Creating Opportunities in the Wine Industry With Jena Domingue of WineDirect

by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Jul 13, 2022

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast
Jena Domingue

Jena Domingue is the Vice President of Talent, Culture, and Sales at WineDirect, a leading provider of direct-to-consumer (DTC) solutions for wineries. At WineDirect, Jena leads the client success teams across e-commerce and fulfillment and has also been responsible for fulfillment sales growth of over $50 million in revenue. She has led the development of WineDirect’s programs including the strong onboarding program and the WineDirect Academy training program. As an accomplished senior executive, Jena has over 20 years of experience in the wine, e-commerce, digital marketing, luxury goods, and staffing industries. 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Jena Domingue reveals why she entered the wine industry
  • How WineDirect’s company culture has evolved
  • WineDirect’s strategies for meeting employees’ needs during the pandemic
  • The benefits of direct-to-consumer (DTC) in the wine industry — and how WineDirect leverages it
  • Jena shares her inspiration for establishing Urban Vino and how the group helps wine brands grow
  • Jena’s advice for wineries starting their own podcast
  • Jena’s educational opportunities for brands
  • How WineDirect helps brands identify industry trends

In this episode with Jena Domingue

Growing a successful wine brand requires building relationships with consumers and other brands. Yet, many wineries — particularly those run by people of diverse backgrounds — struggle to sustain these connections and feel isolated from their industry as a result. So, how can you establish yourself in your field?

Jena Domingue recommends seeking out resources, educational opportunities, and wine clubs to leverage trends and industry knowledge. Jena’s club, Urban Vino House of Brands, allows wineries to share practical information with each other, exchange products, and connect with diverse individuals. And by studying yearly industry impact reports, you can glean actionable direct-to-consumer (DTC) insights to scale your brand and stand out.  

Join Drew Thomas Hendricks and Bianca Harmon in this episode of Legends Behind the Craft as they interview Jena Domingue, Vice President of Sales, Talent, and Culture at WineDirect, about leveraging valuable opportunities in the wine industry. Jena discusses the benefits of DTC in the wine industry, how Urban Vino helps wine brands scale, and key educational opportunities for brands.

.Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!

To learn more, visit or email us at to schedule a strategy call.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show

Drew Hendricks  0:19  

Drew Thomas Hendricks here I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Past guests of Legends Behind the Craft include Andrew Means from Transom, Scout Driscoll, founder of Vint and Shana Bull. Shana is a master in social media strategy for wineries and she’s just about to launch a new social media class. So head over to our site for more information. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead Barrels Ahead we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy. When that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue. Go to today to learn more. Today I’ve got Bianca Harmon joining us again Bianca is a direct consumer marketing strategist. at Barrels Ahead. If you want to level up your direct consumer game, gotta give her a call. How’s it going, Bianca?

Bianca Harmon  1:15  

It’s going good Drew, thanks for having me on. I excited to talk with Jena today and learn about all of the things Jena has her hands in.

Drew Hendricks  1:25  

Yes, she’s got a bunch of things going on in today’s guests is Jena Domingue. She is Senior Vice President at WineDirect head of talent, culture and sales. Jena is just a master at everything end to end DTC solutions from e-commerce onboarding to last mile wine delivery. And during Jena’s tennard, WineDirect it’s grown from a startup to over $100 million dollars in sales. Welcome to the show. Jena.

Jena Domingue  1:51  

Thank you so much Drew.

Drew Hendricks  1:53  

Thank you so much for being on. So Jena. That’s a quite a quite an impressive tenure at WineDirect. How did you get into this industry?

Jena Domingue  2:00  

Thank you, you know, it was almost almost 10 years ago now as a whole. It’s interesting, I started I was in previously in pharmaceutical cosmeceutical sales, calling on doctors. And I sort of thought about my future, I thought, what’s next? And I said, I’m going to actually decide and choose what my what next is. And I decided I wanted it to be wine. And so I originally started thinking I was going to start my own wine company. And

Drew Hendricks  2:26  

I want to cut you off. Why Why?

Jena Domingue  2:29  

Why wine? Well, being at that I was in Northern California. I looked down south and it was all techie. And I thought there was nothing technical about me, there’s no way I’m going to work in tech. I looked up north and there was wine. And I thought yeah, good wine I can do right. And so that is how I decided on wine. And then I was going to start my own company. I had a girlfriend who worked at Wine direct, and she said you should really come meet my CEO and pitch your company idea. And which was open vino, which I will talk about a bit. And I wouldn’t pitch to my CEO. He said, Absolutely. We’d love to back you. But will you come work for me? And I said, Well, of course I’ll come work for you. It’s a great opportunity to you know, learn the business and make some great connections. Here I am nine years later. And my story

Drew Hendricks  3:17  

Long story short, yeah. So in right now, at what WineDirect you’re doing your head of talent and culture. What does that entail?

