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During a commencement address for the MBA program where Belly Dragger was born, it was stated that the best wine pursuit is not necessarily a sound investment and value is a tricky word in our business.

I have maintained a day job selling other people’s wines while Dragger has grown up. I’m marking four years of late-night emails and excel worksheets from the couch after dinner. During the first canning, I cried alone in my home office when I was texted a video of our first pallet ever made being shrink wrapped. Watching the cases spin, I was overcome by the sense of accomplishment, followed immediately by the longing to be there and the regret of instead being on a WebEx watching yet another marketing presentation roll by. It wasn’t fear of missing out, I really was missing out.

But thankfully, I am a fighter, a hunter, and a dreamer so I keep pushing to connect to the value; that tricky word I define for myself as passion. This is what I recommit to every time I face the daily trade-off of my time, every time I close one laptop at 5pm only open another at 7pm. Passion works in the marketplace, it’s the only thing that really does. The alternative is programming, followed by more programming, followed by discounting, followed by a relaunch … and so the corporate supplier calendar turns.

On the other hand, we’ve appointed several Heads of Marketing after a few drinks in the backyard. And that’s how it’s gone down for us; the Three Fs as they call it in fundraising … family, friends, and fools.

After presenting a formal business plan (back to the nightly laptop-couch time) complete with appendices and a brand-new presentation folder from Staples, one of our FFF class investors told me he would’ve invested if I had just handed him the idea scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

So yes, maybe sound investments and value are hard to come by in wine, but I’ve thoroughly loved the Dragger journey … the beat, the heartbeat if you will. I look forward to writing more and reporting back on times we’ve had, from sheer terror to insane joy, and maybe most importantly, the best that I believe it yet to come.