Winemaking Entrepreneurs to Speak at CSU

Harvey, HoulihanCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, co-founders of one of the top-selling U.S. wine brands, will discuss their business success Monday, Sept. 30 at Columbus State University as part of a CSU Turner College of Business speaker series.

The public is invited to the free 7:30 p.m. presentation in the Davidson Student Center auditorium.

 Houlihan and Harvey, who sold their Barefoot Cellars label to E.J. Gallo in 2005, are also co-authors, with journalist Rick Kushman, of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America's #1 Wine Brand (2013, Evolve Publishing), which made the New York Times' Bestselling Business Paperback List.

book coverSince selling Barefoot, the Sonoma, Calif., couple has dedicated themselves to environmental causes and work as marketing and business consultants in the wine industry and beyond. Their national book tour is focusing on college campuses where The Barefoot Spirit has been used as a case study in entrepreneurship classes.

"It's a business book students will actually finish," Houlihan told one interviewer.

Barefoot, which the couple started in the laundry room of a rented farmhouse in the mid-1980s, earned a reputation for marketing wine more like beer, rejecting winemaking snobbery with the slogan, "Get Barefoot and have a great time!" Purposely omitted from their bottles' labels are the vintage, grape harvest year and region, allowing Barefoot to blend a consistent taste that's usually sold for under $10 a bottle.

By the time the couple sold to Gallo for an undisclosed sum, Barefoot had grown to 40 employees and was selling half a million cases a year. In 2012, it was second in sales only to the Wine Group's Franzia label.

The couple's appearance at CSU is part of the Turner College of Business' Executive Speaker Series. For more information on CSU's internationally accredited Turner College of Business, call 706-507-8150 or visit

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Photo information: Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan (High resolution original)

Book cover