Jena Domingue  3:24  

So that’s essentially our HR department. Although it’s, you know, we like to sort of, it’s more enriched in that we’re doing, of course, the common recruiting and, you know, employee manuals, and handbooks, all the things that go with that. But we’re also doing things like we’ve got to, you know, we oversee the Wellness Committee, we’ve got anyone engagement, you know, someone who’s over there. So we just want to make sure that the life of somebody at WineDirect is very full and engaging. And there’s lots of opportunities to grow, whether it’s in their career or in the wine industry, or as just as an individual. So it’s an all around sort of encompassing department.

Drew Hendricks  4:02  

Well, so that’s, that is really, really important. The fact that WineDirect does put so much emphasis on the internal employees well being. Absolutely. During the nine years, you’ve been there, how has the culture evolved?

Jena Domingue  4:15  

Tremendously? Yeah, I could say that, you know, when I started, you know, sales was a one man department, you know, support, maybe maybe we had one or two people in support. I think that department is now almost 50 people, you know, across the board of, you know, when when you think about well, e-commerce for sure, we didn’t have we had maybe one. But now when you think about fulfillment and e-commerce, which, you know, we span, you know, both sectors. We’ve got almost 50 people supporting our clients, if not more. So it’s changed quite a bit. And we are now while we’re still I sit at Mom and Pop field and it’s very much you can walk into the CEOs office or anyone’s office and say hello and have a conversation. I think we’ve got grown up. We’re maturing, we’re turning into, you know, a company where SOPs matter, you know, KPIs, our measurements, our data, all of those things really have taken center stage.

Drew Hendricks  5:13  

Especially the SOPs like as a company matures, it’s that you start with the wild west and the SOPs are sifting so quickly, can’t really even write them down. You finally know that you’ve reached that next plateau or not a plateau but the next level when you’re able to actually codify them a bit.

Jena Domingue  5:29  

You got it. That’s absolutely where we are. And so to really just defining who we are at the heart of it, which is why we have things like the wellness committee, we decided as a company that we really cared about our employees health and well being whether it’s mental health, you know, physical health, we just had an amazing walkathon company wide and, and that was fun. It challenged so many people just to get out from behind the desk and you know, walk at lunch, walk the dog on coffee break. And it was just a lot of fun.

Drew Hendricks  5:56  

Sounds like it’s best be great to be doing a walkathon again, having come out of the pandemic. And I know he’s fell spent. We’ve all spent many, many hours talking about it. But from a from the from a health and wellness perspective, you’re in a unique position to kind of talk to us about how your position kind of evolved through the pandemic and coming out of it. What were some of the things that you learned or implemented that are just going to continue on now that we’re kind of moving out of the pandemic?

Jena Domingue  6:23  

That’s a great question. You know, it starts with the mental health of our employees. What happened was, you know, thankfully, we it because of the Napa fires, we had sort of had a couple of fire drills, where we had to quickly pivot and get our people working from home, but present and available to all of our winery clients that needed help, you know, and it was tough, because oftentimes, our own employees were the ones also needing to evacuate meeting services. And so while we were taking care of our employees, we needed our employees to also take care of our clients. And we had to do that, you know, in a pivot without missing a beat. And so we had a couple of fire drills, unfortunately, from the fires, we were sort of used to going home and working. So once we made the decision to go home, we really ran with it. And we you know, I immediately rally the team. And we started doing you know, things like, let’s make sure we have at least the ones a week face to face. I wanted to make sure I could look at that team, you know, eye to eye, how are you doing? How’s your health? You know, are you staying tuned in? I sent out my managers ring lights, just so that they could feel good about getting on camera every day? You know? So we started some pilot, you know, there were just different policies, health policies, you know, caretaking policies that we had to implement in the you may not have COVID, but your partner may, how do we you know, make sure we ensure that you can care for your partner, your children. And so all kinds of policies where we had to really think about what are the needs of our employees? And how do we meet those needs so that they can yet be effective for our clients?

Drew Hendricks  7:57  

Very good. And so going forward? Is everybody we are you still remote or people alternating or,

Jena Domingue  8:06  

of course, our you know, our core warehouse staff is, you know, thank God for them. They are in the building every day all day. Our support staff is remote, we will return to office, I believe it’s June 6 June 7 thread, you know, just after the week, the first weekend of June. We are back in office three days a week or so we’ll go to a hybrid model now.

