Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And so it begins...Start-up Mode.

In all honesty, we are scared to death during these beginning months of building the foundation for Smith Story Wine Cellars.  Besides our years in the wine business, both Eric and I have been working full-time before we were old enough to legally drive - so we know our work ethic and drive at the very least will make this happen. What we are scared to death about the most is:
  1. Keeping our first years of marriage stress-free 
  2. Fees and business areas that are foreign to us while in start-up mode 
  3. Taking on investors
One: Smith Story Wine Cellars is sorta like our newborn, this little bundle comes complete with feelings of joy and sleep deprivation from worry. Well, thank goodness we have plenty of wine to help relax us and a million-dollar view from our rental home in San Rafael as we will be taking staycations for a long while.  So #1 we aren't too worried about. Plus Lord Sandwich (our giant Goldendoodle provides us with hourly laughs).  And we love each other so much it may sicken others.

Two: As for getting into the real art of understanding new business licenses, to LLC or to INC, setting up bank accounts, reporting taxes  (um yeah, we won't be selling anything for awhile), paying experts to help us swim through all this with either wine trade, dog sitting, baked goods /BBQ ribs, wine sales or hard cash is also part of the plan.  Holy %#!@ this is hard, confusing, and crazy stressful part of starting a new business.  We just want to do it right from the beginning.  Breath, just breath. I also find my self praying a little more each week, God give us strength and the insight to make right decisions each day. Seriously. Don't sweat the small stuff.  I repeat.

It's truly when Eric and I are in the vineyards, talking to our winemaking team, tasting wines that excite us is what exactly keeps us filled with courage and pressing on to make this happen and become sustainable. We are determined.

Three: We are not starting with a small fortune, we are starting with our sleeves rolled up ready to rock this business plan. Neither one of us come from money or cashed out from Silicon Valley lucky-cards and we've hardly borrowed a dime before.  We've worked for everything we have, memories and material things alike.  A handful of folks have reached out in asking how they can invest (seems that Eric & I are a live-and-in-person solid business plan together).

All that we know is that investors are crucial for us in the first few years of building.  We are listening with great intent and are overwhelmed by the amount of support and generosity that MAY happen.  Making an investment in Smith Story Wine Cellars is long-term and according to our massive forecasts will be a safe place (unless Acts of God happen) for our investors - plus they'll have plenty of great wine along the way.

This scary new frontier will soon pass, the vines are already singing for an incredible 2014 Harvest ahead and by this time next year with all our might & hope  -  our first wine offerings will be released and sold-out.   There's a reason the words "Start-up Mode" is a part of the new business process and I can not wait to look back and smile at all that we've accomplished on day... sooner than later!

This is Our Story. 

 - Ali

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Introduction

Oh here we go, onto a new chapter for Eric & I as we've reached our 1 year wedding anniversary.  Today marks the official debut of  Smith Story Wine Cellars - giving birth of sorts to our newest little bundle of joy!  

Best to answer the top questions of the day:  

Yes - we are still 100% working our regular jobs (K&L Wine Merchants & TexaCali Wine Co.) and are grateful for your continued enthusiasm of our wine regions and winery clients we support so diligently.  To quote the pioneering Philip Togni we are not starting "with a small fortune". We are working like mad to make this next Chapter in our lives come together and prosper.

NO - we are not producing Riesling from California, we feel it's best to leave that up to our pals over in Germany. 

Many elements of our beginnings are written on the website, but I must be honest here and tell the world that for over a decade, the vision of walking through a vineyard in the Anderson Valley hand-in-hand with Eric Story along with our loyal dogs has stuck with me each and every day.  

The winery name was spontaneously created while sitting & sipping rum on the stunning Mauna Kea beach on the Big Island of Hawaii ... where we tied-the-knot 12 months ago in the hills of Holualoa.  Eric and I both paused after hearing Smith Story Wine Cellars. Though not sure who blurted it out first, we thought the name had a nice ring, and man could our stories go far and wide with all that we've worked so hard to accomplish in the wine business over the past decade.

So I ask you to follow Our Chapters, become involved with Our Story and please support our new small family business.  The best way to do so now is to sign up for our mailing list.

Yeah yeah, we are following our dreams and all that, but it's our biggest wish to create a sustainable winery that can support not only the 2 of us, but all the vineyard growers we partner with, our wonderful winemaking team and everyone else involved with the entire supply chain of making and selling fine wines from California.

A number can't possibly be guessed on the many wine producers that have inspired us in our lifetime.  Eric and I are so very humbled and honored to start this new chapter in our lives. 

This is Our Story,