This week we had a company gathering at our offices in Portland. I had a speech ready for the occasion but did not find the right time (the courage) to give it. Below is a copy of the speech I never gave:
Thank you for coming today.
We have many key partners in this room today, growers, attorneys, suppliers, designers, landlords. Please go around and introduce yourself to the broader pacific rim family.
A year ago, we had the idea of creating a new wine brand anchored on the successful Pacific Rim Dry Riesling from Bonny Doon in California. We wanted to use this opportunity to create the first Riesling based winery in the US and claim this varietal as our own. At that time, we only had a product made mainly from Washington, California and German grapes, we had no real identity, no company, no staff, no winery, just 6 individuals that believed in this vision and an owner, Randall Grahm, that believed in us and in our concept.
During the first few months of our project we had to live a double life, fulfilling our obligations at Bonny Doon while laying the foundation for Pacific Rim. The foundation work involved identifying a place in the Northwest to move our offices, finding partners to build a winery somewhere in Eastern WA, creating a corporate entity, revamping our package to bring a focused identity to the new brand and making a lot of wine in the forgotten city of King City, California. By the end of December 06, we had successfully replaced ourselves at Bonny Doon, found our office space in Portland, we had entered an agreement with the Den Hoed brothers to build and manage our winery in West Richland, we had created a new package and a brand identity, we had incorporated our new company in the state of WA and we had moved the corporate team from Santa Cruz to Portland.
Now that was the easy part. In January and February 06, our concept and our team were really tested hard. No one in the market place understood what we were doing and as a result we were not achieving our sales plans. Also the team lacked cohesion as we were all working from home (we used my basement as our meeting room) and we were still learning how to work with an owner 1,000 miles away. It was a very stressful time where all of us wondered if this would really fly. But we did not give up, weâ€™ve just put our boxing gloves and started to punch away. And weâ€™ve got results, Weâ€™ve moved into our offices in May, we got the word out and got national press coverage recognizing our efforts, we went on the road and met our distributors and sales partners, one at a time, feeding them the vision, we got the winery off the ground and secured grape contracts, and we were finally spun off Bonny Doon in June and worked since then on establishing licenses to sell our wines in every state.
Today, we are on our way to achieve our plans. The winery is almost completed, we have recruited a top notch staff in Eastern WA, our grape supply is secured and of high quality, we have turned around our sales and we are turning a profit, the media and the public are interested in our story and our wines and most rewarding of all, our competition is looking at us with worried faces.
We are not done though. We have great challenges ahead. We have to align our sales with the production tool that we have put in place, we have to achieve our desired goal of making Pacific Rim the Riesling reference in the country, we have to refine our company culture and we have much work to do to achieve our sustainability goals.
I had no clue that this enterprise would be so tough and so demanding. I also have never experienced such a feeling of pride and humility. I am proud of what we have done and I am so humble and grateful because this adventure could not have been successful without the team here and without your support.
Thank you for believing in Pacific Rim,