Drew Hendricks  8:24  

Yeah, that’s that’s what my wife’s company did. They got we’ve been fully distributed company since 2014. So it didn’t really affect us that much. But no, yeah, my wife’s company has gone to a three day workweek going forward, are not a three day workweek. She wishes there was no,

Jena Domingue  8:43  

a five day workweek three days hybrid, and it’s kind of user choice on the days that you’d like to be an office, which is nice. And then maybe we’ll have a team stay where one team has an office this day, because they want to have use of the conference rooms and things but I just think it gets back to building culture. And, you know, some things that are lost are those hallway conversations, you know, I sometimes I see I’m copied on the thread, it’s going back and forth. And I’m like, if one could just walk into the others office boy will save a day’s worth of emails back and forth. So I do look forward to that. And sometimes you can solve things so quickly when you’re just in person and can no walk and talk through it. So I look forward to that.

Bianca Harmon  9:26  

You have to commute though, correct because you are in the city, right?

Jena Domingue  9:31  

Well, yes. I most of our employees do commute. You know, we’ve got people in Livermore. We’ve got people in Sacramento. So another thing that happened in pandemic is people sort of moved away just a bit but we will continue to commute back in. Okay.

Drew Hendricks  9:50  

That’s good. Let’s shift those shifts the conversation to DTC all things DTC. So as soon as you over the last nine years, how have you seen In direct consumer sales through WineDirect evolve.

Jena Domingue  10:03  

Wow. So when I started, you know, it was early on, I think maybe, you know, there was 30, some states were approved to ship to, you know, certainly not, you know, we’ve got majority now what 46 47 states we can ship to, things are opening up, and they will continue to open up, I do believe as consumer demands that oppresses on that fence of, you know, they want it now. And they want to be able to get it when and where they want it. And they want access to more, you know, so I will say, certainly, our clients, our wineries have grown up, you know, when I started, you know, going in and asking someone, you know, hey, what’s your digital strategy? You know, they’d look at you, like you, you know, offending them somehow. And so I, you know, there’s certainly

Drew Hendricks  10:52  

no address, that’s our digital strategy. Exactly.

Jena Domingue  10:56  

Yes. So, you know, why don’t we now understand why it’s important to do things like gather email addresses from the folks are coming. And then how do we get more data? And not intrusive data, but we want to know what your lifestyle What do you love? You know, you’re married or single? How do you enjoy your wine, those are all things that one can contribute to a winery strategy on, you know, their, their branding, their marketing, who is their target audience. And there’s just so many things that we know now about the importance of just getting that consumer data, and I will say, the one thing that, you know, separates DTC from, you know, any other other channels, you know, three to anything else is you own your customer, right, number one, you own the customer, you own your customer data, and you are able to develop a relationship in a way that, you know, target Bevmo, no one else can, if they’re going to you and buying their wine directly, whether it’s the tasting room, online, your folks have called them any direct channel, it’s another way to touch that consumer become a part of their life, understand who they are, and continue developing that relationship. So that’s the beauty of DTC.

Bianca Harmon  12:05  

What is what is the some of your challenges been with dealing with these wineries is, you know, Napa is a stickler for thinking that they’re Napa, and they’re always gonna be Napa, and they’re always gonna get their people. So what are how do you guys personally work around and try to bring them on board and try to show him that, you know, the world is changing? And yes,

Jena Domingue  12:28  

well, I can tell you, pandemic do that for us. And those that had a strategy, those that had two things, they had an e-commerce strategy in place, meaning they focused on their website, they had their socials in place, they knew how to engage and talk to their customers and had a message to share a clear message. And then those that had fulfillment in place, you know, or at least some strategy of how they were going to get their wine to their consumers. They actually did very well, as you know, the wine industry, we thrived. We grew thank heaven through pandemic. And so those that had a strategy in place have done really well and those that didn’t scrambled. And so they took probably that to 2019, and part of 20. And we had a rush of people wanting to update their website, you know, now, of course, everybody wanted it now, you know, at that very moment. And so everybody, I think the big takeaway was, have you DT strategies in place it you know, you’ve got, yes, you’ve got a phenomenal space room, but it takes, you know, someone who sees the wrong way, and it’s shut down. And so we were, you know, and again, thank God for DTC. And when I look at what our company did to carry, and I have, I can tell you, I’ve had, I’ve got love letters from clients who said, Thank you, you know, you have kept, you know, through pandemic, we didn’t know what we were going to do. Taste rooms were shut down, you know, we were we, you know, we were all frozen our homes at one point. I think we’re frozen our homes drinking too. And so, so the wineries were able to really quickly pivot and utilize our services to then shift all of that energy from tasting room or other channels right into their DTC.

Drew Hendricks  14:11  

That’s one of the big strong points of wind drag is that you do have an end to end fulfillment end to end. 360 degree is not the right word. But from from the, from the start to the finish the winery’s end solution product to the to the customer.

