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Austin Hope - from 97 Points to World Domination - Building a World-Class Winery

May 18, 2020

Austin Hope - from 97 Points to World Domination - Building a World-Class Winery
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On this special episode of the Radical Marketing Podcast Ryan sits down with Austin Hope, the award-winning winemaker, and owner of Hope Family Vineyards. Austin gives the origins of his family history in the wine business with some fascinating discussion around his time with Chuck Wagner the founder and winemaker of world-renowned Caymus Cabernet.
Austin talks about his self-growth in embracing his name in developing the Austin Hope line of wines including his sizzling Cabernet which has scored 95 points or higher in every vintage and most recently was rated the #10 wine in the world in 2019 by the Wine Enthusiast. The 2017 Reserve Cabernet Ryan claims may be the best glass of wine he has tasted, ever!
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The Radical Marketing Podcast is always looking for intriguing guests. Email inquiries to info@radical.company
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On this special episode of the Radical Marketing Podcast Ryan sits down with Austin Hope, the award-winning winemaker, and owner of Hope Family Vineyards. Austin gives the origins of his family history in the wine business with some fascinating discussion around his time with Chuck Wagner the founder and winemaker of world-renowned Caymus Cabernet.

Austin talks about his self-growth in embracing his name in developing the Austin Hope line of wines including his sizzling Cabernet which has scored 95 points or higher in every vintage and most recently was rated the #10 wine in the world in 2019 by the Wine Enthusiast. The 2017 Reserve Cabernet Ryan claims may be the best glass of wine he has tasted, ever!

Taste and listen along!

Links from this Episode:


Please share, review, and subscribe!

The Radical Marketing Podcast is always looking for intriguing guests. Email inquiries to info@radical.company

Follow us:

@radical_results on Instagram

@ryanalford on Instagram





Ryan Alford[00:00:00]Hey guys, it's Ryan Alford welcome to another edition of the Radical Marketing Podcast. There was a lot of excitement for this episode because Austin Hope in South Carolina is a rage. Yes, today we have with us Austin Hope, the owner and winemaker from Hope Family Wineries. Man, it's great to have you on the podcast. 

Austin Hope[00:00:48]Thanks for having me around. This is super cool. For a while. You always have good content. It's fun. 

Ryan Alford[00:00:59]I love that. I appreciate you saying that. And my teams are in our studio here doing some BTS, they'll be excited and proud to hear that from you. Then when you're an addict, you got to put out some good content? So appreciate the kind words and it's been great following you. The winery business, Instagram and technology and different things. It's funny that a lot of people haven't embraced things. And I know you're a little bit of a rebel as it comes, but it's been good following you and see behind the scenes of the winery and different things. So, owner, winemaker – let's start from the beginning. So there's going to be some, rare people listening to our podcast who might know your Winery, but surprisingly not you. So let's talk a little bit about history, your background. I know it's a family business, but let's just start with a little bit of the origin story of your background and what's led to today. 

Austin Hope[00:02:18]So I'm a third-generation California farmer who wanted to race Formula One cars growing up. Now I'm sitting here talking to you. That's fast though. If you start from the beginning with my folks that they moved from Bakersfield, California, I was born in Bakersfield. We moved to ask Robles in 1978 and start to plan language since I just give you landscapes at the scene. And in 78 here was less than a dozen wineries here, which probably count them on one hand actually, and less than a thousand acres of grapes. And most of my folks started planting wine grapes which was pretty unheard of and we weren't very welcome into the community. Honestly, grapes were not wanted by locals. So this was very much driven by grain, cattle, some dry land, almonds, walnuts scattered around the hillsides, but it was definitely a dry land, wheat, grains that they were growing and they didn't really go hand in hand together. Great farming and grain farming. So they didn't really like us, it was not a not an easy thing, and we honestly thought we were doing so. We came from a completely different background. My grandfather was in the beer business over there in Bakersfield and he was a Texas immigrant during the Dust Bowl and was working as a distributor and delivered those beers and instead of one truck deal. And he was pretty smart about things. And he said when it came up to the gentleman wanted. Tell us his vision, he said, “I'll buy it”, and he'd been squirreling away money. So he took that over and he just went and got another truck and then he kept so he had a mere staff and a handful of things. And then he kept going to Colorado every year and would knock on his door. And that went on for a while. And then finally, finally, Adolf said, OK, I'll give you a bigger still bar. So that's character. You went from having it all in a few thousand things of beer to selling a few million cases of beer in a few years. And my dad worked for him. 

