James Martin is the entrepreneur behind Copa Di Vino, a line of premium wine sold by the glass (well, a single-serve plastic contoured cup.) He left his family-owned vineyard in The Dalles, Oregon to travel to Los Angeles to pitch his wine by the glass business on Shark Tank in March 2011. He went into Tank seeing $600,000 in exchange for 30 percent equity. His presentation was a memorable one as the Sharks were initially interested in the business but found him “coy” among other things. No deal was made. Martin was invited to pitch the business again on Shark Tank a year later. But a lot had changed since then. According to Copa di Vino, their sales went from $600k to $5 million in that one year. Martin did go back into the Tank but again no deal was made — and all the Sharks agreed they didn’t regret passing again.
After the second Shark Tank appearance, Copa Di Vino was featured for a third time on ABC — on a 20/20 two-hour special, “The Road to $100 Million,” which featured Shark Tank products made in America and the entrepreneurs behind them. In the Columbia River Gorge, Martin and his wife Molli Martin spoke about their latest project — the revitalization of the local abandoned Sunshine Mill (formerly owned by the Sunshine Biscuit Company that made products including Cheez-It crackers). The Martins have turned it into a tourist destination. The old mill now houses the Copa di Vino headquarters, a shop and winery where daily wine tastings and private events are held. The Sharks may not regret passing on Copa Di Vino, but James Martin doesn’t seem to regret it either.