Andrew Bishop, 45, grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut, toured in a rock band, had a stint in the 1990’s as bar manager at “Boston’s first real wine bar,” Les Zygomates, and in 2000 bought a container of wine in Western Australia, brought it into the U.S. and sold it all. Today he’s founder and owner of Oz Wine Company. Bishop lives with his wife Chom and two sons in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Oz imports and distributes wine from 175 properties in 10 countries. Among those that will be familiar to Central Bottle regulars are Domaine Richou, Mas de Libian, Vadiaperti, and Bodegas de Ameztoi. I sat down with Andrew earlier this month in Cambridge. What follows is an edited transcript of our chat.
The transition from wine bar manager to wine importer seems logical enough, but how did it happen?
I was getting tired of the restaurant life in 1999, five years at it seemed to be enough. I was single and had saved some money. I started traveling and visited my ex-stepfather and his friends in Hong Kong. They had some money to invest, were interested in the wine business and asked me to help. I traveled to California and Australia for them, looked at some vineyards, and put together a little bit of a business plan. I told them that they were looking at millions of dollars and that somebody would have to know how to grow grapes and make wine.