Anyway, my grandfather passed away. My dad was not in a position to take over, so the company was sold to the general manager and we borrowed some money from my grandma. So I signed a bank first with my dad and went to my grandfather's best friend, who was another immigrant that came over and he ended up farming things in the valley, and he says this is what we should do? And he says he called everybody to pass roles and plant haplessly. You can't screw that up. And so we did. I mean, that's what we should do about farming. And quickly learned apples were not directly to grow up and they just transitioned over there over time into planting the right varieties. We sold our first branch within a few years and to somebody that had to have it and we planned to buy two more pieces of ground and repay debts and started farming more red grapes. And then as that progressed, I lived in the vineyards as a child. I grew up in Hollywood weeds every day I was told to. So I really grew up in the fields. And then, my uncle came into the business and he was more aggressive towards the blind side of it. So we started making small wines, selling wine here and there. And then that's where we met Chuck Wagner, which is his family started Liberty School. And then we started selling bulk wine and then Chuckwagon came down and said, “Hey, can you supply us?” We think we're going to bring we want to take Liberty school and say we can do it and bring it back out because it went away in the past. In the beginning, it was truly a second level of cocaine. So whatever leftovers they had off of the vineyard, they would put in delivery school. But as Bekim started becoming a more iconic brand, there wasn't much fruit. So that's where we met and the school was not made there for a while, but then we came back, so we became friends and then we started doing that, taking trips together. And then we came to the conclusion that we should take over the brand and bring it to Carso because we were already growing it and we were making it fast and metropolitan. So at that same time, Chuck was really becoming what he is today, the iconic cabernet in Napa Valley. And I was getting more involved in the wine. So I knew Napa started working for Chuck and I just learned everything. He was super gracious and would drop me off in this behind the scenes. And this is just building. And then it would be the marketing and then I would hang out in the tasting room and then he'd send me to a vineyard. And so I got to see a lot of the scenes. During that time, we got a little taste room down here and a bed and breakfast and we hadn't really jumped completely up in the wine. We were having other people make it for us. And it was back then, it was pretty fun. It's called Hope Farms Winery Cattle Brand on the label. 

Ryan Alford[00:08:49]Nice. Just really signifies the luxury of red wine, the old cow branding. 

Austin Hope[00:08:59]So we were not sophisticated at that time and we weren't making sophisticated wines that we were just making lightly. We had several winemakers around here that would make us muskat and make us some place in the world. And we really just were, it was pretty new novel things we were selling counting chocolates, and whoever was driving it first got to go to a nearby winery, but wasn't any, so they'd stop. And so during that we. Why do things start talking about mouthless really trying to push the family into the wine business. My dad was kind of hesitant to really jump off his back. So, we had a good thing going with farmers and that's what we did. So you mean by working for him? We were on a trip together. My dad, Chuck Wagner, and his general manager, Paul and my Uncle Paul, and we were in Mexico and we were talking and he says, why don't we take a little bit every school, give it a sense of place and see what we can do with it. We want to start another. Bramlage turned into Victoriana in 95. So we set it all up and we were prepared to go and that was in 95 and got it all together and in 96 my uncle, which was really spirit and I looked up to a lot of spirit in the wine piece of it died and actually today at 8 30 1996. 

Ryan Alford[00:10:35]I'm sorry to hear that, but maybe we're celebrating him now. 

Austin Hope[00:10:39]We thought he would, he would flip it somewhere. So it was interesting because like it was an. Let's get to digress, but I just came from that cemetery just now, put flowers or flowers on everyday or every day of the year. He died. The day died. Pretty sad. It's amazing, because it really changed our family and put us all in a reflection and changed everything we've done. But I think he'd be super proud and such a cool legacy to see. But it's anyways that happened. And like you're asking me, can I do this? And my dad asked me, can I do this? Because my dad did not want to be on the white wine side of it. And luckily I was young and young, dumb, and I did.

Ryan Alford[00:11:35]My dad calls it my dad calls it piss and vinegar. 

Austin Hope[00:11:40]So like I said, yes. And it was me and I hired. We hired a wine salesman and I went and grabbed a guy named Jesse that I reached with my whole life plastic immigrants to work in Mexico, legal became legal over the years. And still with us today, I saw this morning on. As a long time ago, but he's brought him into the to make life an acquittal 18 months ago and the three of us went at it and. Now, where we are today we're in every state in about 19 countries and we've got five brands and. I don't know how we got into retirement, but we just keep striving and striving and that was fun. 

Ryan Alford[00:12:31]I love it. So are we. It pretty much is this year. 25, then I'm hearing if I'm adding the numbers up. Right, Rayana launching in ninety five, that 

Austin Hope[00:12:40]Rayana was 96.

Ryan Alford[00:12:44] Sotwenty four years as your own label. I guess Liberty School was always kind of your label in a way, but officially with taking it back to did you guys take it back in that same time period was a?

