I’m usually brutally honest, because lying is abhorrent to me. I think it ended when I stopped going to confession. As a small child, I’d have to make up lies; so I’d have something to discuss with the priest, who then would bless me.

“Dear Father, please forgive me, because I did this, I did that, and I did the other. “

I’d make up three lies, and then at the end of it I’d say,” And, I lied three times.” I’d be off the hook and out the door, shaking my head because of what the church had made me do… As hard as the truth may be sometimes, and it can be very hard, the truth is always easier. You get to move on and not spin a terrible web.

So then, I get clients and think, “Yahoo… the days of having my bosses get totally bent out of shape with me, because I wouldn’t stoke their egos, is over!”

Yeah, right… Not. There are clients who are only used to working with employees; and then with a consultant they carry it over to, “Me doctor, you nurse.”

“Hold on, Buddy, if I go tell Wine Spectator that Wine Enthusiast just wrote about you, it’s just wrong and my reputation for knowing what I’m doing is on the line. Sorry, not on my watch.”

Along comes my friend Darryl Miller, who seems to be cut from the same cloth, and that’s probably why I’ve adored him all of these years. Even Darryl’s friends are quick to say, “If you don’t want to hear the truth, don’t ask Darryl.”

Darryl Miller and I met when I was selling wine for the Hambrecht Wine Group (Belvedere and Grove Street wineries). Darryl was working with the Henry Wine Group, and was a great ally… besides being a funny guy. We clicked, and still get to see each other occasionally, as friends. We just met with my friend Corrine Reichel (Respite Wines), Darryl, his friend Karen (who works at Murphy Goode), and my Jose over dinner.

After many years of working with the Henry Wine Group, Darryl is back to working as a consulting brand builder. I highly recommend Darryl, if you’ve got a family owned and operated brand, and you need a great position for it within the over cluttered brands now on shelves. No one knows the market place better than someone who has been implementing sales for the last 30 years, and that would be Darryl.

When you hire a consultant, you not only get that person’s expertise and years of experience; you also gain access to that person’s relationships. If this profile fits your needs, and you want to fast forward your brand, consider Darryl…

From his bio for D.A. Miller… [T] 707-422-1882

Darryl’s a fine wine brand builder in strategic planning, brand positioning, and marketing. He understands how to position a fine wine brand for long term success, by growing volumes and building quality distribution. After working with the Henry Wine Group (HWG) for 16 years, Darryl recently started his own wine marketing business to help producers of fine wine—including start-ups, evolving and established wineries—achieve greater branding recognition.

This is not the first time Darryl has worked as an independent brand builder. From 1981-1995, his wine brokerage business covered all of Northern California, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the northern border, also including the Central Valley. He grew his company to 2.5 million in sales dollars, with 18 product lines and six sales people, before selling it to the Henry Wine Group in 1995.

Subsequent to selling to the HWG, a family-owned California-based company, Darryl ran the Northern California region as sales manager, supervising 12-14 salespeople. After three years of building brands in the territory, he went in-house and became part of the company’s brand management team as a portfolio manager. In this capacity, he furthered his expertise in all aspects of brand building, from fiscal management and budgets to market segments, logistics, margins, press, point of sale and strategic planning. He managed $28 million in sales portfolios.

One of the most important things he learned was the ability to analyze what people expect and need in terms of building their products into successful brands. The number and variety of products allowed him to see many different market aspects, mainly in California, but also nationally and internationally. Darryl managed portfolios for such high-profile brands as Shafer and Saintsbury in Napa Valley. In addition, he also managed import portfolios for Vineyard Brands, Eric Soloman, and Kermit Lynch, adding even more depth to his expertise.

His more than 35-year career in fine wine began when he moved to Seattle, after serving in the air force and attending Humboldt State College. He worked as a waiter, and then a wine steward at a high-end French restaurant, while selling wine for a wholesaler during the day. After his wine and food epiphany, when he realized this was his life calling, Darryl began to educate himself on all aspects of wine and food.

In 1976, he moved back to the Bay Area and worked for Ed Everett’s Wine Action in San Francisco as a sales representative, while still working at night in restaurant service. He moved to Sonoma County in 1980, and worked as a wine steward at the original John Ash restaurant in Santa Rosa. This is where he met many of his future clients, making lasting professional relationships. He obtained his broker’s license in 1981 and started his own brokerage business. His first client was Davis Bynum, and the second was Iron Horse.

With his broad background, Darryl is now on his own, brand building for small, family-owned wineries.





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