As the founders of Barefoot Wine, Bonnie M. Harvey and I understood the challenges of pioneering a new concept in the market. When we introduced our idea, we had to educate retailers about the untapped potential of catering to women looking for consistent, affordable wine.

Despite initial skepticism, we persevered, demonstrating the market demand and eventually disrupting the industry. Being recognized as an “original” and “genuine” innovator was rewarding but required significant missionary work.

Today, as we face new uncertainties, there’s a need for brave pioneers to identify and address unspoken problems, just as we did. I recently had the opportunity at Mississippi State University to meet many of these young pioneers through the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach.

Looking ahead, I see endless opportunities for innovation from young entrepreneurs, but I also recognize the significant effort required to educate and persuade the market. In a time of rapid change, there’s a chance for new ideas to gain traction more readily. As we embark on this journey, I’m reminded that pioneering isn’t easy, but the rewards for those who dare to lead the way can be immeasurable!

Have you encountered similar challenges in pioneering new ideas? What lessons have you learned along the way? Your insights could spark valuable discussions and inspire others to embark on their own pioneering journeys!

Don’t hesitate to comment and share your experiences – we can continue to drive innovation and shape the future together.

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