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Happy Birthday Barefoot!

Twenty-seven years ago, Barefoot Wines were bottled for the first time. But how the wine found its way to the bottling line was a fluke in itself. A farmer wasn’t getting paid for several years for his grapes and his friends went to bat for him to see how much they could collect. It wasn’t easy. The winery owing for the grapes had no money and was in bankruptcy. It was controlled by the secured creditors (other farmers who… Read More

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Santa Barbara News-Press Article on Michael Houlihan

By SCOTT STEEPLETON NEWS-PRESS CITY EDITOR
March 7, 2013 5:59 AM
 
When he returns to Santa Barbara for a speaking engagement this week, Barefoot Cellars co-founder Michael Houlihan will be treading familiar territory.
He attended City College 1965-67 and it was here, in the early stages of Barefoot, that Mr. Houlihan, who founded the brand with partner Bonnie Harvey, pounded the pavement making the sales.
Mr.… Read More

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The Joy of Giving

As we scurry around to complete our holiday gift lists, let’s take some time to think about gifts in general and what they mean to us. A gift is more than its material value. Sometimes the least expensive gift has the most value to us because of who it came from and their good intentions. It’s a symbolic gesture that says, “You are important to me, and I care about you.” This makes the recipient of your gift feel good,… Read More

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Wine Industry Expo

Ideas, information and predictions will be presented by some of the most experienced members of the wine and grape industry at the Wine Industry Expo on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Stay current on the latest developments in production, sales, viticulture and marketing so you are ready for 2013 and the years ahead.
Michael Houlihan will join the line-up and present “The Pros… Read More

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Sales Professionals Deserve our Respect

From the outstanding musical, “The Music Man” to the hilarious movie, “Used Cars,” people in the sales profession have long been saddled with an unfair stereotype. Yet, without sales, few businesses would succeed.
Our economy relies on hundreds of thousands of salespeople that most of us never see, but their skills are responsible for our high standard of living. They call on the buyers who produce and sell… Read More

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Gaining Traction in the Marketplace takes Tenacity and Focus

You may hear about a brand that “just took off.” From our perspective, very few brands just take off. What’s more likely is that they started out small and sometimes took years to gain traction.
As we’ve said many times before, it’s not the quality of the product, the price, or the demand so much as it is mastering the distribution and timing.
They say you can move the Queen Mary if you exert enough pressure over… Read More

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Tailor Your Message to What Your Audience Wants to Hear

If you want to make a statement, tell them what you want to say. If you want to make a deposit, tell them what they want to hear. Sounds simple enough, but what do they want to hear and who are they anyway?
Every successful business learns eventually that there are a whole lot of folks between them and their end-user. Each one wants to hear a different message for a different reason. Sometimes we get so excited about our new idea… Read More

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Outword Magazine Interview

Barefoot Wine’s Founders Do Well By Doing Good
The story of how Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey in 1986 launched a scrappy new brand that would transform the US wine industry is one of accidental opportunity and the vision and courage to seize it. “We fell into business backwards,” Harvey says today.
And seize it they did. Houlihan, a wine industry business management consultant, and Harvey, an office manager,… Read More

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B2B or Not to Be? That is the Question!

We often hear, “Oh, we’re B2B (business-to-business), so we don’t have to worry about customers at the general public level.” The fact is, you do.
It is an erroneous assumption that B2B is somehow insulated from the source of most income, the general public. If your client goes out of business, your B2B loses that account, and you lose an income source. Of course you need to worry!
The more your company understands… Read More

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A Solid Business Foundation is Necessary for Success

When you build a house, the foundation must be laid strong and straight. If it’s not, the framers try to make up for it. When they can’t, the drywall guys try to make up for it. When they can’t, the painters try to make up for it. When they can’t, you’re going to have to live with it. So rather than cause problems all the way up your structure, lay your foundations straight and true.
It’s been said that it’s not the… Read More

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