A fitting celebration on The Chapters today. 100 posts later, typing this brings us much joy! Meet our new National Ambassador and our very first full-time employee, Andy Bartee. Welcome to Smith Story Wine Cellars Andy! Ali and Andy have crossed paths while working the Texas and National wine markets over the years. We are excited to have him as he brings a vast amount of world wine sales experience wrapped up with integrity and professionalism. He also has a thing for socks... so sort of a no brainer that he's the guy for us!
A Storyteller Podcast is in the works, until then, just pretend you're hearing us while you read:
Ali: First of all, welcome to the family. We are pumped to have you join us in our quest to expand the Smith Story vision and grow sales for our new winery. Our first 5 years were an ass-kicker, hoping the next 5 will being a little more fun and business as usual as we grow. We know you’re up for it!
Eric: So... tell our world of Smith Story about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live and what is your vision for this new position National Ambassador for Smith Story?
Andy: Well, thank you Ali, Eric and Sandwich for the opportunity. I am thrilled to be a part of something truly unique and special, and feel lucky to have been chosen to be a part of the next chapter with Smith Story. To watch you guys grow and mature as a winery has been nothing short of miraculous, and fun to see how you have grown in popularity and in notoriety! The wines have been high quality and had a high standard since day 1, but to see the expansion in the varietals and single vineyards to add to that distinction is also a very exciting thing to see over the last 5 years.
Kudos to you two for taking your combined experience and truly establishing something that appeals to the masses, while having fun and keeping the love for people at the forefront of your business model. I am looking forward to joining and adding to that recipe, and taking on the challenge of expanding the vision you guys have for the next 5 years to come!
Ali: The people cheering us on are the real reason we've reached the level of success we have out of the gates. We are excited for them to get to know you!
Andy: So, a little bit about myself... Well, I was born and raised in Oklahoma, where my Mom and Dad and some other extended family still reside. I am a die hard Oklahoma State alumni and fan, and proud of my heritage and upbringing that define a good portion of who I am today. I love my home state, but also love the state of Texas where I reside today, East Dallas to be specific. I live in the Lake Highlands area with my beautiful wife Hanah and her two awesome kids Sam and Sofia, who also have roots in Oklahoma where Hanah and I met as kids 25+ years ago.
Eric: well that beats us by 10 years (we met in 2003 when Ali started courting me. Ali: ha!). What are you into besides wine, we know you have a life outside of work, right?
Andy: I love to watch films of all sorts, exercise, travel, play board games, cook, play golf, hang out with friends, read a good book, and spend time with my family. I love wine, and depending on the day, meal, the group of friends, or the atmosphere I a have so many favorite varietals that reflect each of those moments and memories. To me, the most ideal experience is a glass of bubbles, some cheeses, and charcuterie with my bride over some good conversation.
Ali: bubbles and cheese, you are our people for sure. You've worked for some great companies and wineries (Glazer's, European Cellars, Copain and most recently Ehlers Estate). What made you follow a career in wine?
Andy: A little bit about my journey that brought me to today; I lived in Oklahoma until just after college when I was offered a job in Houston in the Pharmaceutical field, so I took the plunge from and Okie to a Texan. After a short time in the Pharma industry, someone approached me with a chance to sell wine for a living, where I thought and maybe even said out loud "I can get paid to do that?" Being a kid from a state that at the time most of everyone I ran with drank Beer and Whiskey, I too knew very little about the vast industry that I have now been a part of for nearly 13 years.
Now with the experience at the distribution, import, export and national level, I feel like this opportunity is ideal to partner with you two and expand my horizons even more by learning more from your knowledge and experiences. I love the innovation, the story (no pun) and the energy that the 3 of you bring to this industry and in turn my vision is to add another layer of creativity and personality to an already budding Smith Story!
Eric and Ali: Well cheers to that!! And we're glad you have a sizable collection of running shoes... you're ready for us! Welcome to the most fun and interesting part of your journey yet Andy.
Our Story continues to grow... join us in welcoming Andy everyone! Andy can be reached at ANDY AT SMITHSTORYWINES DOTCOM - contact him with your distribution questions, account needs, private tasting requests, sock advice... we look forward to having both Andy and Hanah with us this week as we continue connecting the stories of Smith Story Wine Cellars.
- Eric and Ali