YEDaily: Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris

Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard are the founders of house wine, a personalized wine experience for the unfamiliar to the savvy. Offering different types of interactions with wine for all of their clients, they began eight years ago and are continuing to grow every day. Take a look at how in today’s YEDaily.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
At house wine, we enliven people’s relationship with wine. We do this by offering private, corporate and public tastings, team building seminars, cellar management and personal wine shopping. house wine advocates wine pleasure without pretence, where wine is demystified and laughs are guaranteed.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
We were working so hard for other people and wanted to work hard for ourselves. We loved working together as well as sharing our passion for wine with others. People started asking us to put on wine tastings for them in their homes. As much as we enjoyed doing this, we knew that we could not sustain a business doing this alone. We had plenty of ideas for other wine-related services we could offer so we developed these and built house wine to where it is today. Some of our ideas are still in development and we look forward to launching them in the near future.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
The fact that every day is different. One day we may be in a private cellar organizing, cataloguing and appraising a collection of stunning wine, the next day we’ll be writing an article, the following day we’ll be delivering a sit-down seminar for 100 people, and the day after that we’ll be going into someone’s home to lead a casual tasting for an intimate group. And, of course, we taste wine every day, whether it is assessing samples at our home office or visiting wine regions abroad.

The most challenging part?
Shutting off. There is always another email to reply to. 

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Our goal is to be Canada’s go-to resources for wine related services. house wine is well-established in British Columbia. We will continue to build an even stronger presence here and expand the company to other provinces.

What does success look like to you?
Being happy. This comes from creating a sustainable business that allows us to do what we absolutely love.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When the company was able to support both of us. Before (and after) we started house wine, many people told us that we would never be able to make a living as wine consultants. When we started, we were working full time jobs and studying. We devoted evenings and weekends to house wine. We were finally able to grow the company to a point where one of us could leave our job and run house wine full time (Michelle in 2006). Just over two years later we reached a point when Michaela was also able to quit her job and come on board full time. We have continued to grow and today we regularly contract other sommeliers to help us with events and are currently hiring to fill a full time Admin Assistant/Event Coordinator role. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Be persistent. The rewards are great when you persevere.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We get asked to donate to many fantastic causes. Though we’d love to support them all, we choose those that are most meaningful to us. Both of us have been touched by cancer so we so we donate to the BC Cancer Foundation. We also both have a background in the arts and feel very strongly about encouraging the arts in BC. As such, we support festivals such as MusicFest and the DOXA Film Fest. Finally, we support Les Dames d’Escoffier which gives scholarships to women aspiring to a career in the food and wine industry. 

What is Notable to you?
Success not at all costs. Being successful without compromising balance, integrity, health, or relationships with family and friends.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
We currently have Blackberries but will be switching to iPhones with the launch of the iPhone 5.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
Yoga, enjoying great food and wine with family and friends, traveling, singing and dancing with abandon, laughing uncontrollably.