Jena Domingue  14:26  

Exactly. Which gives us a good understanding of what the needs are, helps us inch, you know, takes a lot of the lift away from wineries so that the burden is on them to get everything talking and plugged in and how do I get my compliance to figure out you know, to talk to my fulfillment center to send tracking numbers to my customer and then back to my system, and it’s all very complicated. And so we really take that big lift and that burden and we shoulder it and we’re happy to do that for our clients.

Drew Hendricks  14:54  

That’s a huge service especially to winery with. Maybe doesn’t have the the emphasis structure to have some of that stuff in house. Provide that

Jena Domingue  15:03  

you are right, Drew most wineries what produced 5000 cases or fewer do 80% of wineries out there? While we have the luxury of these, you know, big beautiful wineries in Napa, that’s not the story for most of the wine industry. And so if we can take a lot of that left off, you’re right, it makes a big difference.

Drew Hendricks  15:20  

Absolutely. No, I, I don’t even have a segue. I want to hear more about this Urban Vino, and this venture that you presented that you presented when you are starting it.

Jena Domingue  15:31  

Yeah, so I finally you know, once we got through pandemic, and I had time to think about, you know, okay, what’s, what am I doing here? Well, I love and I’m passionate what I’m doing. I also want, I saw, you know, a lot of gaps in the industry that I thought I could maybe help fill. And I’ve always been one to, you know, when I started when I went to show our CEO in the beginning, I said, Listen, they’re African American vendors. And you said there are Yeah, and they’re your customers. You know, who knew? And and I said, they’re people of color with lots of buying power. And no one’s really talking to them. And no one’s connecting the dots, Joe. And so that was really the impetus for starting urban vino many, many years ago. And then I said, Okay, how can I get back to that? And there are a few key things that, you know, as I observed the market, one sort of easy win was celebrity brands. Right? You take someone like, you know, Terrell Owens has his own brand. Let’s look at Charles Woodson. So the, you know, athletes, the curries, the thank you the curries, there’s just, you know, this really fun group of that of athletes or actors that resonate with everybody across the board. And it’s really easy to see how they just can easily parlay their way into wine. Whereas somebody you know, out in Lodi trying to start up their own brand, maybe struggle a bit, right, it’s not so easy to get access to all of these resources. And so we’ve seen a big sort of influx of just people of color saying, hey, I’m interested one, I’m a consumer. And I’d like to be invited to the party, sort of, I always say, sort of, I was looked at wine as like, there’s this really awesome party happening 24/7 in the wine industry, but I’m not sure I’m invited. You know, well, I love and enjoy wine. I’m just, I didn’t feel like marketing was reflective of all the consumers. And, and certainly even just going to the tasting room at times could feel that ostracizing, and, you know, I’d be it, you know, maybe a bar or wherever, and they invite everyone to the wine club. And but not me. thought, well, that’s odd, you know, I actually would probably join the wine club, and I actually have disposable income to spend. And I realized I wasn’t alone. And so with that, I sort of came back to my, my initial my roots, if you will, in getting into wine and said, Okay, how do I now that I have all of this information, all this knowledge? How can I leverage it and hold the door open for a few other folks who would like to contribute to this party? And, and also all of them, you know, millions of consumers that come from all sorts of diverse backgrounds that also would like to sort of hear sort of their voices reflected in in the wind stories? Sure.

Drew Hendricks  18:25  

So do what is the service that the

Jena Domingue  18:31  

Okay, so, one is education. So, you know, as you know, I have The UrbanVino Podcast and now. Yeah, so the podcast really just serves as a point of education and knowledge. So you can come there. And, you know, I just had the pleasure of interviewing Miss USA 2012, and on on, Merriweather, who’s got a wonderful wine made from flowers and herbs. Really? Yes. I know. It’s amazing. And so, so just a point of knowledge, right, where you can come and just go, who’s doing what in the industry, we’ve got celebrities, I’ve got athletes. And so you can come there and just find out kind of what are the moves that are making from people of color from women entrepreneurs and from celebrity wine brands. So that’s there. And then if you’ll go to the website, just now we’re developing a marketplace. Oh, okay. Yes, I have to say I’m waving around. My licenses just came in hallelujah. So it’s a really, it was yes. So you’ll be able to go there and he’ll just be a nice, I’m going to do a seasonal selection of some really fun wine brands that you can tap into. You might just think I want a mystery. Box. Surprise me just send me something good. Oh, great. Yeah. And so I will have about, you know, 20 brands that attempt 20 different wines at a time that you can select from or like if they do a mystery box, and so that’ll change seasonally. You can purchase wine. And then certainly if someone would like to come and say you know buy wine cellar. Can you help me fill it? We’ll have certainly no and then just Basic Skills sort of services. I’m helping a restaurant now select wines for their wine list and will provide wine for them. So I’ll be doing some sort of standard services. But collectively, the big idea is urban vino house of brands will exist to pull all these little brands together and leverage our power and go to the marketplace and say, okay, here we’ve got some very interesting people of color celebrities, white women, wine producers, take your pick. But these are folks who may not have seen the light of day, whether it’s in distributorship and three tier, they may not have access to world class DTC services, we’ve got that for them. So we’ll help wine brands themselves grow. And then we’ll take them to the market and allow folks to buy and sell their

