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March 25, 2011 |

This might be more information than you wanted...

Last night my wife and I had supper at Great Lakes Pizza in Chicago.

It's a favorite spot of ours for killer pizza and seasonal salads - in spite of the extremely quirky owner/pizzamaker and the inevitably long wait for what ends up being a cramped rickety seat at a noisy table.

We made a decision over a bottle of Jean-Paul Brun's Beaujolais Blanc that we will (and here's the scary part) together tell you more about our business start-up story via video this year.

A kind of Reality-TV look into how and why we founded Israeli Wine Direct, to include the occasional stress, upset and disruption even a tiny start-up like ours can have on a family and a marriage and a bank account.

While we want to keep doing a better job telling you the personal stories of the winemakers we work with, we realize we should also be sharing perhaps more of our Story, too. So you can see how it's all related. We want to connect the dots better for ourselves and take you along for some of that ride, too.

This is maybe sort of risky but I can promise you this will be REAL.

I think any start-up, especially one from within the context of a marriage, leaves you asking questions like,

What are we meant to do? REALLY uniquely meant, even called, to do?

How did we get here?

Why are we doing this?

What if we didn't?

It's fascinating experiencing our micro-importer business through the lens of a marriage that's 17 years and 4 amazing kids deep.

So we want to share some of that. For better and worse and all...

My wife's name is Michaux (she pronounces it like Misha). She's as pragmatic and grounded and level as I am often the opposite, which is a good thing, since someone has to know how to pay bills and stuff and remember to Fasten Your Seatbelts and Remain Calm through life's turbulence.

We met in a Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program in North Carolina in 1990. So, as you might imagine, our brains are now forever focused on relationships and systems and process, the filaments of connection and meaning that bind people together. And we are frequently trying to figure out what it all means and live as purposefully as possible, as flawed as we both are.

Maybe along the way of our sharing you'll glean something that makes you think or moves you a bit closer towards your own DREAM or, more likely, makes you dig Michaux (a lot) but want to throw something at me that's sharp and pointed!

Anyway, more to come...maybe we will post our first video this weekend.

Feel free to write us with questions you have about Israeli wine or our little biz or the interplay of marriage and business and we will try to respond via video or in the Comments section at least.

Catch you later...

You can follow Michaux on Twitter here.

You can follow Richard on Twitter here.


Jim Veal's Gravatar
Jim Veal
@ Mar 26, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Having worked with you and become your friend (which is an honor) I have often wondered how you manage to balance everything you do. And frankly, why you would attempt to do so much at the same time. One thing you might not have had the time to notice, and the one thing that might trump all of the associated difficulties, is that you have managed to change the world. Now it might be in a small way, relatively speaking, but none the less, you did change the world. Who does that? Not many. Through the sheer force of your will, you have taken Israeli Wines from nowhere to somewhere. Three years ago, you might find mevushal Holiday wines, stuck on the bottom shelf in the back of the store under "kosher", and they might be kosher wines from Israel, but just as likely from Chile! Today, on the wine lists of fine restaurants, you will find a Margalit, a Pelter or a Tulip. And when you do, it came from Richard Shaffer. From D.C to San Francisco, New York to Houston, you have been the champion for these deserving wines. Large distributors who have buried Israeli wines, and just assumed they could sell bad kosher wines in certain quantities during the Holy days, and counted that little money as a given....are now taking notice. And even the large wineries in Israel, who for decades were content to make very poor wines, have seen what careful fine winemaking can produce from this amazing place, and are themselves raising the bar. A Carmel wine won the very prestigious Decanter Award last October in London. The pioneers with the grit to work hard like you do, are the reasons this is all changing. And having a spouse who will support you, and really make it possible, is even more amazing!

And back to the Family angle. Four kids and bride. Team Shaffer! One day your kids will look at you and say, "That's my MOM and DAD. They changed the world!" How cool is that, Richard?

Hell, I have motivated myself! I'm gonna go pop a cork. Maybe a Margalit Enigma is in order?

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richard shaffer
@ Mar 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM
Thanks, Jim!

You're my brother!


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