Fresh Vine, a wine maker with a Minnesota address, has a rough debut on Wall Street – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Fresh Vine, a wine maker with a Minnesota address, has a rough debut on Wall Street – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Fresh Vine Wine Inc., a maker of low-carb wines whose founders include a Minnesota businessman and two TV actresses, raised about $22 million in an IPO on Tuesday — and saw its share price promptly sour.

The company, which has its corporate office in Plymouth, became the eighth Minnesota firm this year to complete an initial public offering. That makes 2021 the busiest year for IPOs by Minnesota businesses in more than two decades.

Late Monday, Fresh Vine announced an initial price for its 2.2 million shares of $10. But Fresh Vine shares closed Tuesday afternoon at $7.05, down 30% on its first day of trading. It traded as low as $6.81.

Founded in 2019, Fresh Vine’s low-carb, low-calorie wines are produced in Napa Valley, Calif. — not the Minneapolis suburbs — by a contract firm.

Representatives of Fresh Vine could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Actresses Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough are co-founders and have played an active role in the firm’s marketing. Dobrev is known for “The Vampire Diaries” TV series; Hough has been both a dancer and judge on “Dancing With the Stars.”

They’ve helped the company place Fresh Vine’s wines with retailers as varied as Total Wine, Hy-Vee and Walgreens in 32 states. But the company is still small.

For the first nine months of 2021, Fresh Vine reported revenue of $1.05 million and a net loss of $8.1 million. Startups typically report several years of losses while the business is being established.

The firm’s other co-founders, Damian Novak, Fresh Vine’s executive chairman, and Rick Nechio, its president, own the largest number of shares in the company. The pair’s private equity firm Nechio & Novak LLC will own 43.6% of the company after the offering.

Novak has been involved with numerous startups and manages his portfolio of business interests from the Twin Cities. Nechio brings industry experience including work with previous wine startups.

Dobrev and Hough will each own 9% of the company’s stock after the completion of the offering.

In its prospectus, the company stressed their key role in marketing the Fresh Vine brand: “Ms. Dobrev and Ms. Hough, who have a collective following of approximately 30million people on their Instagram social media platforms alone, actively promote our wines and we expect that they will continue to do so pursuant to the agreements we have in place with each of them.”

Golden Valley-based investment bank Oak Ridge Financial was the lead underwriter on the stock offering.

Companies everywhere have been going public this year, lured by the massive amounts of capital flowing through Wall Street. There have been 393 IPOs so far in 2021, an 85% increase from this time last year, according to Renaissance Capital, a Stamford, Conn.-based investment research firm.

Fresh Vine is hardly alone as an IPO trading under its offering price. Despite the large number of offerings in 2021, the Renaissance IPO Index was down 10.3% for the year as of Tuesday’s market close.