Drew Hendricks  20:46  

Well, I like the elect the scope. That’s big. For what we’re gonna get to consulting. I love it. Talk to me about because you’re on, you’re on our podcast, how was what was it like starting your own podcast?

Jena Domingue  21:03  

Areas? Hell. I’m somebody who one is very private. And secondly, I have a hard time putting myself out there. And you’ll probably notice if you go to my socials is a little bit dry. I’m working on that and pushing myself.

Bianca Harmon  21:19  

But it was the exact opposite about you know, yeah, I know, I would think that you were very like, in with everything. Nope, no, I

Jena Domingue  21:31  

know, I’m just I’m so opposite. When it comes to my personal life. Anything else? Yes, company, they are all about it, okay. But if it’s me, I tend to just sort of recoil. And, but I also realize that I’m doing myself and others who can benefit from my story, a disservice. And so I’ve now committed that, I am going to start telling one my own story, I’m going to to hold the door open for others, you know, if you can benefit from my story, I can give you a piece of advice or experience that I’ve you know, by all means it’s yours and calm, it’s free. So I just I want to make myself more available. And I can’t do that if I don’t open up tell my story. And I want to allow others to do the same.

Drew Hendricks  22:13  

That’s so important. I struggled with the same thing. I it’s just it was anybody that knew me the fact that I started a podcast a year and a half ago. They were surprised but it’s, it’s so enriching, though, having so many conversations. That’s what drives me, I just love. I always get nervous at the start in the intro, but then once I started the conversation, it just, it becomes very natural. And my wife, when she’s working from home, she’s like, You’re a different person, when you leave the room after a podcast yours full of energy, just you’re just like, slow down. All listen to the podcast, everything that’s on it.

Bianca Harmon  22:49  

I think that’s something that we all miss too, with, like the pandemic was this it became a channel and an outlet for people to connect in ways that they weren’t connecting anymore. You know, salutely as a like myself, personally, I enjoy meeting new people, I enjoy talking to new people, I enjoy connecting and and learning and, and so it’s such a, it’s such a high almost to get to sit and conversate with and have an intellectual conversation with and learn.

Jena Domingue  23:21  

It really is Bianca i 100%. Agree. And I’m like you Drew after the podcast, there’s like a zing, right, that’s kind of going through you. And I thought that we would be a miss not doing the in person, you know, interview and face to face. But it translates it definitely you know that energy definitely translates and you’re able to connect and I think quickly form a bond with that person. I don’t mean I’m clearly with you. When you when there’s genuine interest, people are willing to open up and really share. Right? They do

Drew Hendricks  23:55  

they do. What advice would you have there? I think it’s a great medium for wineries, especially to get their story out. Maybe they may not produce one weekly. But what advice to having just kind of kind of launched yours would you have for winery or for someone that wasn’t a winemaker, the one to start their own podcast?

Jena Domingue  24:14  

The first is just get started. No. Right? I mean, good. You know, great is the enemy of Good is the enemy of great they say and, and I will I’m someone I would have waited until I like had 10 in the bag and perfected and we let’s redo this. And what I ended up doing is I actually hired a podcast company to just do everything for me. They laid it out. They help with my editing. And they were sort of my crutch, you know, and they were and literally dragged me by my wrist across the line. Somebody called me they’re like, Yeah, I was listening to your podcast. I’m like, No, you weren’t. And they said no, really, I was. I heard it on Amazon. And I said why? Oh, I didn’t share it and it and like, no, it’s like I call my company like, yeah, your podcast is live. It’s on all the channels. And I was a little shocked, but I was glad that you know, they did like Jena, you have content we’re turning it on. And it’s out there and it’s like, Great, let’s, let’s get it. And so it was I personally needed that push, I needed somebody to pull me across center, I wouldn’t have done it. So I’m so glad that I, I just I know me and my, my walls and I so I hired somebody to get me across the line. And it was been it’s been very it’s been wonderful. You know, they I needed that.

