SONOMA COUNTY, Calif., (November 12, 2020) – Foley Family Wines is proud to announce that its Chief Marketing Officer, Gerard Thoukis has won the 2020 Wine Star Award for Wine Executive of the Year from Wine Enthusiast magazine. The award highlights individuals that made outstanding achievements over the past year in the wine and alcoholic beverage industry.
“Under Gerard Thoukis’ leadership Foley Family Wines has been incredibly innovative and very smart about how they react to the marketplace,” says Adam Strum, Editor and Publisher of Wine Enthusiast. “Gerard is a quintessential luxury brand builder.”
Succeeding a family legacy, Gerard Thoukis was exposed to the wine industry at a very young age. His grandfather was a wine and spirits maker on the island of Cyprus, his father immigrated to the US to study winemaking at UC Davis and retired as the VP of winemaking for E. & J. Gallo after 45 years of service. Following their footsteps, Thoukis studied fermentation science at UC Davis and also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Notre Dame before throwing himself into wine sales and marketing. His early career was spent with E. & J. Gallo leading teams in sales, marketing of both wine and spirits, and e-commerce. After 21 years of learning and success with E. & J. Gallo, Thoukis joined Foley Family Wines in 2017 as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Capability before assuming the role of Chief Marketing Officer in 2019.
At Foley Family Wines, Thoukis has been responsible for leading the strategy and execution of all aspects of consumer communication, new brand and product development, analytics, pricing, and go-to-market channel strategies. He is a member of the team who helped guide various acquisitions for Foley Family Wines over the past three years including Acrobat, Banshee, and most recently, Ferrari Carano. He has also been instrumental in the creation of new brand concepts including El Pino Club, a Pinot Noir focused brand sourced from world-renowned appellations, Headturner Wine Co., which is positioned around distinguished Washington winemaker Holly Turner, as well as various customer exclusive concepts for Foley Family Wines.
“We are very grateful to have Gerard’s leadership, creativity, and hard work ethic at Foley Family Wines,” says Second Generation Vintner Courtney Foley. “He has been a great inspiration and a trusted colleague to me. I value his commitment to our team members, setting high standards, and creating a thriving culture at Foley Family Wines.”
His colleagues will tell you his greatest accomplishment is the positive, collaborative work culture he strives to establish. “I have been very fortunate to have a direct and positive impact on my current team members and former direct reports, many of whom are now executives at various wine and spirit companies,” says Thoukis. “With the help of my executive leadership team colleagues, our president, and the Foley family, I aim to make Foley Family Wines a great place to work where strategy, innovation, a customer and consumer mindset, along with striving for greatness every day are not only revered but expected.” Since joining Foley Family Wines, Thoukis has played an integral role in the development of Foley Family Wines’ mission, vision, and core values. He has spearheaded greater collaboration among functional areas, and has become notorious for his mantra of “just make progress every day.” Thoukis said, “We will never be the largest wine company. However, we strive to ensure that our industry partners and customers view FFW as the most prepared, innovative, focused, and supportive luxury wine partner that they work with.”
“I am extremely humbled, honored, and quite frankly surprised to be recognized in this way by Wine Enthusiast,” says Thoukis. “I am very grateful to my team, my colleagues, Foley Family Wines’s President Shawn Schiffer, and the Foley family. I am also very thankful and appreciative of the many mentors that I have had throughout my career. In business and in life, we can never be successful by ourselves. I appreciate the recognition but I have been lifted by many, many talented people that have helped me, and continue to help me, throughout my career.”
About Foley Family Wines
Established by Bill Foley in 1996, Foley Family Wines is a portfolio of highly-acclaimed wines from some of the world’s greatest vineyards. Every brand in the company’s portfolio has a distinct style and legacy. Foley Family Wines owns the following properties in California: Ferrari-Carano (Sonoma County), Foley Sonoma (Geyserville), Chalone Vineyard (Monterey), Foley Estates (Sta. Rita Hills), Lincourt Vineyards (Solvang), Merus (Napa Valley), Foley Johnson (Napa Valley), Kuleto (Napa Valley), Chalk Hill (Sonoma County), Sebastiani (Sonoma County), Lancaster Estate (Sonoma County), Langtry Estate (Lake County), Firestone Vineyard (Santa Ynez Valley), Eos Winery (Paso Robles), Roth Estate Winery (Sonoma County) and Banshee (Sonoma County). In the Northwest, the company owns Three Rivers Winery (Walla Walla, Washington), Acrobat (Western Oregon) and The Four Graces (Dundee, OR). In New Zealand, the company owns Vavasour (Marlborough), Clifford Bay (Marlborough), Grove Mill (Marlborough), Dashwood (Marlborough), Martinborough Vineyard (Martinborough), Te Kairanga (Martinborough) and Mt. Difficulty (Bannockburn, Central Otago).
This year, all full-time and contributing divisions (Sales, Events, Marketing, Editorial) of Wine Enthusiast Media were invited to submit nominees for our Wine Star Awards categories and submitted their nominations anonymously, with explanations of what made the nomination appropriate for consideration. That list of nominees was then sent to the group for anonymous voting to cull the larger nominee lists down. Final winners were chosen from the culled down list by the Executive Publishing team with selections based on many factors, including impact on consumers and trade in the wine, spirits, or beer space, commercial successes, company/brand vision, and trendsetting. The Wine Star Awards are an overall beverage industry awards program. While the editors are invited to participate, this is a collaborative program incorporating the input of all divisions of the Wine Enthusiast company and is not a specifically editorial franchise