections from the Kalmer family. David revised the Company mission to create a vertically integrated business that owns, manages and distributes Pacific Rim wine brands in the United States and China.


That same year 2008, in March, David officially launched the distribution company in China, representing Duckhorn Vineyards, Ehlers Estate, and Lancaster Estate and he moved to Shanghai, devoted full time to Via Pacifica Selection in China. Today, the Company imports and distributes twelve California brands, throughout China, from three offices located in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Chengdu.

Having such a strong focus, dedication and success in China, early in 2016 David partnered Chilean winemaker and Sonoma State University MBA Vicente Johnson to revitalize the original Via Pacifica US business by strengthening the portfolio from Pacific Rim countries and keeping focus on producing and distributing wines from South America, New Zealand and California in the United States. With Vicente taking care of vineyards and wines in South America and David growing the business in China, they invited Cristobal Fernandez, to run the US company. Cristobal has a strong agriculture and winemaking background from his family but he has spent his entire career working in wine sales and marketing positions internationally in Europe and North America, understanding both producers and distributors needs to build brands and create long term business relationships.

Our Team

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