Drew Hendricks  25:36  

That’s one of the advice I would give to is find some help and just get it out there. right my friend i and garlic he runs authentic web and he does story cruise, but he has t shirts made that version Done is better than version none. Just love that. Get it out there. Love that. Yes, they can always make the next version. But yeah, I used I use Rise25 For our production. Okay. And it was the same thing. The first the first episode, Jeremy was like, Okay, you’re gonna be the first guest on your first podcast. I’m like, Well, we’re recording now. You’re on it. We recorded for 15 minutes. And that was the first episode. There you go. I had no idea that that was that what we’re gonna do in that session, but got the first one done.

Jena Domingue  26:17  

Yeah. Yeah. So so that my advice would be absolutely do it. People want to hear from they’re not looking for perfection or looking for you. Right?

Bianca Harmon  26:26  

They just version of you.

Jena Domingue  26:28  

Absolutely. And, you know, and if and if you if you’re looking for me, it’s going to be a little messy a little bit early, you might have heard the dog barking, but you know, we’re working on all those things. You know, so that is nice enjoyment. But you know, like you say Be authentic.

Drew Hendricks  26:45  

We were all through it. That one of the first ones I now have that I’ve now figured out a way to pause zoom calls coming in. But one of my first podcasts I had somebody called in through my because our all of our corporate lines on Zoom phone. I had a call come in right when I was doing a podcast and I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to do. And I dropped the guest in picked up the call. And it was a it was a dude from India selling me SEO services. In hindsight, I would have merged the two calls and was said, Hey, you’re on a podcast right now. You’re with that I don’t know how

Jena Domingue  27:18  

I will. Yes. And I’m laughing because that I like twice that’s happened to me where? Yes, if you heard my camera like, let me know, my Do Not Disturb. I’ve figured out like, you know, these are some small things that just help you, you know, really along the way.

Drew Hendricks  27:33  

Yeah. I still think about that one. So, so people can find the podcast at UrbanVino. They just put it on pod. iPod.

Jena Domingue  27:45  

Apple, Amazon. Yes. All the platforms.

Drew Hendricks  27:48  

That’s great. It’s such a Yeah, I gotta check that one out.

Bianca Harmon  27:52  

Oh, how are you finding your guests, Jena to bring on to the what is? What is the guests that you’re looking for? For the podcast? Who, you know, who is the criteria that you’re trying to fit for that? Sure. So,

Jena Domingue  28:06  

you know, from my own comfort, I’ve started with people that I actually I kind of know, so a good friend of mine was Unani Lawson. He’s a Samoan gay. And he’s, you know, French Laundry per se just you know, well established but also a good friend. And so I had a comfort level with him. And so he was one of my first podcasts. But you know, really, it’s just reaching out to I have I now have a target list of people that I’d love to have on. But anytime I have an introduction to some that I think might show I’m like, Hey, do you want to come on my podcast? You know, I had Greg Vaughn on yesterday who I think we talked about him he’s the MLB you know four time all star has his own wine now really committed to giving back to his community. So I look for people who you know one have a story if you don’t have to have a wine but maybe something in the wine industry or it could be spirits as well. My key you know, I always say were and boutique wine brands brought to you by winemakers of color women wine entrepreneurs and celebrity wine brands. So that’s a pretty big span right? Yeah, yeah, lots of stories it’s gonna

Drew Hendricks  29:14  

be that’s gonna keep you busy for a while

Jena Domingue  29:18  

I’ve got a commitment some from some really like Ailis people some you know kind of tempering it and I’m you know, polishing my act up a little bit but I we’re gonna have some really fun people coming on pretty soon.

Drew Hendricks  29:31  

Can’t wait to listen. So he recently became a brand ambassador for liquid icons. Talk to me about that. This This was new to me I researching for the show is the first time I’ve kind of come across it.

Jena Domingue  29:46  

Yeah, it’s a newer organization. They they really sort of came to light last year with their first big sort of soiree in London this year, it’ll be in Tuscany, Italy, but really, they bring together I mean, if you look at the spot on her list alone, you know Rolls Royce, Gucci San Pellegrino just, you know, a lot of the LVMH brands and Moet Hennessy portfolio, some amazing sponsors, but they’ve come together to, it’s just interesting how it all worked out. While you have these amazing luxury brands, which is something that I pretty much just, you know, really ascribe to, and probably more of my aesthetic. But you got these phenomenal world class brands who come together, there’s a an auction, you know, an extravagant wine auction. With just you, I mean, Romany? contagious, just some brands, you go, breathtaking brands, from US and around the world. And there’s an auction, they raise the money and all the money goes to scholarships and internships, to create diversity and inclusion, wine, spirits, and hospitality. Oh, wow. I know, right in line with just my own core mission. And I just happened to you know, somehow I found them on LinkedIn. And I emailed Louis and I said, Hey, Louis, I mentioned what you’re doing. We had a zoom call, just like this. And he, we talked, you know, just had a great conversation and was invited to be ambassador. So it’s truly an honor. One to work with just again, world class wineries, world class brands, and then to bring all of that right on home to be able to offer scholarships to folks who are here. It’s education. And again, another big scholarship is around MW Ms. So those pursuing their advanced degrees in wine, but as you know, kind of when you hit, you know, mid career and your stride, you’re working. And it’s very hard to pull back and, you know, circle and take time for your education. So there’s a very lucrative scholarship there where they’ll help fund you for the year, and really push you to that next level. If you’re interested in spirits and and distill distilled, distilled spirits, there’s an on hand, you know, 12 on Scott, scholarship and internship with Hennessy. So just some really interesting opportunities and more are coming on board. We even just introduced one that is for displaced. So people, folks who have been displaced by, let’s say, war hands, what’s happening in the Ukraine, you know, other places around the world, and but you want you yet have you want to pursue your career in hospitality, Wine Spirits, we’ve got a scholarship to fund them as well. Well, how

