The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2011

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Page 64 of 128

BRAND SPOTLIGHT Shoo-In A hat's a back-to-the-earth kind of guy doing in a corporate boardroom for a major wine conglomerate? Pretty much anything he wants. "They told me, 'Keep your earring, keep your long hair,'" David Georges, the vintner for flipflop wines, is saying at the Brandman University campus in Monterey, CA. "They told me, 'Be who you are.'" "They" is The Wine Group, and the corpora- tion hired Georges when it decided to enter the so-called "fighting varietals" category—$7 to $14 bottles of wine that are true to their varietal character. And so Georges is still the guy who never wears shoes (except when it's raining or he's going to work). He doesn't always wear jeans, but his wardrobe is casual chic. And he's a low-key guy who talks softly, laughs easily and preaches the value of a laid-back lifestyle. His casualness belies a passion for nature, and for doing good. The amazing part of the story is that these passions have combined to produce a staggering success in the wine world, as flipflop has made a huge splash since its introduction in January. "We saw an opportunity to differentiate ourselves—and it's working," Georges says. Is it ever. flipflop has already passed its sales goals for the year, and it made a $100,000 dona- 64 / the tasting panel / october 201 1 WINEMAKER DAVID GEORGES MAY PREACH THE VALUE OF A LAID-BACK LIFESTYLE, BUT flipflop wines ALSO SHOWS HIS ALTRUISTIC SIDE for Good Deeds W story and photos by John Curley tion to Soles4Souls, the firm's philanthropic partner, in August. They had pledged to donate $1 for each bottle of wine sold up to 100,000. The outfit has distributed 13 million pairs of new or gently worn shoes to impoverished people around the world. Buy a bottle of flipflop, and the charity will deliver a pair of shoes to someone in need. David Georges has combined his passions for nature, philanthropy and winemaking. The vintner helps pack up shoes that will be distributed by Soles4Souls, the philanthropic partner of flipflop wines. Georges's involvement with Soles4Souls and philanthropy in general is a very per- sonal thing. "I don't have any shoes left in my closet!" he laughs. "I'm buying shoes at Goodwill to contribute." Georges is at Brandman to help Wanda Vollmer, the Senior Academic Adviser there, get a shoe drive off the ground. It's her second campaign. The first one netted 267 pairs.

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