Back in 2005 we started to "kick around" the idea of starting our own wine label. We had no idea how we would pay for it, where we would get the fruit; pretty much anything for that matter. But, as I've heard them say, "You have to have a dream in order to realize one."
My brother and I have been around wine for some time, but we didn't realize how serious we were about it until we realized the solidarity it brought our family. Our uncle owns a small winery in Northern Napa called August Briggs (http://www.augustbriggswines.com/), where Aaron and I both work with our family making wine. This relationship presented the opportunity for the birth of Romililly (our label http://www.romililly.com/), which we produce at the winery. With out an uncle as gracious as ours, this would have remained a conversation amongst beers.
So, while tending bar at Willi's Wine bar I started to meet a lot of people in the wine business; some I worked with, and watched struggle as they started, worked in the farming, the wine making, selling, and etc. This lead to many great connections which we were later to take advantage of. The biggest of all advantages was having an uncle who is about as good to his family as one can be.
After saving my money since I was roughly 17 I had accumulated a small life savings, not much, but, enough. I had been looking for an investment of some sort and it dawned on me -how about wine? I love wine, I work and play around wine, why not now? I found a connection through a friend that allowed me to contract some Dutton Ranch fruit (a highly sought after grower). My uncle Joe, of August Briggs Winery, agreed to help me out in my endeavor. I asked my brother to become my general partner, and WE WERE OFF! I couldn't have a better partner then my brother - he is loyal as hell, smart, and a great work ethic.
My brother and I started getting our hands dirty in 2006, our first vintage. The vintage was rough on a lot of producers; we had our work cut out. All said and done, we thought our wine turned out well. See our website for the wine making practices. ( http://www.romililly.com/ )
At this point we were ALL SET, kinda. This, in fact, was only the beginning. Little did we know that over the next year we would be filling out more paperwork than I have ever cared to do. I actually felt like the government treats those producing and selling alcohol like the Mafia, except we pay taxes! Isn't an investment supposed to show some return? Until this point we had done nothing but pump money IN. Nice choice, Jesse and Aaron......
I invite you come with Romililly as we encounter the trials and tribulations of a start-up wine label. I tend to use my sense of humor as an outlet, so I hope to entertain as much as inform. As this is my first blog, ever, I would love to have any feed back you would offer. I am perpared for the good the bad and the ugly.
More to come.....