Drew Hendricks  32:29  

do people? What’s the criteria for these scholarships?

Jena Domingue  32:33  

Really, we just want to know, what are you working on now, you know, show us a bit of your body of work, that the application is not really long or intensive, you know, you can sit and go through it, you know, complete it in probably 30 minutes, if you want to go back and refine it another day, just to add, you know, we’re looking for, you know, show us your cert qualifications or certifications, your body of work, but we really want to know who you are, you know, tell us about your story, why you’re doing what you’re doing. What are your plans? How do you want to expand? And how are you bringing education to the world. So it’s, it’s not, you know, hugely daunting to get funding, but you certainly can go to, you’ll see the Gerard Bessette. Scholarship, you know, funds there, just click and read through them and see if there’s something that works for, you know, anyone who’s interested,

Drew Hendricks  33:26  

what a great cause and what a great resource people would have. Especially studying for, like, the Masters of Wine is such an intense exam. And it’s kind of hard to Yeah, any help you can get to

Jena Domingue  33:38  

you need support, or Yeah.

Drew Hendricks  33:43  

Yeah, so what, so for the liquid icons, you’ve got the scholarships, and then you’ve got the education. Tell me a little bit more about the education part of it?

Jena Domingue  33:56  

Well, we work with I’m going to, I don’t want to say it wrong, somebody to tell you exactly the organization because I should know and I have it here, I’m going to tell you exactly what we work with world class organization to one IV. And they really give just data about what’s happening in viticulture around the world. And so we work with them to look at what’s happening with the environment. And there’s a wonderful report that we produce. We talk a little bit earlier about this. So there’s a an annual report that comes out and we’re talking about, you know, what’s happening in wine, what are some of the trends, and we gather this from tapping into the top wine. You know, before anybody who’s working in wine, we want your feedback. We want your input and so this series of questions that we’ll go through and then there’s a report that is produced every year to get if you go to So that was the first thing you see is the report the annual report that’s produced really important and I would encourage anyone the survey is still open. So if you are in one and if you don’t mind Well, we can provide the link, anybody can go there. And we’d love for you to vote. And give us your feedback on your favorite wines, your favorite wineries. And then of course, other things that are, you know, impact in the wine industry is it, you know, environment, environmental impact. So all sorts of different criteria. And so that report is going to, the more obviously, the more participants we have, the more robust the record is. And so that’s just another just piece of really giving insight into what’s happening in wine. And that’s one thing I’ve found even at WineDirect is we’ve got a ton of information, but it’s you typically kept to ourselves, you know, to us. And we haven’t always shared that. So you’ll see also, you know, this your WineDirect and Impact Report, just to shed light on, you know, what’s happening in the world of wine. So we want to make sure education information is getting out there so that people can make informed decisions, as you know, from a b2b perspective,

Drew Hendricks  35:57  

for those of us that have not read the report are probably too lazy to read it. What are some of the big, biggest points that stood out during the last report? For buy direct? Either one, either reports,

Jena Domingue  36:09  

I can tell you, certainly for WineDirect, you know, we did a big focus on what are the shifts that have happened, especially from 2019 to 2021. And then, of course, it’s a five year, you know, look back at data, but in particular, what are some of the trends that we’re seeing, you know, some of the things that we found, you know, are how important clubs are, to wineries. And we’re still seeing, you know, and that’s very firm, we’re seeing a firm hold and clubs, thank goodness, not clean slate, that’s not softening yet. Some of our daily orders, perhaps are trickling off and falling back, we, you know, can, we obviously can account that to a few things, the world is opened up, people are now perhaps, maybe back in the office and not so much day drinking, people are now on weekends and evenings going out to dinner, more than they would have, let’s say a year ago. And so, just looking at some trends, you know, average, or you can go there and look at, you know, average order value, increase, decrease, all sorts, you know, just rich information about end to end, etc. Yeah, just

