How to Find Balance

Isn’t this the question of our era?  We hear the word in all sorts of contexts in this modern life.  We seek balance in our hearts and minds.  We pursue a balance in work and home life.  We find joy and satisfaction in balance of flavors in food.  We marvel at balance in wine.  And, there is yet another balance that must be struck, the balance in business.

For a small wine company like Ernest to not only survive, but thrive, we must first produce wines that resonate as delightful and inviting to the palate.  That product then must be married with packaging, marketing, and sales efforts that allow the wine to somehow arrive in your life as worthy of your time and interest. The path to that glorious moment when our brand is something of merit to you as a wine enthusiast is challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

This is where the question of balance again appears, for we must strike balance in the way in which we sell our wine.  When Ernest first began, our mailing list consisted of our family and our close friends.  It has grown organically over these years not due to an advertising campaign, but through word-of-mouth and exposure to the wines through restaurant wine lists or a small wine shop who is excited about our story.  It is a symbiotic relationship, selling wholesale to achieve the privilege of selling you wines directly and the work to make that relationship healthy and fruitful is how I spend most of my hours running this company.

Which brings us to another layer of balance…inside the U.S. and out of it.  One might think that a small company like us have no need to sell in an international market - there are plenty of our peers who do not.  But, there is interest in the wines of California, in particular, curiosity about the wines of Sonoma that far exceed the borders of our country.  Which brings us to where I was this week, a 3-day wine fair in Germany that brings together over 50,000 people in the industry every year.  ProWein is the largest and most esteemed wine conference in this age and although the scale is enormous and especially huge wine deals are being brokered, there is also room here for the small brands…talking with the small, thoughtful importers who are keen and ready to hear our story and identify if we might have a place on the tables of their home country.

Todd and I never intend for Ernest to grow beyond the current size and hands-on, focused intent we have today.  We love being small and intimately connected not only with the wines we make, but also, you, our friends (old and new) who have welcomed Ernest into your lives.  But to stay small in this modern world economy, one must be smart, savvy…and nimble.  Balanced.

Please enjoy a couple of pictures and insights from this new experience in Dusseldorf, Germany.  I’ll be home soon, it’s time to start shipping you all wine!  If you have not already placed your order, please do so soon because the Pinot Noirs are almost fully allocated.