Last Bottle turned 10 years old on May 11th, 2021 and on May 7th it had an employee celebration in typical Last Bottle fashion! Our Last Bottle 10th Anniversary party had plenty of food, wine and fun! Here are some images from the party as well as some thoughts from Last Bottle co-founder Stefan Blicker, about ‘turning 10’.
Stefan, tell me what’s going through your mind as you celebrate 10 years with Last Bottle and look around at the office, your team, and company that you’ve helped build from the ground up?
Honestly, it’s been an emotional roller coaster the last few weeks. I know it sounds hokey, but I’m super stoked about what we created with Last Bottle Wines, and in starting our own company in the first place. It gives me immense satisfaction to “do unto others” – the basic premise we used as “bosses”. Treat people they way you’d want to be. Simple. I think the many longtime employees (and customers for that matter) we have speaks volumes. My partners Brent and Cory, well, they’re just family, really…we’ve all grown gray hairs together! Also, after a decade of this, I’m looking for new words besides “Boom!”, “wicked” and “rockstar”. Just kidding, I’m going to keep writing those, ha ha.
Can you point to any highlights over the last 10 years that stand out and have made your Last Bottle journey extra rewarding?
The number one thing is how fantastic it feels to work closely with our wineries we import from Europe (and elsewhere). Through LB, we have exposed these wonderful wines, families, and stories to people across the U.S. I love the how our process, I hope, lifts all boats, if you will. Everyone wins. And there’s SO many crazy, fun, intense trips over the years…we import a solid 50+ wineries now! Hitting a few numeric milestones, too, like over 2 million bottles sold in 2020. It boggles my mind.
What’s the moment over the last 10 years that has made you laugh the hardest?
One in particular we still joke about all the time, the 3 of us were finishing up a dinner in Chateauneuf-duPape (the village) and it was early in our France trips. There was about 245 wines. I’m highly overconfident about my zest for speaking another language, and as we were leaving, I was inebriatedly waving and yelling “BONNE ANNEE!!” many times to the bewildered-looking family (that means “happy new year”). We laughed all the way back to the hotel (or, they laughed at me). Also our Christmas parties on the laser-and-smoke-filled party bus are pretty full of chaotic hilarity.
You guys are incessant travelers in a normal year. What’s your favorite story from the road, as you are hunting down deals to offer on Last Bottle?
Wow. Um, getting lost…getting dragged to some sketchy bars…once we ended up in a sheep’s cheese factory somewhere near Montalcino drinking box wine super late, almost hitting huge wild boar on back roads in Tuscany…getting mind-bogglingly ill drinking water from ancient pipes…accidentally parking in a vintners spot during harvest in France and having grapes smeared all over the rental…the MOST amazing food everywhere…and…white truffle hunting in Barbaresco, among others!!
What is your ABSOLUTE FAVORITE wine that you’ve sold on Last Bottle?
Well, it’s pretty self-serving to say our Sleeper brand, but I love the wines we make and have a lot of pride in them, especially at the prices. Besides our own? Tough. So many. I’d have to say Krug Champagne, though, because…KRUG!
Where do you see Last Bottle going in the next 10 years?
As always, we will keep our heads down and do the work. So I expect it to keep humming along, with maybe some further tweaks and enhancements, but I could see maybe another “sister” site, like we have with INVINO.COM and FIRSTBOTTLEWINES.COM, with a whole new way to line people up with the great wines and deals. But we’ll never sway from the general standards we’ve set…it’ll just get bigger and more efficient! We could also use a new forklift…