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Lieb Behind the Scenes

Lieb Behind the Scenes – December 2018

December 19, 2018

Hey all,

We made it! This whirlwind of a year at Lieb Cellars is only a few days from coming to a close. And as I sit here trying to reflect on the past 12 months, my mind keeps wandering to the 12 months ahead. 2018 has been banner year, and I’m super proud of all that #TeamLieb has accomplished. But rather than look back fondly, what I’m focused on right now is starting fresh and getting to work in 2019. There’s so much more to do!

With this being said, in the spirit of looking forward, here are my New Year’s resolutions for our company, our team and myself. This is what will be happening “behind the scenes” in 2019.

1. As I’ve been reporting, Lieb Cellars has now experienced a few solid years of significant production and sales growth. What that translates to on an operational level is that our winery and tasting rooms have gotten more action … and more wear. In 2019, we need to show them some love. New bottling equipment and outdoor tasting room furniture are on the short list.

2. For the past 2-3 years, we’ve been GO GO GO with our distributor partners. We’ve focused on selling and pushing hard to meet our agreed upon sales goals. What we haven’t done is nurtured these relationships. Our distributor partners and the brand managers, territory managers and sales reps who work for them are absolutely vital to our continued success. This year, we need to take a breath and take them out to lunch. Talk about something other than case depletions and rosé allocations. Because we appreciate them and care about them personally, and they should know this!

3. Reward our Ambassadors. Another key element of our recent success is the power of word of mouth. Truth be told we spend almost no money on traditional advertising. Social media and word of mouth are driving our popularity. Wine club members tell their friends to join our wine club. Tasting room customers tell their friends to visit our tasting room. People who find and follow us on social tag their friends who tag their friends on our posts. I even hear about ex-employees of Lieb continuing to spread the word long after they’ve stopped working here. We are blessed to have a roaming pack of volunteer ambassadors. They don’t get paid; they do it because they love Lieb as much as we do. This year I’m determined to acknowledge and thank them. Maybe a “Friends of Lieb” Party at the end of 2019? Who wants in?

4. Think Regional. Since I stepped down from the board of the Long Island Wine Council 2 years ago, I’ve been somewhat disconnected from my industry peers. I love running into them unexpectedly but admittedly haven’t dedicated time to more formally staying in touch and collaborating on the advancement our region. It’s easy to blame how busy I’ve been at Lieb and how all-consuming my two kiddos have been of my “down” time. But no excuses in 2019. It’s time to reconnect with my esteemed colleagues at Bedell, Macari, Wolffer, etc. and do what we can to move this ship forward. Long term, it’s just as important for our region to be successful as it is for Lieb to be successful.

5. I hunkered down and stayed close to home in 2018. The business needed it. In 2019, I want to get back out … starting next month when I travel to CA for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. It’s the most widely respected and attended wine trade shows in the US, and they’ve asked me to speak on a panel about producers who blur the lines between beverage categories (i.e. Bridge Lane). Pretty cool, right? I’m excited.

6. Find Balance. Our wine club and marketing manager, Dana, has been working on her spiritual health lately, and I’m inspired by her journey and advice. When I bring my dog (our winery dog!), Jersey, to work on Fridays in 2019, I WILL get back to taking our long, peaceful walks in the vineyard like we used to do. My old gal deserves it, and I do too. You may even find me at the tasting room bar on a Friday afternoon enjoying a sip of sparkling. Work hard and play hard, they say. I hope to do a better job of striking that balance.

7. Love Wine. It’s no secret that I love wine. I love learning about it, drinking it, talking about it, even doing the hard, dirty jobs associated with making it (ok well, not every day but occasionally when Russell lets me). This past year, however, I don’t think I loved it enough. I got a bit buried in the business stuff and forgot to spend more time tasting with our winemaker, Russell, sharing bottles with our team and just … appreciating what Russell’s been making. Our wines deserve my attention and respect. I’m going to give them more of it this year.

8. Break More Sales Records. You didn’t think I could just sit back and be all zen and forget about the bottom line, did you? I’m still me after all! And while I’m taking walks in the vineyard and loving wine, you better believe I’m going to be pushing this company to grow our sales by another 20% in 2019. LET’S DO THIS, #TEAMLIEB!

I know I say this every time I post, but I truly appreciate all of you who support Lieb and follow this blog.

Happy holidays, happy New Year and see you in 2019!


Ami Opisso

General Manager & Certified Sommelier

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