Episode 52 - Finding the Fortitude to Grow a Business from the Ground UpJun 27, 2022
Taking a family business into the future can be a daunting venture. How do you best balance history with vision? And when that business is winegrowing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, home to more than 600 wineries, how do you stand out and continue to innovate?
For Alison Sokol Blosser, Co-President, CEO and second-generation winegrower of Sokol Blosser Winery, the answer lies in staying true to yourself no matter the conditions. Wine wasn’t necessarily in Alison’s blood, so she studied other fields including marketing, but all paths led back to pastoral Willamette Valley, where her parents ventured decades earlier and, without prior experience, built a world-class winery.
On today’s episode of the Potential to Powerhouse Podcast, Alison walks Tracy and the audience through her journey, which now includes running her parents’ namesake winery with her family. It’s a fascinating conversation that showcases how the next generation can take businesses in exciting new directions when given the proper amounts of care, support and attention.
- What inspired Alison’s parents to start the vineyard and winery, and how did they go about purchasing the land and equipment as recent college graduates?
- The family struggled working in an industry that was not established in Oregon like it is today. How did the stress of growing a family business affect Alison’s childhood?
- Alison talks about the risk that went into the development of the winery and how the collaborative culture of Oregon helped the state rise in the wine industry.
- Alison discusses her journey during college and post grad when she thought she did not want to be involved in the family business, and then what finally led her to change her mind.
- How an executive coach helped Alison and her brother, Alex, maintain a healthy and successful dynamic in the family business in the process of making decisions and growing the future of the business.
- Alison discusses the experience of divorce in a family business.
- Alison walks the audience through the thought process that led to the idea of having her and her brother run as co-presidents.
- Tracy and Alison talk about their shared experience of being a mother while running a business, and the resources they turned to when they were struggling.
- Is Alison excited about the future growth of the business?
- How did Covid change the way the business was ran and the direction that the business is going?
- In a family-run business, how do you prepare the upcoming generation to take over? How do you get these kids to learn about and have a healthy love and respect for the business?
- Alison speaks on her family’s move to Boston, while the vineyard and winery are across the country in Oregon.
“I knew for me personally it was what I needed to do to feed my soul” [18:55]
“Home for me is at the vineyard”
“Having an exec coach at all stages helps you see things that you may not have seen…” [TH at 20:20}
“Set up my out of office as ‘I am out with the next generation’ because we are a family business” [30:20]
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