You’re the CEO of a major brand. Why, then, are you on hands and knees in some supermarket in Tallahassee Florida with a pricing gun in your hand, breaking out your own products, pricing them, and putting them up on the retailer’s shelf? A retailer who, by the way, bought your products from a distributer, who bought them from you? Answer? Simple, if you don’t, nobody else will!

No matter what industry you are in, there comes a time when you realize the real work that needs to be done. And it’s usually not very glorious. It’s usually not what you thought going in. And it’s usually what you thought was somebody else’s job. It’s usually mundane and somewhat humbling. But it must be done in order to succeed!

When we got into the wine business, we thought it was all sniff, swirl, and sip. You know, the romantic wine business! We thought it was all about French words, mouthfeel and mid-notes. Forget about it! We could have been selling hammers for all the “romance” we saw. It was really all about merchandising! Who would have thought? So much for mid-notes and lofty ideas about what it takes to build a national brand. The real work was way more down to earth – or, in my case, down to my hands and knees in a store in Tallahassee!

Over the past decade we have worked with many young entrepreneurs. They all have run into this same problem. The real work was never explained to them. They had to run into a wall with distribution. That wall was the real work that just wasn’t getting done in a satisfactory manner. To save them, we are the ones who burst their bubble about what needs to be done. Most of them never accounted for this work in their business plan, nor did they learn about this from their backers. Why? Because it’s not taught in school and many folks with money are suffering from the same misconceptions about who is going to do the dirty work.

That’s why we wrote The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built Americas #1 Wine Brand. We wanted to tell the real story of what it takes to be successful in the hopes that our readers would learn from our hard-knocks experiences. Our book was even a New York Time bestseller, but we wanted more. We wanted more people to get the message we knew would benefit their business. Our thought was, “Now here’s a national brand that you’ve seen in every store and it’s probably in your fridge. Guess what? It had very humble beginnings and the founders suffered from a lot of popular misconceptions that practically killed that brand …several times! But wait, they finally figured it out and did what it takes!”

We want to get that message out to more people than just those who would take the time to sit down and read a print or e-book. What about the mobile generation? What about the folks who are jogging or driving or multi-tasking? What about the folks who don’t want to be immobilized their mobile device?

So we thought, let’s do an audiobook. But not just another audiobook with a narrator reading it to you. We wanted to do a different kind of audiobook, one that would be fun to listen to, and one that would leave a lasting impact. We wanted to entertain our listeners and get them involved.

We have learned from 10 years of speaking with students of entrepreneurship and business owners that the best way to convey principles is through story, and the best way to convey story is through theater. So about a year ago we got together with our friend and communications expert, Ryan Foland, and his friend Matt Weinglass of Sherwood Productions and made a new kind of business audio book. It’s more of a play than a strict narration.

We made it a real Hollywood production with actors playing the characters, scenes that dramatize the action, sound effects that bring it all to life, and an original musical score. The result was what we call business audio theater, a new way to share business principles.

Listen to some free samples from our audiobook. If you like it, you can get the whole production on Amazon today, and everywhere else tomorrow! We’d love to get your take on this new concept in business education, so please let us know what you think.

Now you can listen to an entertaining story about America’s #1 wine brand and experience the chills and spills of a real entrepreneurial cliffhanger! And yes, it includes the founder on his knees with a pricing gun in his hand!

Cheers! M&B

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact