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Bubbly Wine,Wine,Wine Business,Wine Making,Winemaker,Winemaking,Winery

The class of Jennifer Wall, winemaker for Barefoot Wines

Very uptown, that’s Ms. Jennifer Wall.

And so are the companies for which she’s worked.

I first met Jennifer in one of my transitions: from my working at Belvedere Winery, as Belvedere’s communications coordinator and district sales position. I was at a crossroads; did I want to continue with communications, or did I want to completely segue into sales?

When I left Belvedere (1998), I went to work for Barefoot Cellars, ever so briefly. What Barefoot had to offer was another sales management position. This led to realizing that I really had to follow my PR dream. I came away with deep respect for many people at Barefoot, and one of them is Jennifer Wall, who was kind, generous, and had landed the dream job of her lifetime.

I was reminded of this on Facebook… that she’s rolled with the waves and still is on top of The Mavericks; so much so that this quirky, funny brand is now the number one selling wine brand in the world.

Imagine ~ Barefoot Wines

What Michael Hollihan and Bonnie Harvey started in 1986, which was extremely popular when they sold it to Gallo Wines, was taken from riding high on the waves to being launched into The Mavericks. When Barefoot was sold to Gallo Wines, Jennifer was allowed to stay on her surfboard, and swim out to even greater waters. What an accomplishment for everyone on this Barefoot beach…

In 1995, Jennifer was given the winemaking title, and there she’s been ever since. Making fun wine for people who love a great ride…

What follows is what Jennifer wrote on her Facebook page. I asked if I could share this with you all, and she said, “Yes!!” Great.

Before I go there, one more thing. She began to list the people with whom she worked, over the years. As I saw that I thought, “I was only there for three months,” so… you know my next thought, right? Why would she even remember? Well, I was wrong. Imagine listing everyone that comes to mind in your last 20 years? Good Lord, she’s great.

Jennifer Wall’s Own Barefoot Wines Story

A study in expert sales techniques

20 years ago today, September 18, 1995, was my first day as the Barefoot Winemaker. This 20 year milestone comes with a multitude of other milestones that have occurred for Barefoot this year.

It is the ‪#‎50YearAnniversary‬ of the Barefoot brand, when Davis Bynum made his wines in his garage in Alameda County and decided to name the wine Barefoot in honor of the way grapes were originally stomped and wines originally made.

It is the ‪#‎30YearAnniversary‬ of David Bynum selling the Barefoot brand to Michael Houlihan, who with his partner Bonnie Harvey, re-launched Barefoot in magnum sized bottles (Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.) They thought of the foot on the label differently, as a lifestyle image, rather than a tribute to old style winemaking. They loved to “Get Barefoot & Have a Great Time!”

It is the ‪#‎25YearAnniversary‬ of Randy Arnold, also known as ‘The Barefoot Guy.’ Randy created our very untraditional and still current go to market strategy: donating wines to non profits and letting people naturally fall in love with our wines (by tasting them!) We now have thousands of not for profit friends around the world who we love to support. Randy is still dedicated to making the world a better place through wine. Thank you Randy for all that you do and for always keeping it ‘Fun and Barefoot Quirky!”

It is my ‪#‎20YearAnniversary‬ as the Barefoot Winemaker. 20 years ago, in 1995 we had 4 types of wine and sold 140,000 cases per year. We were a medium-small winery with a big heart and big vision. It was then when I started making Barefoot Wines varietally correct, fruit forward and food friendly.

It is the ‪#‎10YearAnniversary‬ of Barefoot being a part of the E&J Gallo winery. The biggest milestone in my opinion, ten years ago this past January it was announced that Barefoot was purchased by Gallo. It was so exciting for Barefoot to be so warmly welcomed into and join this tremendous organization filled with exceptional professionals who really cared about nurturing and growing Barefoot to its full potential. No one really knew what it would do, and we continue to be in awe of its growth and strength in the market worldwide. I’m so thankful that the Gallo’s took a risk on a crazy lifestyle brand with a foot on the label when so many other wineries were investing in ‘critter’ brands.

I have a few notes of very special thanks: Thanks to ‘ARCH Support’ for ‘Always Believin!’’ Thanks to the ‘Big TOE’ for saying YES when he was asked to run this ‘new’ brand with a foot on it. Thanks to ‘The Barefoot Guy’ for being ‘inclusive’ and inviting all folks (21 and over) to enjoy our wines. Thanks to “Lead FOOT’ for being so passionate about Barefoot and spreading the love worldwide. Thanks to Mos-CAL-TOE for being the best, most collaborative partner for the last 10 years. Last, but not least, thanks to my family and friends for understanding and always supporting my passion for my work.

Barefoot is a very special brand in so many ways. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have a “Barefoot story.” Many of these stories are about the first time they “Got Barefoot,” an occasion made special because of Barefoot, or a special occasion where they celebrated with Barefoot. These stories always make me smile.

We have folks around the world dedicated to partnering with local charities to ‘love locally’ and help them raise money for their worthy causes. These “Barefooters,” in addition to our FOOT-tastic marketing team, make up the “Barefoot Team.” However, the reality is that now, the entire Gallo organization is the “Barefoot Team,” in addition to our distributors, sole patrollers, and agency partners.

I thought it would only be appropriate, for my ‪#‎20YearsBarefoot‬ anniversary, to write the biggest note of Gra-TOE-tude to EVERYONE who has EVER worked on Barefoot. THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY PEOPLE THAT HAVE TOUCHED BAREFOOT, AND IN TURN, BAREFOOT HAS TOUCHED SO MANY PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY…

If you currently work on Barefoot, have worked on Barefoot in the past, or know of someone who has worked on Barefoot, I’m hoping you are tagged below. If not, please help me and TAG them below in this post. This should be the biggest list of past and present Barefooters ever!!!

THANK YOU for helping make Barefoot the MOST LOVED wine brand in the WORLD!

It has been my honor to work with you!

Cheers,

Pinky TOE

#20YearsBarefoot
‪#‎OneTeamOneDream‬
‪#‎OnceAFooterAlwaysAFooter‬
‪#‎FunFlavorfulAffordable‬

2 Responses to “The class of Jennifer Wall, winemaker for Barefoot Wines”

  1. Very nice. Never knew the Barefoot story before. Thanks for sharing.
    Just coming up for air,
    after the fastest and earliest harvest in our 26 years……
    Two things, one we’re having a release Club party 10/24 from noon -4pm, and hope you and Jose will be able to stop by, and 2nd, I’d love to take you to lunch, both the see you and catch up a bit, and to chat about the role of sales managers for distributors….we can’t seem to figure those relationships work. Trying to engage and I’m too pushy, not engaging and they neither buy or sell our wines…..

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s very tricky, Betsy, to work those relationships. I did it successfully, but our styles are also very different. I have some upcoming travel for the next couple of weeks. When I return, we can try to get together, and perhaps get over on Oct. 24, too.

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