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The Secret Thoughts of CEO's Podcast

Jul 26, 2021

Whether you're an entrepreneur, business owner, someone who enjoys wine, or someone in a family business, this episode has something for all of you. I spend time here with my midwestern friend Sean Minor. Sean and his wife Nicole Bl live in California and founded Sean Minor winery in the early 2000’s. Since that time they have received award after award and they have found a way to make high quality wine both approachable and affordable. In this episode we talk about not only the wine, but his family and vision for navigating a family business. We explore how he saw opportunity in an industry that already had high competition and how he really helps everyone who is involved in taking his product to the market win.


What you’ll learn in this episode:


  • How to take advantage of the chance to constantly be challenged in your industry
  • Working with a spouse in a business in a way that honors their individual desires
  • Finding opportunity and integrity in a highly competition market
  • The difference between ego-driven business vs need-driven business
  • Sean’s view on how they achieved their quick success
  • Raising children in a 1st Gen family business
  • Exposing children to all sides of the business
  • The particular burden that can fall on the Second Gen and how to avoid it
  • A creative approach to choose product offerings
  • Using trust and faith to lower stress and avoid panic








Bio: Born in Kansas, Sean Minor was surrounded by agriculture, hard work, and the values responsible for the unwavering work ethic of Midwestern families. The practice of caring for the land and bringing the harvest to the dinner table has always been close to Sean’s heart, and winemaking celebrates this concept to its full extent. His career in wine began after a formal education in finance from Arizona State University where he also met his wife, Nicole. They moved to California after graduation, where Sean began his fine wine career working for Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyard. He knew right from the start the wine industry was the right place for him. He began taking classes at U.C. Davis in Viticulture and Enology in hopes of developing a further understanding of grape growing and wine production.


Sean and Nicole moved to the Pacific Northwest after being recruited by King Estate Winery (widely renowned for producing some of Oregon’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris) to manage the Estate. He developed an even stronger knowledge of winemaking and learned firsthand the importance of site-specific viticulture. He ended up leaving King Estate to lead Benton Lane Winery, rounding out his cool climate viticulture experience.


Sean, Nicole, and their three kids (the fourth yet to be born) returned to California in 2001 for the opportunity to manage Renwood Winery and enhance his experience growing and marketing some of the Golden State’s best Zinfandel and Syrah. Four years later, he founded Sean Minor Wines. Today, Sean Minor Wines is distributed and sold in 49 States and 15 International Countries. The wines are carried in over 11,000 accounts nationally and have grown in prestige and notoriety, while gathering accolades and high scores from the top wine critics and publications around the world.