After growing and selling a successful tech company, Chris Parker founded New Horizon Wines by turning his passion into an international business.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in wine. Not just drinking it, but the whole art and science of it. In my twenties, I set up a company in the U.K. to introduce wines from lesser-known regions,” said Parker. His love of wine opened up a world of flavors from different regions.
“One of the countries was New Zealand. At that time, nobody knew about New Zealand,” he said. When he moved to Virginia, he felt the same surprise at the wine here as he did in New Zealand.
“It’s going to take a while– but New Zealand started off with $50,000 of export and it’s now a multi-billion-dollar industry,” said Parker. “Virginia could potentially head that way.”
Parker said that while Virginia’s climate is difficult for wine grapes, many of the world’s best wines are grown in risky places. Virginia also has a long history of winemaking, tracing back at least as far as Thomas Jefferson.
New Horizons Wine has already made headway in listing Virginia wines in upscale restaurants all over the U.K., including multiple top dining spots in London.
Parker’s previous experience in the tech industry translated well to wine.
“The fundamentals are exactly the same. Whether you’re starting a tech company or whether you’re starting a wine company, it’s really recognizing an opportunity, a gap in the market, understanding the market well enough… to say, okay, I can do something here,” said Parker.
“Our mission, really, was to put Virginia on the world stage, as a credible producer of high-quality wines,” he said.