recording The Barefoot Spirit audiobookWe are deep into the process of recording an audiobook for our New York Times Bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. This has been great fun!

A couple weeks ago we flew to LA and joined The Sherwood Players in a “table read.” Matt Weinglass, Sherwood Players’ Director, and several actors joined us. They gave a dramatic performance of Chapter 1, “How Hard Could It Be?” The book comes alive when the dialog is acted out by real pros!

We chose The Sherwood Players to voice our book in an old-time radio show theatrical format. This independent acting troupe gave us a lively theatrical presentation, giving each character in our book his or her own voice. The listeners (us, in this case!) are entertained as they bring to life each character and story.

Making Business and Learning Fun

We think business books are generally boring. But something magical happens when you have actual players dramatically acting out the scenes! Now you’re listening to stories rather than having a book simply read to you. What a fun way to learn the lessons behind each story! And the education gained is more memorable and actionable when presented in this format.

Conversation with Bonnie and Michael

One of the innovative parts of the book is that after every chapter of stories portraying the events building the Barefoot brand, there is a short break entitled “Conversations with Bonnie and Michael.” That is where Rick Kushman, our author and friend, interviews us about the previous chapter. It provides the reader, and in this case the listener, with our insights about those stories.

Well, last Sunday, we recorded “Conversations…” in our own voices! Luckily, we had some expert coaching by Matt, and the recording session turned out to be exciting and fun!

Rick Kushman also voices himself in his “Introduction” and in “Conversations.” This gives an air of authenticity to the audiobook, but it was quite a challenge for us. Rick, on the other hand, has had loads of experience doing many radio shows over several years.

We used the Sherwood Players very talented actors to play the parts of Bonnie and Michael in the stories. And the largest role in the book is the Narrator, voiced by Alamada Karatihy. We were blown away by her ability to totally capture the excitement, high energy, and humor of Rick’s writings!

Printed vs Performed

When folks read printed words on a page or on the screen, they tend to add their own ideas of intonation, emotion, and emphasis. But when it’s performed by professional actors, there’s no mystery about how the characters feel in each sentence. Unlike the written word, the actors convey the subtleties, meanings, and dimension that would be difficult to pick up from a page.

So, this has been yet another learning experience for us, and we are totally excited to create this new type of business learning experience for you! We’re on track for a launch in the fall. Wish us luck and we will keep you posted on the progress of this exciting (and enlightening) project! You guys are going to LOVE The Barefoot Spirit audiobook!


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