Glasshaus Wines – A Community Supported Winery




Are you a supporter of local agriculture? Do you have a CSA? Yet  has that weekly box of farm fresh produce become problematic? A surfeit of kale? An onslaught of zucchini? A tsunami of tomatoes? If you find yourself in this situation, perhaps you should support an equally righteous endeavor but one, though certainly heartening, provides much more fun. Glasshaus Wines, a Community Supported Winery, fits this description. Located in Sonoma County, Glasshaus produces premium wines and shares its profits with youth mentoring programs. Its wines are marketed via a CSW – buy a share, receive a case of wine from the current vintage. Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are available. The “community” aspect of this CSW is not so much geographical as ideological: a share supports a small winery created along the guidelines of “compassionate capitalism”.

Glasshaus Fedrick Harvest Pinot Noir

Glasshaus Fedrick Pinot Noir Harvest 2013

The force behind Glasshaus is one of the wineaux here at WineDineWithUs – Rodney Gagnon. The four of us met at wine school, formed a tasting group to perfect our tasting skills and eventually established this blog. Rodney has gone on to follow his passion, becoming a winemaker and now establishing Glasshaus wines. In his lateset newsletter, Rodney details his oneological evolution that led to his present position and details the workings of Glasshaus. I include that newsletter here. If you find the story compelling, check out the Glasshaus Winery website. Follow the unfolding story on Facebook and Twitter (@glasshauswines).

Rodney writes –

Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’m hoping Mr Fitzgerald was wrong and you’ll read and share my story.

Is it truly better to be lucky than good?

“Maybe – if you just want to be good, not much better than average”, write Jim Collins and Morten Hansen in their 2011 NY Times article What’s Luck Got to Do With It. But they go on to explain that if we want to do something great, we must maximize our return-on-luck (ROL), either good or bad, by increasing our intensity, deepening our purpose, recommitting to values and never letting up. This is Glasshaus Wine Company’s origin story.

Turning Lack of Success (or Luck) into Following Your Passion

By the end of 2009, I had the great fortune to work beside extremely talented technology entrepreneurs for almost 20 years. The technological challenges were satisfying but the problems that we were solving were less than inspiring and the businesses failed to achieve more than a modicum of success. So, in 2010, after completing a wine studies program at Boston University, I set out to create my own luck and follow my dream to become a winemaker. Crazy, right? I thought so too.

Feeling Lucky:
From Google Search to The Wine Capital of the World

I never expected that typing “French Wine Internship” into a Google search box would land me in Bordeaux for six months. But, that is exactly what happened. From July to December 2010, I had the opportunity to contribute in every aspect of winemaking, from land to label. Luck then propelled me to Sonoma to direct sales and production of a custom winemaking company while completing a winemaking certification from UC Davis. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

Combining Experience, Passion and Purpose:
The First Crowd-Funded Winery with a Social Mission

Glasshaus Wines, a community supported winery (CSW), was inspired by community supported agriculture (CSA) and born from a need to make a difference. Members purchase shares of wine production prior to harvest at a 20% discount and are given complete visibility into winegrowing, winemaking and operations. In addition, Glasshaus invests 20% of its profits to support local organizations that provide successful youth mentoring programs. We all drink well while doing good!
Our mission is simple:
  1. Produce Kick-Ass wines whose value always exceeds their price, and
  2. Make a difference in the world by providing kids with positive role models.

2013 CSW Wine Shares Available

One (1) share equals one (1) case of ultra-premium Pinot Noir (6 750ml bottles) and Chardonnay (6 750ml bottles) from the venerable Sangiacomo Family Vineyards in the Sonoma Coast AVA. If you are a fan of California Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay, you’ll know that wines from this region are arguably the next big thing. The current 2013 pre-harvest share price is $364.80/share, for a savings of $91.20/share.

KRAMER: Hey, would you do me a solid?
JERRY: Well, what kind of solid?

Provoked by Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking TED Talk,
I’m humbly asking you to help me create my own form of art.
  • If I’m lucky, you’ll share my story with 10 of your nearest and dearest wine friends and they’ll signup for our newsletter to be cool like you.
  • If I’m really lucky, you (if you haven’t already) and your wine friends will join the CSW by purchasing 2013 wine shares.
  • If I’m really really lucky, together we’ll have started a movement where we can all drink well while doing good.

One Last Thing

Whether you decide to become a member of Glasshaus Wines’ CSW or not, I wish you luck in the pursuit of your dreams and your efforts to make a difference in the world. I leave you with the inspiration for this message, Michael Lewis’ 2012 Princeton Commencement Address on luck and success. Enjoy and live your passion.
Sincerely Yours,Rodney Gagnon
Founder/WinemakerP.S. As always, I am eternally grateful for those of you who believed in our cause from day one and were the first to join the CSW. THANK YOU!

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