After we built and sold the famous Barefoot Wine brand, our staff, suppliers, and customers implored us to write a book about our particular approach to business. After some time and many “have-you-guys-written-your-book-yet(s),” we finally wrote The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.” It became a New York Times Business Bestseller and the recently released Business Audio Theatre audiobook of the same name was recognized by the Audiobook Publisher’s Association as one of the top five business audiobooks of the year.
The book has become a staple for more than 60 schools of entrepreneurship around the world. This notoriety resulted in us being asked to keynote at numerous universities and organizations. These audiences are interested in our real-world experience applying guiding principles for success. Today we give classes, media interviews, and write articles on these principles in such business publications as The Business Journals, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and others.
Our goal has always been to share the insights we learned, many times the hard way, so others don’t have to suffer the pain we did. Instead, we give them a big head start toward success by encouraging the proper mindset and giving them tools they can use to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.
We serve on the advisory boards of several companies providing insights, guidance, and valuable connections to help them in their journey from ideation to monetization. Although our lessons learned came from the wine industry, the principles we share are universal, including strategic planning, using soft skills to reduce the need for cash, and problem-solving.
Our home is in the beautiful Sonoma County wine country where we regularly share our mini-estate with corporate execs, students, and others looking for a natural retreat where they can reboot in so many ways. We conduct programs on key subjects and tailor events to suit our client’s needs. We also provide a unique insider’s perspective on the wine country in California.
Bonnie studied business, came from a serial business background, and had a consulting practice with small business owners before starting Barefoot Wine. (Her foot is on the famous Barefoot Wine label, now the world’s largest wine brand). Michael attended USF and other schools, pursued an early civil service career, and had his own consulting practice before the Barefoot enterprise.
So, as the Barefoot adventure unfolded, we both took an objective view of what was happening, what worked, what didn’t, and especially the problems we encountered with popularly-held misconceptions. In a word, we both took copious notes. Our favorite saying is “Never waste a perfectly good mistake!”
We have two Bengal cats who tag along on hikes and live with us in the heart of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Appellation. For leisure, we love entertaining friends and hiking around Sonoma County.