Often times neighbors get together for a block party, barbecue, or this week, to watch fireworks. It isn’t every day that neighbors get together to buy a winery in a different state, but that is just what neighborhood entrepreneur Jack Seifrick has done.
Seifrick and his wife Ann always loved wine country, but it wasn’t until his children went to college that he got the itch. Seifrick helped found Professional Bank in Lakewood, and after selling it in 2010 to Veritex, he was ready for a new project.
Many of the neighborhood investors of his bank encouraged Seifrick. One may question the transition from finance to grapes, but Seifrick sees many similarities. “In both businesses you need branding, good workers, a good site and to be able to navigate the red tape,” he says.
In 2012, Seifrick and his investors purchased what would be called Cast Wines in Dry Creek Valley. The Sonoma County winery was purchased by 40 investors, and about half of them are Lakewood neighbors. By 2014, they were selling wines, which now number eight varietals including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay, zinfandel and others.
Sonoma County is adjacent to the more famous Napa Valley in Northern California, but it is right where Seifrick wants to be. “Sonoma is a little more laid back, less commercialized, with smaller scale family wineries,” he says. “You are more likely to meet an owner, and we like the small scale atmosphere.”
Seifrick and his wife visit the winery several times a month, splitting time between California and their home on White Rock Lake. When in California, he serves as the eyes and ears of customers, greets guests and interacts with other wineries.
Cast’s vintages are not very common in restaurants, and can’t be easily found in stores, but for Seifrick that is not the focus. His main goal is to sell wine directly to customers, which primarily happens at the winery “in one of the most beautiful places in the country,” he says.
The top demographic he sees at his winery is Texans on vacation, and he loves greeting Texas visitors, which often leads to hosting wine tastings back in the Lone Star State.
For Seifrick, this endeavor has been a welcome challenge. “I would say it is one of the more difficult things I have ever done, but it is also one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done,” he says. “This has been a challenging endeavor with tremendous awards along the way, and I have been lucky to have a patient wife to participate with.”
“This is unique in that we have to create something with Lakewood friends who are seeing this as an investment but also interesting and enjoyable,” he says. “We are working and growing, and are well on our way.”
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