Austin Hope[00:12:59]A few years before that we started starting the conversation in ninety five because we were actually making them the wine and casseroles at the time back then because they didn't have space up there till it was natural. We're making wine down here and so on, so forth. So it was really ninety six. 95, 96. is when we closed the deal all together and took, took it, took it down here and gave it to give it its, its new rules because the brand was actually started in seventy five by a charity like Chuckwagon. So it's got quite the legacy actually. 

Ryan Alford[00:13:36]It's crazy. I told you kind of a pre-episode that I had known, I think and starting to follow you guys, there was some connection to Chuck Wagner but I did not know the Liberty School connection. Exactly. So that's fascinating. And even non wine drinkers, I think, know Kamus and Chuck Wagner's names. I mean, I loved it. I mean, any insights or perspective there? I mean, one of the best known cat, probably the best one of the top three or four best known cabarets in the world. Now, I would venture to say what an obviously learning from him. And I taste it now in your wines a little bit. Some of the pedigree there. I definitely would talk about that a bit, too. But are there any insights into someone that's a casual wine drinker? You've heard of Kamus. Any good Chuck Wagner stories or insights that would be like something that would be unusual or you wouldn't know or wouldn't expect coming from again, kind of a champion of cabernet. 

Austin Hope[00:14:44]And I think the probably the biggest thing that Chuck taught me, he never taught me how to make wine, and neither one of us are classically trained in winemaking, which I think is a plus. And my Head Winemaker was a welder when he started it for me. And he runs my oh, my wine now. So we definitely comes from the old school old farming background. And I think the biggest thing with Chuck and similar to me is that we're both dreamers. And if there was any one thing that Chuck influenced or taught me was I would ask him questions, when I was younger, like, hey, what do you think about this? I don't know. And I would like that concept. But think if you really take away with Chuck is that he's an absolute he's a dreamer. And I've always been that way myself. So we've always connected because we're very our brains are constantly moving. And I think we're both super ADHD. And I know I am. I know well enough. I think his mind works that way, too. We're very driven and we're always thinking about what we can do next, what we're just about that. And if you're a classically trained winemaker. Not that there's anything wrong with it. It's wonderful, but you don't have a second rule, you're this book and it might be in your industry, too. It's like this is what you do. Well, if you don't follow those rules, I mean, typically the people that are the ones that are on top are the ones that steer out of that. I mean, you can't, you can't live in these things. And we've messed up way before. And so we've learned some things and some proprietary things over the years that people looked at me like I was obsolete, saying to me that work for me is like, you can't do that kind of radical shit. I mean, it's but, 

Ryan Alford[00:16:44]Owning an agency name radical, this is all relating really well. This is why we're kindred spirits. I think we started following each other here. I'm feeling the parallel now.  

Austin Hope[00:16:57]I mean, I think that's that, but that would be my biggest thing as far as check. He's a passionate, extremely hardworking man that always is dreaming and pushing the envelope, always pushing, pushing, pushin. And I think that's what makes greatness. I mean, like I said, he didn't show me how to make it. I mean, we've talked about lines and and I appreciate the compliment about our Winesburg similarities and. And it's funny because we've been making wine for so long. It's blind squirrel finds out that every once in a while or whatever it is, it's like I think we've been extremely under the radar. And that's just the way we roll. We're never beating a drum very loud. We just do what we do. And if you talk to people in the industry, they know who I am. I've been super aggressive my whole life with them. I've always pushed distributors and in different respects than most of them do. And I was so young when I started. It was interesting that a little later on in the beginning, as I was only 22 when all this happened because I wasn't supposed to be the head of the wine company that Abramoff was, and so I was kind of just dropped in and at a really young age. I mean, I'd lie about my age and a lot of my stuff was on phones back in the day. Like, I was very aggressive and I knew whatever I wanted to do, I wanted to go. And we made wines that were good, but it wasn't till I think if you're in an industry or drink any of these wines, a lot of people know these wines that probably don't associate me right. It's like I need the glory. Because I didn't even want to name that brand osteo. And it started back in 2000, when we make a run line, we make a frog or not vydra those types of grapes from our state, and it was actually chuckwagon that pushed me to use that name back in 2000. He was looking at it and I said, I've got a drawer full of labels and their names on me. I'm always creating things all the time. And he's like, I think you should use this is awesome. Like, what do you mean that's not. It just sounds like you're egotistical. The name I am giving, the biggest heart in the world, and I just felt comfortable with a beard and thought about it for a while and he said he kept pushing on me so I can use that name. It's a good name. It sounds good. It's authentic. It's real. It's you and I like I don't know. So I finally did it on my own lines and that was I said, OK, so I did it. And over the last 10, 20 years, you get comfortable with it and now it's just a brand. Right now it's like it's like, yeah, we're talking about us and it's like, yeah, I did it. 

