James and Joanna of Niche Wine Co: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are James and Joanna of Niche Wine Co, who started their company as farmers with a love for making (and drinking) wine. What’s the biggest challenge of their operation? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
We are not a big company; in fact, we’re as small as it gets. We’re farmers who love making (and drinking) wine and we happily spend our days picking, pressing and power washing. We harvest grapes from small batch crops and our wines benefit from gravity, smarts and a few strong hands. All Niche wine is produced entirely from grapes grown by Hugh and Mary Vineyard, a small vineyard owned and operated by our parents, Kathleen and Jerry.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
James’ dad read a book called The Heartbreak Grape and fell in love with the idea of planting Pinot Noir. James then went off to winemaking school in Ontario (where we met) and the rest is history.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The vineyard is a constant reminder that Mother Nature is in charge and that can be both rewarding and extremely challenging. The reality of this business is that everyday is an adventure (the wine drinking is also a real bonus).

Where do you see your business going in five years?
We hope to open a picnic area and lounge this coming spring. Drip coffee and butter are two things I am also really passionate about so I would love to open a bakery in the next five years.

What does success look like to you?
When someone asks you about the best Pinot Noir you’ve ever had, we immediately come to mind.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Selling our first bottle of wine certainly tops the list.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Be bold and follow your dreams. Life is too short not to.

What is notable to you?
James and I work full time by day and build our business by night and on the weekends. This makes for busy schedules and a fair amount of juggling, but we’ve got a dream and we’re committed to making it happen.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I have an iPhone but James is sold on the Samsung Galaxy. We have agreed to disagree on this one.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
We drink wine, we play outside, and we dream big.