Debbie Gioquindo, also known as the “Hudson Valley Wine Goddess,” is one half of the team behind Happy Bitch Wines. With family on her grandmother’s side in Hungary having its own business dating as far back as the 18th century, Debbie seems to have fallen into the right field. (There are actually statues of her family in Hungary, honoring their contributions to their country.)
Wine, as she says, is her passion and she’s been blogging about it for six years now. But what separates Debbie from the other wine bloggers out there may very well be her qualifications. She is a certified specialist of wine and wine location specialist in Port and Champagne. Yes, they do have courses and classes in such disciplines, and they are not easy! Approximately fifty percent of the students in the course usually fail the first time, but Debbie passed on her first go with flying colors.
It’s safe to say that Debbie is now a credible expert in wine, especially those found in Hudson Valley. Although she is an accomplished businesswoman in television, radio, the travel industry and health care fields, the wine industry is where she belongs.
While talking with Debbie, I got quite the education on wine and her life. She truly knows her stuff when it comes to all things wine; everyone should have such a passion for what they do.
Tell us, how did Happy Bitch Wines come to be?
“I had been downsized from my job, and was contemplating my next move. Wine has always been a passion of mine, and to work in the industry that I was so passionate about was very appealing. I was devoting a lot of time and energy to The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, and educating myself about the wine industry more and more. I knew Keryl [the other co-founder] as an acquaintance through the Chamber of Commerce. One day she tweeted about making a Happy Bitch wine, and I reached out to her suggesting she use local grapes and tie in the Hudson Valley region. We met for coffee one day, and a partnership was born!”
What advice would you give mothers who want to start their own business?
“I would tell all mothers, be sure to have passion in your work and go for your goals. Do your research, your homework, and make sure you find out whom your target audience is. But as much as you should do your research and homework in regards to your business, be sure to find time for your family and loved ones. It’s scary to venture out on your own in the business world, and you need a good support system. But, as scary as it is, it’s important to take that chance. Who wants to live their life with ‘could’ve, would’ve, should’ve?’”
How important is “branding oneself,” when trying to develop a successful product and/or business?
“You have to brand yourself or you won’t be successful. My blog, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, is consistent in its marketing. Happy Bitch Wines is consistent in its brand, right down to the wine label. Consistency is key.”
You’re a businesswoman, wife, and mother–how do you juggle it all?
“I don’t know! I was able to work from home, so when my children were younger, they could be a part of my business. I was fortunate to be able to travel with my daughter to her cheerleading events, but I did, (and do), always make sure to travel with my computer. I also make sure to step away from my office when my husband comes home from work; we have a glass of wine and just catch up on the day’s events.”
So, we have to ask, do you have a favorite wine?
“I don’t think I can just pick one; after all it depends on my mood, the weather, and what I’m eating! For example, in the summertime, I’m more likely to be drinking white wines; [in] the winter, red.”
Is there a Happy Bitch wine specific for Summer 2012?
“Right now, there is one Happy Bitch wine, which is a rose. It’s 90% chardonnay, and ten percent pinot noir. Before we start coming up with more wines, we want to make sure that Happy Bitch Rose is readily accessible in all states.
Minted Magazine is home of “the modern career girl.” What is your definition of the modern career girl?
“My definition of a modern career girl is someone who has a career that she is passionate about, but also knows how and when to have fun. What’s the point of life if you don’t know how to have fun? Life’s too short to be anything by a ‘happy bitch!’”