Ryan Alford[00:20:08]Oh, I get it all. And I'm glad Chuck pushed you to it, because let me tell you, as I've been branding some of the largest companies in the world my entire career, it is a beautiful name for a wine. And I got attached to it like, literally the first time I had it, it was purely the name like Austan who kept that sounds like a badass cabernet. And I'm going to digress for a second. The relationship of the Kamus comment to this coming from someone that considers themselves. I have a ton of wine. I have five hundred bottles in our house and some but I'm not a connoisseur. But you know what I like about you and Kamus, it tastes damn good. I like eating. So that's the connection. Now, whether or not there's a profile or this that another I know a rich, delicious wine and there's the connection. But back to the brand. Yes, very. I'm glad Chuck told you that because it's a perfect name. 

Austin Hope[00:21:01]So when we released the Austin vocab, it'd been baking for several years because actually we went through a kind of a struggle. We had some. I made some poor choices on management and kind of took my half the box. We were doing really well. And then I got off and built a distillery in Kentucky. So I wasn't paying attention to what was happening. And we kind of went with us really fast. I was like, all of a sudden I. Surfaced and the money was all messed up and sales were going down, discounting was happening, and so I had to cut ties with that little scene and clean up and rebuild the company and get it back to profitable. And which is a pretty big life lesson for me that I'll never forget and I guarantee it won't happen again. But so when we did that movie, we had really what I call the root of this brand is to your point, which you said is rich and good drinking wine. I mean, you've got critics all over the world. They're going to tell you this, tell you that, and then you've got these, of which I personally. I'm sorry. I know what I like. What I don't like. And that's sort of the biggest thing is that anybody that works for me in sales is if they have any slight pretentiousness that they're not they're not working with us because to me it's a I tell them all the time to demystify wine, make it approachable, make it easy for people, because it's already intimidating to me because, I mean, I like, I mean, like a business, I can just jump in there and start telling you what I like and don't like and how it should work and why it's like that. Plus, it's four years of this aristocratic kind of feel to it. And it was just, you didn't want to be embarrassed. Nobody wants to embarrass Obama and seek you out with your lady Merlotte. 

Ryan Alford[00:23:11]To hurt some of those Roanne varieties. Good grief. 

Austin Hope[00:23:14]You're getting the right answer. Yeah. And that's the thing that we believe that we're super, really aggressive in education demystifying. And, my dad had a guy in the back in the days to celebrate and he was one of the guys actually. It really helped with the white zinfandel movement from home. He worked for him. We sold lights up the back in the early eighties. And he said he says, boys, let's not make this too complicated, it is not the Holy Grail, it's a beverage that accompanies food and holds up to date. 

Ryan Alford[00:23:58]I love it. So when was the first year of Austin Cab. What was your launch year? 

Austin Hope[00:24:05]So 2015 was the first vintage 

Ryan Alford[00:24:09]and a big whopping score from the wine enthusiast. Didn't hurt 97. Was it a blessing and a curse? Let's just go down that path. So first year, 2015. 97 from wine enthusiasts. Wonderful or terrible or more. It's got to be more wonderful, I'm sure. But let's talk about that a bit. 

Austin Hope[00:24:29]Well it's. It's. I think that the brand has been in my head and I've been planning on something like this for seven years prior to that, so I went and found that we've been studying soils and really wanted we would shoot for the highest goal. We said we want to. And my team did even know about this yet. So this was me still working behind the scenes, not telling even my winemaking team what we were doing. So we just found new vineyards because I know we're the best sites for the best soils opera company in this area. As I've stated my whole life, and because of technology and analytics and being able to test soils and grapes and wine for Tannin and all these things go down the rabbit hole forever. This has been in my head, but I want to create the standard for luxury cabernet government and I want to be able to create it. That is drink to all, because one of the things I don't like about Cabernet is that they know a lot of people have how to do the tannins. Tannins could be so harsh and aggressive and have a bite. And it's like scotch. So a lot of people don't like scotch, but don't say they do because they think it's cool. You get that really hard wood. And I still believe that half the people that drink scotch really don't enjoy it, but they feel like they feel so good about that. So I was 

Ryan Alford[00:26:04]Like, good, that's not good stuff.

Austin Hope[00:26:07]Anyways, to get to your point, we really practice. Then I kept making the wine and we figured out how to make tenants become supple and soft, but analytically still very high. So it would have the potential, it had the weight and the density of it to create but not have that kind of of feeling. So we developed this basically, I mean, and through a couple of different proprietary things that we do and then just really find the right skills and using the right barrels and use it like there's so much goes into it, Anyways. And so prior to releasing this wine and again, go back, I'm kind of reshaping the company. We we basically took the company, dumped it out, cleaned out a whole new team, new financial team knew everything. And and I went to my distributors and met with all the presidents of one big organization. And because they have a big convention every year to pin him down because they're all there from every state at Purgatory Forum. But anyways, we go in there and I had dinner with them and I said, OK, guys, what we're doing, I'm going to make this cabernet. It's going to be 50 bucks. It's going to make a fair amount of it. And we're going to we're going to grow it. And this is going to be the standard of luxury cabernet festivals. And I believe in it. And so it's going to happen. And one of the presidents and I will remain nameless, gonna piss him off anymore. I warranties, even though he says, whoa, whoa, whoa, that's a lot of wine and that's a lot of money from this region. And, we support it, but don't go indexing my state off your goals. And I'm like I said, I am going to index up your state and he gets it. He says, well, you're going to have to get a ninety seven percent for this shit off. I said it. Ninety seven. So I don't know if it's a self professed or whatever they call that 

Ryan Alford[00:28:08]You said it?

Austin Hope[00:28:10]I did. But see your point to your question. It was Allami quite honestly because we put in so much time. I love dedication and creativity and a ton of money in this because we went around our history because it was really interesting. But I remember I was just right up the road right here when I got a text and I was like. Holy shit, and I pulled over, I mean, literally pulled over, I was like, are you serious right now? Like, I don't think that this is ever giving evidence for that from this region. And turns out it was the highest rated wine, that wine enthusiast publication in 30 years of publication score for wine. And I'm not another scory guy, per se. But it is a validation that's real. And it is very seasoned. Wine critics say that it tastes thousands and thousands of wines a year to wait for them to say that it was just like, wow, this is crazy. And then but what's interesting at that point, it was really it definitely helped light a torch to a couple of different things. One was that prior to this, we get a very aggressive promotion on the wine. So one premise is what they call restaurants and promised to be retail chains to see what the jargon is, but so we were very focused on the premise and true ways to build wine brands is on premise because a lot of times you'll see brands that blow up. It's not that that's just forced in. It's the really big companies that they go to a distributor. They say this is what's happening. They put all this marketing dollars into it. They incentivize all the salespeople. And next thing Like a brand like Josh is on is everywhere. You can't walk into somewhere, not see a brand new job. So that's forcing something into the marketplace. Sometimes they last. Sometimes they don't. But they've got to get the right flavor profiles, et cetera. The traditional way I've grown up doing it is, as you put it in the restaurant, you need restaurants to buy the glass and then the consumers will tell you. And that's what was happening with this brand. We put it's an expensive bottle of wine. But what we did is we put incentives in place to work. Restaurants could buy it at a reduced price to be able to afford or buy that glass. So next thing consumers like and they just loved it. We get the flavor profile. So that was the key, right? We did. But we tend to create a cabernet that everybody can enjoy. And it was a reasonable price, right? Because we did wine tasting and everything we do, we always do blind cases where we taste the biggest heart and we taste it again. Screaming Eagle all blind before we even bottle this wine. Like, do we fit in these frames? Are we as good or better than a fifty dollar bottle of wine from Napa to a 12 hour bottle of wine? And we thought we did and obviously we did. So then a score hit and then it was like all of a sudden the distributors like I mean we're on this, we're kicking ass and come on. 

Ryan Alford[00:31:29]But yeah, you're like, holy cow, Calderon. I wouldn't call it a bluff. You knew you had something great. I mean, but called your shot. There's nothing like Amanda was a famous baseball player on the left, the older or whatever. 

Austin Hope[00:31:43]Yeah, it was special, right. I mean, and then we followed it up. And then at this point I just kept going. And now it's like this to a point where now I kept going to say, This year. Right? I mean, 

Ryan Alford[00:32:02]You've got you followed it up with ninety five plus scores since which is pretty unheard of. It wasn't a one hit wonder. I do. I have a question about whether I've been drinking for so long but only know so much. How do you keep and though it probably comes from the same fields and all those things, how do you keep the profile so consistent? There's definitely nuances. I mean, I have all of these at home from 15 to I don't have any of the eighteen yet. But how do you maintain it? I'm sure there's processes, but that consistency of flavor? 

Austin Hope[00:32:40]That's the key. Right? That's what everybody's trying to figure out. Why? Because our competitors, I mean, we've already found out that they've been testing our wines. And because we're pretty connected. So we are here to integrate because we work with laboratories, we know people that work at different wineries and people are trying to figure out our formula, and it's not a formula. It's a and that was when you go back that seven years. Right? That was why it took so long. Because not only is it important that you can be consistent but be able to grow if you if the market dictates grow, then you need to be able to scale this and continue to make the same quality wine. And so this goes back 20 plus years, we've been figuring out how to work with barrels, what barrel profiles we've, what we used to use. We've got our own cultures. We've really been playing with this for a while. And, they go around like every school. It’s a great bottle of wine and it's always consistent. It's really gotten very good at that. So when we step it up to go into the higher end cabernet game, it was super important. And it's and it's not easy, believe me. I just came from the wine earlier tasting wines, and that's what we do. We open a bottle. And so now it's not a formula, but in a sense it is because we deal with Mother Nature. But we know the soils. We know how to manage tannins like nobody's business. And we know what works because Oak is something that is definitely influenced in the wine. But I would say we're. I would say we're very good at managing Oak because it can get away from you very quickly. Yeah. And. But to get integration with oak, get the good oak flavor is not the raw hard ones that's the hard thing. So I think we feel good. We've been able to grow every year. We did a 15 or 16, followed up with a great score than 70. We were number 10 in the world. For us, this was crazy because that's that one blew me away even more because it was the case. Twenty four thousand lines. 

Ryan Alford[00:35:01]All that's across varietals, right? I mean, no doubt, 

Austin Hope[00:35:05] In aworld that the editors and critics said, yeah, they chase twenty four thousand wines a year and then they throw in what they think are their best wines, the best hundred wines tasted that year and then they all go round and round. And that was the text that blew my mind. That was like I mean 97. I totally screwed me. 

Ryan Alford[00:35:27]And I know it will only be third place because the ninety five and the twenty in the number ten, those are probably one and two, but number three can be most popular at the Alford family parties. So, if we could get that on the website, you can raise more business. So no one in the world within the Alford residence when we have parties. So you'll cherish that one. But yeah. But in all seriousness, though, congratulations on all of that. I know it's got of you put your heart and soul, you put your name on it and to have all that hard work kind of, justified or again, I mean a score person, which I feel that from you and I already see that from you, but it still has to feel good and even to your team. I mean, like sometimes those things managing teams and stuff like that, I mean, it's kind of a pat on the back for them like, justification and things like that. 

Austin Hope[00:36:28]I agree. I think it's like I did a horrible school, right? I got pulled out of school and Plano and the grades were just there. You take them for good or bad or whatever, but it'd be much to be able to validate, I mean, this is a worldwide publication and validate something like that for multiple years in a row. And our team walks up to me. And it's interesting because I've had some of the best publicists in the world, like we've done marketing, we've done advertising, we've done you name it. And I'm always five years ahead of where we should be. And I couldn't get hold of the podcast we've done. It's just crazy. Blows your mind. I would like in-house marketing. Late yesterday I told her what I was doing with this new brand, she's like, yep, you're five years ahead again. And I'm like, shit. But it's total validation, right? It makes people feel good that you get a team and they're walking around or you can see it. It was interesting to me. It's like we've been around for so long and we've been successful. But it's almost like we're a new winery, which is uncanny. It's funny. And I've talked to people about and like they and we've helped bring more notice to pass, which is that makes me the happiest because honestly, that I guess the key that you'll take away is you get to know me. I'm a consummate marketer. I talk Passo first in a second because with this it can't just be one person. That's great. We all have to be good and all of the people who come here. So I do feel that we've, we've, we've helped get a lot of attention. I mean, just in Southern California alone, it's insane. Like I like to joke with people when they come home. I really like I spent Rebin seriously for three and a half hours away. I've never heard of this. And now all of a sudden we can't keep you out of our room, you just realized that, like, oh, I love these others like it. I like to rebuild

Ryan Alford[00:38:47]So how is that? And I do like we're going to have to have some follow up. I think we're going to create a wine segment with Austin Hope if he's down for it as part of our bi monthly if we can keep you interested, because I think we can dove deep in a lot of these areas. But I am fascinated by the wholeNapa passa. I'm sure you guys felt like the redheaded stepchild that you weren't, by the way. But yeah, but that's been both rewarding. And I am curious if that is kind of how it felt. 

Austin Hope[00:39:27]I mean, we we used to joke years ago, we'd always say we're the bastard child of - they come down bygraphsfrom us. They take it up. They're blended into the central coast of California, ablated or some of the natural sciences. You can blend in the other percentage of the regions and wine and consumers, and by law, yeah, there is a massive job. And then it was dyslectic again, if you would. Bullets fly right over us all. But now and it's like it's changed like in the last four years, three years, really, it's to see all the people coming in here and discovering it makes me happy because we are a world class growing region. And there's no question about, in my mind, that we can compete and we can compete on a world stage and so our people ask what's our goal? And I say global domination. That's it. And that's who we what we want is three Paso Robles lives. And we and the we're so much to Burset years. What school? Because and I think with three more people here, right here, maybe they came because they heard about us and they love us. And so we get in there and we show them all these other things that we do and all these other things, and we send them to our neighbors. And the diversity in our region is ridiculous, right? I mean, we've got 11 surveys that we've developed, but it's still possible. But we can I mean, I've got a neighbor that grows are that if I blindfolded you, they came from break because it's a very cool region that where he's growing it. Whereas if you go ten miles east, I mean, you are out there, it's going to taste like jet. We can grow Sirah wherever I live in the tip of theGapdistrict, which is the coolest sub region. And so that tastes like Northern Rock or leather or a blueberry or structure meat game kind of qualities. I can go 15 miles east of here and I can growsarodthere because it's the warmest region in the area that will taste like shiraz bubblegum fruit. So it's just an amazing region that I think we're just scratching the surface on what we can do. And it's exciting. 

Ryan Alford[00:41:50]I will say that Troiani Cab's a damn good bottle on two in a row like I should. 

Austin Hope[00:42:00]I should tell you this, but I'm fine and honest to a fault when people get on my ass all the time. And so Triana came about as that was my practice line for Osorno. So that's what I do. That's why I started that ramp so I could go back. I said, I've got to be able to do consistency and be able to scale. If you're going to make a real brand, that's going to be a legacy brand. And so we saw that brand started and I made it a dedication to the three men that were super influential in my life, my father, my Uncle Chuck wagon. And so that's why we kept it a good idea. And unless I felt like we've got it now, we're just going to turn it up a little bit with hope. That's how that starts. You're absolutely right. It's a kick ass ball enterprise and that's it. They want to talk about pricing because one of the big things for us is, I always want to over deliver. And one of our models are Eco's, if you will. This is to deliver an honest product first for a good price. And too often in this industry, in the and not just in the north, but here as well, people will just put a number on it. And I don't. I never ask where you come up with this. We run our business. I mean, it's a real business week, really, analytically, look at things. This is what it costs to split the costs and barrels with the people. And then we put a good margin on it. And that's what we sell it for. We don't just double it because we feel like it's like but I mean, the marketing and stuff that goes along with it is interesting. But if you really, really if you go through all of our brands, you name it, and everybody will feel like they got more. They are more flavor, more value than the price, which, that's the result people make us. 

Ryan Alford[00:44:05]So we're a couple more things and we'll save some for the next round, but. Where's this all headed? Both what's your prognostications for both the industries? I know you're someone that kind of pushes against the grain a bit, maybe with the industry and with the whole family of wineries. I mean, what kind of tidbits on where you see things going or changing holistically and then where you see the winery going? 

Austin Hope[00:44:37]The nomination was in Europe. I mean, we're pushing into other markets and, we're already in some of the Asian markets, we're pushing hard. I really mean global domination, I mean, as it passes, I got a lot more than 2000. I know the world knows this Napa Valley. Right. But I want to know the past I mean, just just as they do, they know Bordeaux or whatever. So that's my goal, mainly as far as where I think the world's going. I think contrary to the media that always is going to spin things into a negative light, I don't know which I can just hold on a second. I think wine is finally becoming a culture, whereas I don't know about you. I don't know how old you are. But when I grew up, wine was on our table, but at our house, wine is on our table every so now my daughters, I can pretty much assure you that that new generation now has seen. Right. So I think what you've created were my goal in my life. I thought it will be like I think it's only going to grow. I do think that you're going to see lower quality wines, I think are going to slowly really have to bring up their game, because what's happening is the consumers are getting educated. And that's never happened before. I mean, you think about the smell of cabernet that we've produced, that we've hit something that consumers enjoy. And this is what I enjoy. If we talked about it, I don't want to try and cabernet this like it's just like. Yeah, you're told this is good, OK, but I don't like it. And I think that not only through the Internet, through social media, our society talks more than it's ever talked before, whether it's whatever platform it is, faith based phone texting, like communication and information is flowing so freely that. And you can learn about a wine so quickly, you learn about a region so quickly that there are consumers we can educate. And so I think the consumers are going to continue to demand higher quality products. So I don't think that the average wines are going to continue to go. I think that everybody's going to step up the game because our consumers, I think, are becoming more educated and it's going to take a generation of the next generations. And all this talk about the millennials and someone else is driving me bonkers and so sick of hearing that we can't market and we can't do this. We can't do that. Maybe you'll find a way. I think people are. I think why that particular audience is is is. Not be not nice. People say they can't market you because everybody's trying to do and so they're pushing back because they're like do alone. And we don't do that. We just saw our story and we are like always like I want to move on, but I think that they'll go just like us. And that was the big one at 16 or 20 years old. I mean, I was drinking booze, beer and stuff like that. So I don't think anything's changed. I think it's a and everything is always it just keeps coming around. I keep looking back at things that. Keep changing and it's interesting. So I think I think you're going to see wine consumption continue to rise, but I do think you're going to see wine quality continue to rise because that's what the consumers are going to dictate. 

Ryan Alford[00:48:26]I agree, and I think the low guy on the totem pole has you to blame personal failure on at a great value. Well, cool man. I really think we could go on for two hours. I'm feeling this vibe that we could just keep on keeping on. But I'm going to hold you to maybe getting back together for another episode here. And how's the impact? I've been kind of staying off the whole pandemic discussion for the most part with most of the guests. But has it any impact or anything of note? I mean, you guys are probably rocking. It might be increasing sales of people at home, but have you guys seen it? I know it's probably hurt your tasting room a bit, but you guys just kind of ready to. 

Austin Hope[00:49:15]It's interesting because we're definitely off. I think this is what may well be a bloodbath for us. April, this was OK. First three months for our security. We did good. Are the same again. We rebuilt our brands on premise, on restaurants nationally, on all of our brands put together. We were like fifty six, fifty eight percent restaurants. So that's a big impact on us, over half our business. So we had to quickly shift to get to retail and to get retail authorizations. It's just like any other business. I mean, I can't go into target right now and start talking about selling on a summer line right now. They're going to be like, OK, well, be extra vigilant now. So we'll look at maybe next summer the same way. So we've already pitched two months ago for fall for supermarkets so we couldn't. So we had to shift to different manners and we're fine, but we're going to be off probably by the end of the day. We'll probably be off 10 percent as our team has been able to, to push into independent retailers where we could make our way in. But we've been I think with what we've we've also done has been super. Progressive, I think we were early on in the progressive with the SUVs, I mean, I've done some things for I'm doing one Friday for Rosie Winmar, I've done it for we've done some things with Merton's. We've done it with statehouses across the country. And it's interactive. We do zoom tastings by appointment with one of our advisors, our Casey. But the retail part business that we did have has increased, which is, I think, going to help our business. That would stabilize the losses in the restaurant. But I mean, that's, again, the media, right? Music is making more and more and more like, yeah, they're drinking more. But I don't think people realize how much wine is consumed in restaurants. It's insane. I mean, it's a big hit. Right. So that our tasting room, we were an early, early group that from my point of view, we started going straight to our audience. I went through depression and then kind of just woke up and I'm like, what are we going to do? Because we didn't furlough one employee, which was pretty scary for us, and we didn't take any of the deep stuff, so we just got to roll the dice. We've got 60 people that work for us. So it was spooky. But I was into our tasting room. Is that OK? Let's get smart. Let's do stuff. My wife and I started thinking and so we started to start communicating with our audience and we already do social media. That's fine. And we've got our timelines that we do that by another person run and. My Instagram is just random all over the place and that and then we started cooking videos because I cook a lot. So I started making cooking videos and then I showed other purveyors that are like club members used to be from one of them cooked tenderloin. And then I cooked squab from one of my buddies that's got a big scallop co-op in the valley. And I just started talking and must be really like we are and found that. And I went off and make a playlist end this week off shipping. And our direct business is actually doing great. So we find it's really weird. I mean, we don't have anybody in our tasting room and it's a bummer. And it's sad because we have such a cool tasting room outdoors. I mean, it's super chill, but we're going into a movie. We were one of the first to start doing curbside pickup. We started home delivery right out of the get go. Since this happened. We just immediately switched and now people are starting to do it more. But I mean, last time there was a line for curbside pickup. I came down and actually poured some people's taste. 

Ryan Alford[00:53:32]I love it. I try to ignore the media personally. I think there's a lot of fear spreading going on. But we'll save the politics for another time, 

Austin Hope[00:53:46]To sum it up where I'm at. I think the fear of this, if I stop watching the news a month ago, there's no answers, just no real things. And it's a shame to see how I see people in such fear. And that's my biggest fear, is things like that. I mean, we're a herd society. We've always been and we've got to protect the weak, but we've got to move on in their lives in the U.S. this year, hurting people in different ways. And they go on for days.I told my wife the second day of the quarantine lockdown that the biggest point is, no one is going. You can't create a bigger problem than you're trying to solve. 

Ryan Alford[00:54:35] I think that's the bottom line. Is it like there's no easy answers here, but you can't create a bigger hole than the one you're trying to get out of. So, anyway, I digress. Hey, man, it's been awesome. Huge fanboy over here on the lines, of course. But have from afar noticed a little bit of the rebel attitude and the kind of approach. And it comes through in a delicious wine, but also a great guy. And I really appreciate it. Our listeners are going to be thrilled to kind of hear a little bit of that back story, the Chuck Wagner stuff is fascinating. And, look forward to growing our friendship and talking down the line. 

Ryan Alford[00:55:23]I love it, man. Thank you so much. It's a moderate flatter that you did. It's super cool. Like I said, I like what you're doing. And thank you for having me, man. 

Ryan Alford[00:55:25]So sweet. Well, this is Ryan Alford for the Radical Company podcast. You can follow along at Radical Dot Company or find us on Instagram at Radarscope Radical underscore results. We'll see you next time 

Austin Hope

Award-winning Winemaker / Owner of Hope Family Vineyards