HELL YEAH!! High-fives mixed with sleepless nights best describe the past 6 months of my life. Back to Start-Up Mode - Winery Style. Far from the dot-com boom when I first moved to San Francisco over a decade ago. Start-Up Mode back then included a big-ass signing bonus, expense account and high-rolling black tie events and schmooze fests all over the Bay Area.
This time back in Cali, I was shown a tremendously well thought-out business plan by someone who had achieved far greater success than I've yet to achieve in the biz world - with one big catch if I wanted to sign-on....I had to earn my take-home pay by selling one case at a time. No signing bonus, no expense account, nothing other than seeing current warehouse inventory numbers of some of the best California wine I've ever had in my life. Confidence mixed with vulnerability is a new feeling - I've built portfolio's into the millions of dollars running TexaCali Wine Co. on 100% commission one-case-at-a-time deal, but it's very different now, all my eggs are in one Brack Mountain Wine Company basket. Incredibly scary, the wine supply chain is so difficult to maneuver through with success, but quite possibly the biggest opportunity and challenge of my wine career, I am thrilled.
Someone asked me a few years back "how do you do it everyday, what gets you up in the morning?", I answered quite frankly with the word "fear". This person gave me a look of confusion so I further explained..."it's up to me and only me to make what I can of my life, I'm driven because I am so very thankful that I'm not sitting in a boring office pushing paper around just to please a boss or stock price, I'm able to help a far greater cause. By selling wine like I do I'm actually helping families - families who plant the vines, make the wines and create a product that needs to be sold to keep their world going. Fear of letting them all down, if I'm not doing my job well it means they don't get paid...this gets me up in the morning". These words have never been so true as they are today.
So almost all of us at the winery have left security of other jobs and are giving it all that we can - physically, mentally, emotionally and fiscally. It's hard-core, every sale counts, every bottle opened counts, every invoice paid on time counts from our partners, every trucking company pick-up and turn around counts, every grape brought into our new winery counts, every inch of space inside the winery counts, every deal struck with vineyards counts, every hour of sleep at night counts, we are devoting every waking minute to building Brack Mountain Wine Company. Start-Up Winery Style Indeed.
So to you folks not in the wine-biz...I've been preaching this for years, but I will say it again...please pick your wines as though you are picking new friends, learn about them, become involved in their story, support them and be loyal to the wineries that are human from the ground up. It matters. And for you folks that are a piece of the supply chain...respect that a winery may be in start-up mode, may be sending their kid off to college for the first time, may need to mortgage their home to obtain funds for more grapes, purchase new barrels or whatever - please keep your word with your business promises and relationships, it matters.
I end today with the highlight of the week for us - proud of our studs in the cellar - such a hard-working team during crush this year, it's been non-stop for weeks now. Check out this feature the local news did on us earlier this week: On our YouTube page - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhqxRwz1opU or on the KTVU website http://www.ktvu.com/videos/business/consumer-advice/tom-vacar-reports/lbb/
We've launched the new website, I ask you to sign-up to be on the mailing list - and hey - you can also purchase wine direct from us now! We are just getting started...thank you for following along!