Blog Posts matching FAMILY:
Sokol Blosser Family Wins Director's Award for Family Business
Friday, November 18th 2011 by Jon Bell
Siblings Share the Work of Leading a Winery
Now run by co-president siblings, Sokol Blosser put Oregon wine and on the map 40 years ago
by Jon Bell for the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University
In 1971, Susan Sokol Blosser and her then husband, Bill Blosser, started what would become one of Oregon's pioneering and most successful wineries in an old prune orchard in the Willamette Valley.
Its beginnings were humble - any year that lost less money than the year before was considered a good one - but in time, the winery few and thrived. Today, Sokol Blosser is home to an 85-acre certified organic vineyard that produces 80,000 cases of wine a year and is among the most recognized names in Oregon wine.
And yet, it wasn't until three decades after the winery started that Sokol Blosser realized that she had helped build something that was going to last.
"When Bill and I started out, we had no idea we'd be starting a family business or a legacy for our family," says Sokol Blosser, 67. "The point at which we realized that we'd really created something was, I would say, almost 30 years after we started."
That recognition came to Sokol Blosser around 2004, approximately 13 years after she'd taken over the winery as president. She'd been trying to convince her daughter, Alison, to join the company. Sokol Blosser's son, Alex, had been working there since 1998, and her oldest son, Nik, was on the board.
"We realized then that we had something to pass on," Sokol Blosser says.
Alison Sokol Blosser, 31, who had been working in marketing and communications for the likes of Nordstrom and Nike, joined the company in 2004 as director of marketing. Soon after, talk of Susan eventually stepping down began in earnest and the family embarked on a three-year transition plan.
Over the intervening years, Susan Sokol Blosser watched to see who would rise to the top between Alison and Alex. In a surprising turn of events, they both did.
"They both wanted to be president," she says, "but choosing one over the other didn't feel right."
Sokol Blosser then received some invaluable advice from family business consultant Pat Frishkoff, founder of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University. She suggested that Sokol Blosser create co-president positions, a bit of guidance that let Sokol Blosser breathe a sigh of relief.
"In so many ways, the co-presidencies was the obvious choice," she says. "(Alex and Alison) are total opposites. They'd each be a good president, but it would be because of their different skills."
The two siblings, who'd grown up in the Sokol Blosser vineyards, agreed to share the title. In 2008 they became co-presidents of the company and their mother officially stepped away from the role.
"Giving up control ... is absolutely the hardest thing I've ever done," Sokol Blosser says. "It's not easy, but it's in the best interest of the business."
Alison Sokol Blosser remembers the transition well, along with the challenge of defining her mother's continued role in the business. It turned out to be the role of founder, someone who represents the winery at various events and festivals, who does a lot of the writing for and about the business, who offers strategic counsel - and who babysits. Alison has a young son, and Alex, 37, is the father of twin boys.
Alex Sokol Blosser says his sister is sweet - "She brings the sugar," he says - and that she has come to specialize in the sales and marketing aspects of the business. While he used to tend to some of that work, he now heads up production and has started to move away from the vineyard management and into winemaking.
"He has a charisma ... and a sense of humor that is very compelling," Susan Sokol Blosser says.
"One of the keys to the winery's continued success, according to Alison Sokol Blosser, has been a focus on clear communication between everyone involved with the business.
"Underlying that is a really fierce family love and loyalty, which is an advantage that family businesses have," says Susan Sokol Blosser.
Looking ahead - and already well aware that they have something to pass on - the second generation of Sokol Blosser's plan to continue pushing the winery ahead while always staying on one particular track.
"Our goal is to be good stewards," says Alex Sokol Blosser. "Stewardship is different than ownership. Stewardship is not about selling it off. Our goal is the third and fourth generations."
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Thursday, December 29th 2011 by
We are proud, excited, and happy to announce that our Eastern Brand Ambassador Sara Manucy and her husband Matt welcomed 3 healthy baby boys into the world on December 21, 2011. Here is the update from Sara on her triplets. Congratulations, Manucy family: Sara, Matt, big sister Nora and now Oliver, Will & Luke!
"Our boys are one week old and doing very well. They are making progress every day and fighting to come home.
Oliver Benton is the biggest, not surprising since he was the "recipient" twin and has always made his presence known- loved having his photo taken and was the most aggressive mover. He is breathing on his own, eating all meals from a bottle and was transferred yesterday to the progressive unit. He should be joining Nora at home next week.
William James (Will) is a few days behind Oliver in everything, which is exactly how they measured in utero. Will is by far the most laid back and easy going. He was our "innocent bystander". He also looks the most like Nora.
Luke Daigler (who finally got a name) is our peanut and continues to distinguish himself as a fighter. Since the moment he was born he has led the pack. The first off oxygen, the strongest lungs, fastest grower and constantly squirms as if to say- "look at me!" He is the only one left in an incubator, but only because of his size. He is now 2 lbs and 12 oz. He should be in a bassinette within a couple days.
I am feeling well and recovering quickly. I hope everyone had a great holiday and is looking forward to the New Year."
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Castle of Evolution!
Monday, June 4th 2012 by
A dream came true this week at Sokol Blosser in the form of a gigantic Evolution fort. This blog can only truly be expressed through a few staff pictures:
The brilliant Jenny Mosbacher constructing her castle. If she ever decided to leave the wine industry she would have a thriving career in architecture.
We’ve conquered the Evolution castle and there’s no telling what might come next… an Evolution skyscraper perhaps?
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