Each month we feature a woman in business who personifies what it means to be a Business Betty- she is confident, smart, stylish and successful. Do you know a woman that you consider a Betty? Tell us about her by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LaBelle Winery is New England’s premier destination winery and vineyard. Founder and Winemaker Amy LaBelle begin making small batches of wine in 2005. Through consumer appreciation and Amy’s love of creating “consumable art”, wine production has grown dramatically, now offering over 30 styles of award-winning, world-class wines.
You were a corporate attorney in Boston. What drew you to winemaking?
I was traveling on vacation in Nova Scotia Canada when I happened into a small winery there. It hit me like a ton of brinks – I knew that I had found exactly what I should be doing with my life.
How did you know it was time to turn your side-hustle into your main source of income?
The goal for me was always to turn winemaking into my career. As soon as the dream was born, I began planning the steps in needed to take in order to open my dream winery. From the moment I stepped into the small winery in Canada and had my “a-ha” moment, through to the opening of the doors of my dream winery took me 4083 days. On each and every one of those days, I took one small step toward fulfilling my dream.
How has your past work experience helped you to run and grow the winery?
All my past experiences have helped me to operate and grow my business. My legal background has been incredibly helpful from a regulatory and contractual perspective, but other past experiences color my daily work as well. For example, I was also formerly a dancer, and that helps me not fear speaking in front of large crowds as I am often now asked to do.
How have you managed the growth of your company in such a short amount of time?
One day at a time! We have gone from a $5000 investment to a now over $4 million dollar annually. I try to break it into small bites that were achievable.
Having a winery in New England seems challenging. Does the climate limit the type of wine you can produce?
Growing grapes in New England is a challenge, but we have planted three acres of grapes that are cold hardy and that can withstand our cold winters. We also partner with amazing farms in NY.
What’s your business goal for the next year and how will you achieve it?
The remainder of 2015 and 2016 we are targeting aggressive growth in our restaurant and events part of the winery. We are also planning to open additional locations to showcase our culinary line of products called The Winemaker’s Kitchen – which features wine jams, jellies, spices, honey, vanilla, and three culinary wines.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by smart, successful people and innovation. And my children inspire me with their fresh view of the world.
What is the one tool you couldn’t live without?
I can’t live without my BRIX meter — a simple tool that assists me in monitoring fermentations.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That when I was young, I wanted to be a Rockette!
What advice do you have for young women entrepreneurs?
Save your money – it gives you more options when the time is right!
GET IN TOUCH WITH AMY: