Rage, Rapture, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Greed…what does this have to do with running a business, philanthropy, and backcountry skiing? It all ties under Lodi’s premier winery; Michael David Winery. David Phillips is a co-owner of the winery with his brother Michael and their family has been farming the fertile soil in Lodi, California for 5 generations- since 1865 to be exact. However, they weren’t always growing grapes and making wine. “My parents put up a card table on the side of the road and started selling tomatoes for 25 cents a basket. I grew up with selling product at fruit stands” David said.
Long before the wine, the Phillips farm thrived at farmer’s markets and fruit stands. They started growing grapes for other wineries when one day, their biggest customer said they were not going to buy grapes. With a full crop of luscious grapes, Dave said, “Let’s do this ourselves and take matters into our own hands.” Changing your business model, investing in oak barrels, learning a new industry, and putting everything on the line is what it took to get started. It took a decade of tripling down on their business and building it from the ground up but MD Winery now is the proud maker of the best selling Zinfindel in the world, 7 Deadly Zins. They had some fun with names and their premium line of Zins includes names and wines like Rage, Lust, Greed, and more. They didn’t stop there- their FreakShow Cabernet is a 90 point wine for just 20 bucks and the label has, well, a FreakShow on it!
This conversation is about so much more than wine. In fact, Dave and his wife Corene talk about how they have supported the local community of Lodi; from offering a helping hand to their competitors in the wine business to fundraising to build better sports facilities for high school students. The Phillips family continues to farm in Lodi, but their crop extends far beyond food and wine. They’ve cultivated a strong sense of community and continually strive to make the world a better place around them with their business as a launchpad.
Topics Discussed in the Podcast
- What Lodi, California is known for
- The history of Michael David Winery and how it was started
- Transition from being a farmer and working at farm stands to wine
- 7 Deadly Zins
- Managing scaling and growing a business
- Supporting local community
- Leading by example to empower others to give back to their community
- Taking on ultra-endurance events like hiking Annapurna in Nepal, half-Ironman Triathlons, and backcountry skiing
- Follow Michael David Winery on Facebook
- Get FreakShow Jerseys and other MD Winery Apparel
- FreakShow Cabernet!
- Fig Desert Recipe: quarter figs, bake them at 400deg till bubbly, add some nuts (like walnuts) and cook a few more minutes. DONE
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