Our preferred approach to problem-solving involves viewing the situation from multiple perspectives. Often, defining the problem well is the key to finding the best solution. Relying solely on initial impressions can obscure potential solutions.

By viewing problems in the context of the bigger picture, we often found solutions that addressed more than the original issue. We started imagining the problem as already solved and asked what other issues would improve if the original problem was resolved.

For instance, a customer once complained about inconsistent fill levels in our wine bottles. Our production team explained that fill lines varied to accommodate air gaps for temperature changes and nitrogen to prevent oxidation. Despite this, we adhered to our motto, “The customer is always right,” and assured her we were working on a solution.

At a fundraiser, Bonnie M. Harvey admired a woman’s midi-length skirt, noting how it covered the knees and showcased the calves. This sparked the idea to cover the fill line with a longer closure. It took two years to implement the technology, but it worked—no visible fill lines, and customers always got a “full measure.”

Additionally, hiding the fill line allowed us to reduce horizontal lines on our packaging, giving our product a cleaner, more distinctive look on retail shelves.
We valued the customer’s feedback, recognizing that for every person who spoke up, many others shared the same concern. By addressing it, we improved both our packaging and marketing images.

We always believed in finding a solution and examined the problem from all angles, awaiting inspiration from even the most unlikely places!

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 www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.