Harvey, Houlihan Went Barefoot Building Wine Giant
By CURT SCHLEIER, FOR INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
In the early 1980s, the wine market was largely dedicated to what Michael Houlihan calls "the sniff, sip and spit crowd."
That is, people who prided themselves on their knowledge of fine wine — or could fake it.
But Houlihan and his partner, Bonnie Harvey, saw a market for inexpensive yet quality table wine for everyday folks.
They took that notion and, in 1986, founded Barefoot Wine in Forestville, Calif., just north of San Francisco.
Nineteen years later, Barefoot was selling 600,000 cases annually and was bought by E&J Gallo Winery for reportedly eight figures.
To achieve this success, Houlihan and Harvey defied industry naysayers, navigated myriad state and federal liquor regulations and creatively marketed their product.
Recently they came out with "The Barefoot Spirit," a book about how they built a winner.
Houlihan, 68, and Harvey, 62, have been in a romantic relationship for three decades. Since selling Barefoot, they've teamed up as consultants and professional speakers on entrepreneurship.
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Who Are We.
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 in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. 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 offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.
Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact .
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders