Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brittany Hamilton, Co-Founder of Pressley Vineyards, located in Lodi, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own and operate Pressley Vineyards alongside my husband, Charlie. We grow 50 acres of wine grapes in Solano County, CA. The varieties we grow are Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, and Albarino. All of our grapes are certified sustainable via the Lodi Rules Program. The majority of our grapes are grown for other wineries such as Mumm, Tank Garage, BXT Wines, and more. We pull a small amount of grapes aside for our own brand, Pressley Vineyards; we make 500 cases of wine annually that we sell directly to the consumer via our website, restaurants, bar, and grocery stores, and we have a wine club. Our wines include Albairno, Rose of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We grow all of our grapes with the exception of our Cabernet, which comes from Coombsville in Napa Valley. I take care of our bookkeeping, sales, wine club, and marketing, my husband takes care of our farming, and together we make the wine utilizing a winery that allows us to rent their space for our winemaking. Our mission is to marry our family's California Delta heritage with the next generation of winemaking to create quality wines that celebrate every day. Our customer is anyone who loves wine and likes supporting small family businesses.
Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in St. Helena, California, where my love for the wine industry began. I learned to make wine from my Mom at an early age, and from that first winemaking experience, a love affair began. I am a Sales Representative in the wine industry by day and a Mom, farmer's wife, bookkeeper, secretary, and my husband's right-hand lady for all things Pressley Vineyards in my "free" time. I graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Fruit Science in 2012. I knew I wanted to start Pressley Vineyards from the moment I started making wine with my family at a young age. My motivation comes from my family and the joy that comes from having a side hustle that is also my passion. Pressley Vineyards is a project that I get to bond with my husband over and include my kids in. There is no greater sense of pride than partaking in growing a crop from the land, nurturing it, harvesting it, bringing it into the winery for production, and creating a product that people enjoy during their every day, Tuesday nights, or the most special moments of their lives. I feel grateful to share my passion with others.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting. It's so easy to put it off, not find the time, or wait until the "timing is right." Pressley Vineyards was a daydream that became a tangible idea, which has now, six years later, become the most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding side hustle I could have ever imagined. I am so glad that I took the leap of faith and had a partner that supported me endlessly.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Selling the product. Creating the business, growing the grapes, and getting started all comes with challenges, but creating a following, having a consistent business, and selling vintages is incredibly challenging.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Passion is key.
- You are building a brand or business; success takes time.
- Listen to your instincts.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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