Ep. 216: World-Class Brands May Start With Passion, But They’re Driven By This

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It may sound odd that Justin Baldwin, the founder of the eponymous Justin Winery, once fired himself as its winemaker. But despite being the creator of one of the most lauded wineries in the world, he will be the first to tell you that success isn’t about ego.

Launched in 1981, the winery has evolved from an undeveloped plot in Paso Robles, Calif. into a global, highly acclaimed brand known for its commitment to premium, food-friendly and accessible wines. A former investment banker, Baldwin built the business literally from the ground up and has worn nearly every hat in the company, from tractor driver to salesman and CEO to brand ambassador. Of course, he had help along the way which he credits , along with a healthy dose of planning and discipline, as a major reason for the company’s growth. In an interview included in this episode, Baldwin chronicled the development of his winery and spoke about the importance of leveraging one’s skill sets and admitting their weaknesses, mitigating risk through financial discipline and how entrepreneurs can best position their companies for success in good times and bad.

Show notes:

1:07: Justin Baldwin, Founder, Justin Winery -- Baldwin spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about the importance of setting goals and establishing metrics for achieving them, what inspired his transition from international banker to winery owner and how he evaluated the opportunity to launch Justin in an area that was unheralded for its wine. He also discussed the number one rule in wine, early missteps, why it’s important to accept what you don’t know and what you’re not good at and what spurs passion in employees. He also explained how he established Justin’s core values and why it was important to maintain them throughout the brand’s development, achieving necessary margins while maintaining quality and standards, how to please critics (particularly in the wine business), getting through the recession of 2008 and why he decided to sell the company in 2010 and remain with Justin post-sale.

Brands in this episode: Justin Wines

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