As a Certified Public Accountant out of college, he didn’t look the part, yet finance eventually led him to wine – in 1994 he became the CFO and founding member of a what was then a new retail wine and spirits store called Beverages and More. Today Bev Mo’ is one of the leading fine wine and spirits chains on the west coast.
After an ‘Illuminating’ climb up the corporate ladder at a startup candle company, Dennis jumped off to start his own consultancy that focused on wine.
In 2001, he assisted in the sale of Blackstone to Constellation, and thus began a long association with Purple Wine Company, which he helped found, and then ran as the President and COO for the next 12 years.
Over the next decade, Carroll led Purple Wine Company in building some of today’s most popular everyday wine brands – such as Mark West, Avalon, and later Four Vines.
In 2012, Purple Wine Company sold Mark West to Constellation, and Carroll left Purple to sit on a beach in Hawaii, where he had time to reflect and imagine the next entrepreneurial venture. Thus the idea of Wine Hooligans was born.
The goal of Wine Hooligans was straightforward – to both create and reinvent artisan wine brands with identity, purpose, and authenticity; and put them in the hands of as many wine drinkers as possible.
His first priority was to find his Hooligans – the irreverent artisan winemakers who would stand behind each and every wine.
And he found them. Today, Wine Hooligans comprises five wine brands, four winemakers, and one Head Hooligan. Each brand is unique from the next, yet each one is made by an individual winemaker whose personality and experience is reflected in every bottle.
These are wines that are deeply connected to a specific California wine region - from Sonoma to the Central Coast. These are accessibly-priced wines that way over deliver in quality and story.
Carroll resurrected Cycles Gladiator by reuniting it with its original winemaker, Adam LaZarre, restoring its original, provocative and now iconic label, and refocusing fruit sourcing to the Central Coast appellation.
LaZarre as head winemaker for Wine Hooligans partners with winemaker Christian Tietje (Zin Bitch and Naked Chardonnay creator) to make the Sea Monster wines – racy, vibrant white wines, like Octopussy, that are perfect to wash down seafood.
Tietje, who built his Zin master reputation by making mind-blowing, single-vineyard Zinfandel, makes 3-Ball Zinfandel for the Hooligans, the tri-appellated Zinfandel from Sonoma, Paso, and Amador Counties.
Bob Goyette, the industry vet (and most legendary Hooligan), founded La Crema Winery in the 1970s and has been making wine in Sonoma County for over 35 years. He still sets the bar, crafting seamless, irresistible wines under the Stephen Vincent and Robert Goyette labels.
Finally, Brian and Stephy Terrizzi are the winemaker-viticulturist dream couple behind the Hooligans’ Broadside label – sustainably-farmed, native ferment wines that are mainstays on San Francisco restaurants’ hippest wine lists, and one of the New York Times’ 12 Great American Values.