We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Ward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I do! My business slogan is, “Taking the Snooty Out of Wine.” This means everything to me because I’ve spent my entire career in the industry before launching Wine Expressions, and there are a lot of people who taint this industry by making wine unapproachable. I have always made it fun and want to educate consumers in the most laid-back way. Wine can be intimidating and not everyone studies it, so there is no reason to be a snob to people. This also speaks about my online boutique, I create really fun and unique wine-themed apparel and accessories.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is totally unique and I offer more than 1 service. I also had to get creative since COVID has changed how we all do business. As I mentioned, I’ve been in the wine & hospitality business my entire career and am a Certified Specialist in Wine. Part of my business is that I am a Wine Broker for one of the best wine importers in the USA and I can offer wine through my mailing list that gets delivered directly to your doorstep! It’s not a club or a membership, you only pay for what you order. The second part of my business is that I host wine events. Prior to COVID, these were private events where I paired up with chefs and musicians and held them in homes or venues. Now, I host Virtual Wine Tastings that are great for a corporate happy hour or getting together “virtually” with some friends. They’ve been going really well and I custom design them for each client. They are also professionally produced, so it’s not like you’re on a Zoom call. Since COVID restrictions have changed a bit, I am now able to host live events again. They are limited to 10 and are held outside. I launched with Pilates & Wine classes, but I can also come to a home and host a wine tasting class outside. It’s like a wine bar coming to your house! I bring the wine and the glassware. The third part of my business is an online Boutique shop that is wine-themed apparel and accessories. What sets me apart is that my suppliers are in the USA (not China), eco-friendly, and I also create all my designs and handprint almost everything. I started this part of the business because I was tired of seeing cheap products from China and companies that mostly do the same designs. They didn’t come off to me as wine professionals, so with my products, you have a wine professional behind the designs and someone who sources from eco-friendly companies.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The last time my BFF visited me was for my wedding in 2018, so we didn’t get to “tour the town.” I’m a surfer and she has taken a lesson in the past, but I would first love to get her in the ocean. My family recently moved to Cardiff and I love all the surf options that are just 5 minutes away! COVID has obviously changed some things I’d love to do, but I love the options we have in Encinitas to eat and drink outside. I really can’t single one place out, that wouldn’t be fair (laughs). I enjoy the “boardwalk” above San Elijo and the incredible views you get, it’s really easy to spread out too. The trails at Torrey Pines are also great with gorgeous views and they’re not as crowded as places like Potato Chip. Hopping on the train and heading to Oceanside is another treat. Enjoy a local beer on the way and then hit up the hip boutiques and some of the best dining in North County. Wine tasting in Baja would be a wonderful experience to expose people to, and we are fortunate to be so close.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to first give a shoutout to my husband, Dave. He is a retired lawyer turned Entrepreneur and was my #1 cheerleader in taking the leap to launch my own business. Starting your own business is SCARY and I wanted to be entirely self-funded, so the debt is on me if I fail. My husband really helped guide me through a new world for my business – social media. I knew nothing about the ins and outs of it for business nor did I know how to run a proper email campaign, let alone a FB ad. I’m a quick learner and want to manage my work, so it didn’t take long for me to get a grasp of things after he helped me get started. I now manage all my social media outlets and create all the content. I also need to give a shout out to Kim Kuznitz from Kim K Pilates and Surfilates, she nominated me. She and I team up for events. We host Pilates & Wine Events that are limited to 10 people and held outside. Classes are only $50 and attendees are treated to an hour of Pilates Mat with her and then an hour of wine tasting & education with me. They’re a blast!
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wineexpressions/ Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WineExpressionsShop