Est. 2001. Importer & Distributor of Fine Wine, Craft Spirits, and Ginjo Sake

About Us

Established in 2001, Cream is owned and operated by partners Andy Pates and Mark Payne. Cream is a Chicago-based, independent importer and distributor of fine wine, craft spirits, ginjo sake, beer and cider. The company has grown organically over the years from two passionate entrepreneurs into a focused team of professionals who remain committed to providing the highest level of service and selection to the top restaurants and wine shops in the great state of Illinois. 

The Cream of the Crop
Born from a need for a small, focused and progressive boutique wine service that professionally bridges the gap between vineyard and consumer, Cream has organically grown over the years to be recognized as one of the nation's leading artisan wine distributors and marketers. The Cream Team, a cohesive staff of passionate wine professionals, is committed to excellence in service. Our ever-expanding core customer list is comprised of the top restaurants and retailers in the state. Cream's thoughtful, balanced and very real Portfolio contains comprehensive, regional selections of some of the finest estates and winemakers on the planet.

It is our mission to provide the highest level of service. Every member of the Cream Team is a member of the Customer Service Team. Our goal is to deliver products in perfect condition, at the right temperature, invoiced properly and on time. Our Chicago-based warehouse is temperature-controlled, and our delivery trucks are temperature-controlled to ensure the product is ready for enjoyment upon arrival. Our priority is to continually improve upon our distribution services with better customer service, more human contact, accuracy of invoicing, timely delivery, professional drivers, etc. Our business is about wine, people & place with the most important asset being the people - employees, partners and customers - that make it all possible.

We achieve a high level of service by
- Utilizing cloud technology to generate real-time inventory for the entire team
- Having customer service personnel available by phone during business hours to answer all questions
- Educating team on product knowledge and sales techniques
- Owning temperature-controlled warehouse and trucks
- Conducting business in a transparent, professional and ethical manner
- Creating a website rich in content for the team and customers: sign up for a customer account to check stock status, create lists of wines and see net pricing.

We greatly appreciate your support over the years and look forward to improving your service for many years to come. Please do not hesitate to give us feedback on how we can do better.

Education & Special Events
A strong emphasis is placed on continued education of our staff and customers; we conduct one-on-one tastings, producer and grower seminars (videos), category 'Salon Series' tastings, portfolio tastings, trips to regions, etc. Be sure to check our events page for upcoming events. Rich content is also communicated to the team and market through online avenues: cream website, facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest.

Cream's portfolio is a balanced and thoughtful collection of top global artisans. We conduct trade tastings to showcase this fine collection where we ask winery owners, winemakers, vineyard managers and representatives to present new and current releases to Illinois' top restaurant and retail buyers. Our last comprehensive Cream Portfolio Tasting was held on June 10, 2013. The Fall Warehouse Tasting & Sale is a more informal trade event that is held to preview fall releases as well as clean out some aged inventory. This is held around the Autumnal Equinox (3rd week in September). Our newly created Salon Series is an informal, intimate tasting and education between the supplier, Cream Team and select, key buyers in the market. Salon Series are scheduled during supplier visits and coordinated with Portfolio Managers and Marketing.

Please contact your Cream Sales Representative to schedule a tasting or staff training. In particular, if you'd like to learn more about sake, the Cream Team has many professional sake warriors to help you with sake-related projects. Andy Pates, owner of Cream Wine Company, and Dan Fullick, On-premise Sales Manager, are considered Advanced Sake Professionals (ASP) having passed both Level I (Certified Sake Professional) and Level II of the Sake Professional Course. Along with Andy Pates and Dan Fullick, Dustin Ryan, James Adam and Krassi Boboshevsky have passed the Level I Certified Sake Professional Course.

Cream's portfolio is a balanced and thoughtful collection of top global artisans from the New and Old World. We place an emphasis on small, artisan and family-owned growers and producers in categories of fine wine, craft spirits, ginjo sake, beer and cider. Many are leaders in natural, organic and biodyanmic viticulture and winemaking, practices in which we are strongly committed to supporting. Our domestic portfolio is a collection of small and medium-sized growers and producers from California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Maine, Louisiana and Colorado. We have developed a unique concept called Small Batch that gives more attention and respect to our small production American wines. Our national import partners are regarded highly as leaders in their respective categories and include: Rare Wine Company, Vine Connections, Ole Imports, Circo Vino, Craft + Estate, Rudi Wiest Selections, Thomas Calder Selections, Jeremy Quinn Selections, Zev Rovine Selections, Valkyrie Selections, OBRIGADO - Vinhos Portugal, Jon-David Headrick Selections, Savio Soares Selections, and Truly Fine Wines. Through Cream Imports, our direct import division, we endeavor to enhance our overall portfolio by discovering, introducing and energizing our market on select growers, producers and appellations. We strive to showcase pure, compelling expressions of authentic, singular wines that are thoughtfully grown and minimally made with respect for tradition and relevance to the present.