Tomorrow, we have the honor of being interviewed by our friend Matt DiGeronimo, Host of The Smith Floyd Water Cooler. Matt wrote a fantastic book review about our book, The Barefoot Spirit and we will post some snippets and link you to the full article on his website.

Let’s start with that which is obvious about the book, “The Barefoot Spirit” : 

  • A New York Times Bestseller in the “we did it, so you can too” genre.
  • A Cinderalla story with “hardship, hustle, and heart” pitted against an ”exclusive, stuffy, and boring” business environment, America’s wine industry.
  • The book is written in the English language, read left to write, and the content of the book divided into chapters.

– The authenticity of the book’s powerful messages drips from each page. Michael and Bonnie never risk losing their effectiveness by stroking their own egos.  In fact, the tone is light, self-deprecating, and fun from start to finish.  It is much easier to accept our knowledge of “retail category management” as deficient while reading about Michael and Bonnie’s surprise to learn it existed.

– Although Michael and Bonnie’s journey definitely emphasizes action and active learning above analysis, this is not the same story as we imagine Sir Richard Branson telling.  Often, Michael and Bonnie’s decisions were made of necessity and not a propensity, or even an inclination, to throw care to the wind.  It is their challenge with this struggle that makes their story so compelling.  Michael and Bonnie enjoyed the benefits of formal education, exacting minds, and previous business success in more structured environments.  Even with these benefits, they readily admit – with the benefit of hindsight, that if they had realized the full-extent of the challenges that lay ahead of them when they decided in 1985 to “unload” 18,000 cases of stock wine, they may have very well decided to pass.

– Michael and Bonnie’s journey was one marked by its emphasis and impact on personal relationships.  From their assembling the core group of “Barefooters,” to their network of strategic alliances, or their relentless commitment to “Worthy Causes” in the community . . . they ALWAYS put people and what was “right” above bottom lines and profit margins.  There were several instances in the book that truly amazed me.  The beauty of this person-centric approach lies in its effectiveness more than its existence.  Their story proves that the free-enterprise remains one of most powerful tools for affecting social change in micro- and macroscopic environments.

To read the complete review, please click here

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