Recruiting Case Study: Government Affairs Pro for Total Wine | Executive Recruitment Firm

      Case Study: Recruiting a Government Affairs Professional for Total Wine

      Client: Total Wine & More
      Industry: Retail (Specialty – Alcoholic Beverages)
      Objective: Recruit a proven Government Affairs Professional with expertise in local, state, and federal regulations.


      Total Wine & More, America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, spirits, and beer, is expanding its operations across multiple states. As such, navigating the complex regulatory environment associated with alcohol sales becomes increasingly crucial. To ensure compliance and leverage opportunities for advocacy, Total Wine sought to recruit a seasoned Government Affairs Professional.


      The primary challenge was to find a candidate who not only had a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape at all governmental levels but also possessed the strategic acumen to influence policy decisions favorably. Furthermore, the candidate needed to align with Total Wine’s corporate culture and values, demonstrating a commitment to responsible business practices.


      1. Defining Requirements: We conducted in-depth discussions with Total Wine’s senior management to understand the specific qualifications, experiences, and personal attributes essential for the role. Key requirements included a strong background in public policy, exceptional negotiation skills, and a proven track record in government relations.
      2. Targeted Search: Utilizing our extensive network and database, we identified potential candidates who met the stringent criteria. We also targeted professionals currently working in similar roles within the industry and related sectors such as hospitality and retail.
      3. Screening and Evaluation: Candidates underwent a rigorous screening process, including detailed interviews and scenario-based assessments to evaluate their knowledge and skills in navigating governmental policies and their ability to advocate effectively on behalf of Total Wine.
      4. Engagement and Advocacy Skills Testing: We organized workshops where candidates simulated advocacy efforts to change hypothetical regulatory frameworks, providing a practical demonstration of their strategic thinking and persuasive abilities.
      5. Cultural Fit and Ethical Alignment: Recognizing the importance of alignment with Total Wine’s corporate culture, candidates were evaluated on their commitment to ethical practices and social responsibility, essential for representing Total Wine.


      After a comprehensive recruitment process, a standout candidate was hired. The selected Government Affairs Professional brought over 15 years of experience in the field, with substantial connections at local, state, and federal levels. Their first initiatives included:

      • Regulatory Mapping: Developing a detailed analysis of the current regulatory landscape affecting Total Wine’s operations across various states.
      • Strategic Advocacy Plan: Implementing a strategic advocacy plan to address key legislative challenges and opportunities.
      • Stakeholder Engagement: Establishing and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders and policymakers to enhance Total Wine’s influence and presence in critical decision-making arenas.


      The successful recruitment of a world-class Government Affairs Professional has positioned Total Wine more favorably within the regulatory environment. This strategic hiring not only enhances compliance and advocacy efforts but also supports the company’s broader expansion strategies, ensuring sustainable growth and market leadership.

      About Total Wine & More

      Total Wine & More is America’s Wine Superstore® — the country‘s largest independent retailer of fine wine. We started in 1991 when brothers David and Robert Trone opened a small store in Delaware. Today, we operate 266 superstores across 28 states and continue to grow.

      We’re passionate about wine, and know many of our customers feel the same way. So we are committed to offering the nation’s best wine selection, with an emphasis on fine wines. Our typical store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world. The typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America’s most popular brands to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits in every style and price range.

      We’re also committed to having the lowest prices on wine, spirits and beer every day. Our tremendous buying power and special relationships with producers, importers and wholesalers bring us considerable savings, which we pass on to our customers.

      It’s our Team Members who make the Total Wine & More shopping experience so special. Total Wine & More employs more than 11,000 dedicated men and women, including 2,102 wine service team members and 427 of our most knowledgeable wine experts, the Total Wine Professionals. All of our wine team members participate in extensive training programs, weekly team wine tastings and monthly wine-producer seminars. Many travel to winemaking regions to meet our producers and learn about their wines firsthand.

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