Drew Hendricks  37:14  

to help you make better decisions on where to put your, your marketing capital, capital and how to struggle structure clubs,

Jena Domingue  37:22  

it’s so true, and then that we actually at the very end of it, we kind of highlight what our findings are. And then we highlight here, you know, 10, key things you can do Based on these findings, that you can implement into your own wine business. And so while it’s an informational Impact Report, we also give you some nice key takeaways that you can, you know, even great, what’s all this data telling me? Well, we’re gonna we’re connecting the dots for you. And we actually give you some nice takeaways that one we can use to, you know, shore up your business, you know, things like, you know, and looking at trends, you know, this is there’ll be a trend towards marketing towards women marketing towards younger people. You know, things like that.

Drew Hendricks  38:01  

That is what so many reports lack is actionable insight. You’re like, I have those graphs look great. I see some are going up. Some are going down. And

Jena Domingue  38:09  

and now what could I do? Right, yeah. So

Drew Hendricks  38:12  

where can people find that report?

Jena Domingue  38:14, it’s probably going to be under Resources. But up, let’s make sure we provide a link to that report. They can download it. I want us it’s typically under our resources tab. But I want to make sure I get a really clear and I don’t want anybody fishing for it. So we’ll just give a link

Drew Hendricks  38:29  

to make sure we have that in the show notes. For sure. So Jena, is we’re kind of wrapping down. Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you want to talk to us about? All right, I think I can ask.

Jena Domingue  38:39  

I think I think those are the major points. I would say, you know, I think there’s just I think going back to so probably my core values and what drives me is it’s creating this wonderful world of diversity now, Urban Vino art, our sort of tagline is highly exclusive. Always inclusive,

Drew Hendricks  38:58  

like that. I really liked that. And now when you’re now I do also ask this all the time. Now when you’re out and about what do you like to drink? Cocktails? What’s your favorite cocktail? Oh,

Jena Domingue  39:12  

I do I enjoy a good cocktail. Let me tell you, but you know, my wine of choice. I always you know, go towards my reds, but my daughter’s like, you know, let’s go back. I’ve been enjoying whites lately. Do you love a good songster it can’t run with a sparkling you know if it’s Cava Prosecco, champagne, you name it. I’m a sparkling girl. So love those I think you know my favorite though. I will say if I can find a really good Lambrusco or sparkling MA or some sparkling.

Drew Hendricks  39:48  

So one of my favorites is sparkling grid nosh.

Jena Domingue  39:51  

Right. Yeah, there’s something so

Bianca Harmon  39:54  

there’s actually a nice place in Healdsburg. Have you been? It’s called Williamson wines. No, and they do a sparkling so raw, two and a sparkling walbeck.

Jena Domingue  40:05  


Bianca Harmon  40:06  

Oh yeah. My brother’s a wine club member there. So that’s how I get to try all these fun, but they are fantastic if you’re into some of those style.

Jena Domingue  40:16  

I am on it. Thank you for that tip.

Bianca Harmon  40:18  

Yeah, that check them out. They’re great. Yeah,

Jena Domingue  40:22  

there’s something magical about a sparkling red wine, I tell you. So that’s my favorite. But I you know, I really, I’m very versatile. But Suraj if he asked me my favorite bridal, it would be a syrup or like a red blend or something brighter red and juicy. Definitely need to try the sparkling, sir. Ah, okay.

Drew Hendricks  40:39  

I think we should call it up on this show that the sparkling red is going to be the new big category going for

Jena Domingue  40:44  

called done. I’m in Vegas. I’ll double down on it.

Drew Hendricks  40:51  

Sounds good. So Jena, where can people find out more about

Jena Domingue  40:54  

you? So of course, I have, you know, can go to Liquid Icons, there’s I’m glad they’re listed on the team. And there’s a nice bio. You can always go to my podcast. There’s actually a couple of my first podcasts are really just about me and with my Podcast Producer. And so you can there but certainly I would say if you want to really keep up to date all the podcasts because I’ll be sharing so my own personal journey there. I on Instagram, there’s Urban Vino. I’m getting better about posting there. But I would say the most accurate place and up to date would be just follow the podcast.

Drew Hendricks  41:30  

Sounds good. Well, Jena, thank you so much for joining us.

Jena Domingue  41:34  

Happy to and certainly if there’s anything if I can be of a resource to anyone on the DTC front. Wind direct is my first dot last and a dot domain you at wind you can always reach me they’re happy to engage around you know all things DTC fulfillment EECOM you let me know and we’ll get you plugged in with the right people.

Drew Hendricks  41:52  

Perfect. Perfect. Thank you so much.

Jena Domingue  41:55  

Thank you, Bianca. Thank you Drew.

Outro 42:04  

Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.