RARECAT Pro Emphasizes Wine as a Global Business Tool
Globalisation-driven connectivity has caused seismic sectoral cross-pollination; financial inclusion has driven e-sports and virtual gaming in to a global phenomenon. Artists are for the first time able to showcase their portfolios around the world to the most apropos bidders and wines have evolved from a luxury and recreational delicacy to a networking platform used to enhance business.
We had the opportunity to speak with Sharon Harris, Winemaker, Founder and CEO of RARECAT and RARECAT Pro on how to steer this revolution; how wine can be leveraged effectively as a business and business marketing tool.
What were your motivations for founding RARECAT Wines?
RARECAT Wines has been built on the philosophy of connecting with purpose. Wine is best when it is enjoyed and shared with others. It brings us together and enriches an already joyful social experience.
Ever since I first fell in love with wine decades ago while visiting Bordeaux in my 20’s, I’ve had the desire to be in the wine industry. I believe in helping others make meaningful connections through this shared joy of which I speak. After completing my studies at Universitie de Bordeaux DUAD program (the Diplome Universitaire d’Aptitude a la Degustation des Vins) I went on to establish wine production in three different regions, with the overarching goal of producing wine worth connecting over.
A rare cat means a woman of such magnificent beauty, that she is a rarity. The rare, beautiful quality of our wines and in my view, pioneering stance on wine’s role in effective business networking, forms a brand I believe truly stands out within and beyond the industry.
Why do you think wine is an effective networking tool?
As we all are aware, day to day “business” doesn’t limit itself to the hours of 9-5; it trickles in to all sects of life.
The most important meetings or deals can occur at a country club, on the “back 9” of a golf course, or over dinner. A fine bottle of wine is a wonderful tool for bringing people together.
I learned early on that wine is more than just the sum of its ingredients. Wine is what you did when you opened that bottle – the memories, the conversations and the people that the bottle is shared with. Wine is a powerful tool for charities – Wine-filled galas are some of the most popular events for raising money. When used in a business setting, wine helps you connect with the people you want to get to know.
I believe the success of RARECAT stems from thinking outside the box. I realized wine is one of the most powerful cultural currencies and, when applied with a purpose, can help companies elevate their stories. To that end, we approach wine from a fresh, completely new perspective on the business front, while adhering to the important traditions of fine wine craftsmanship.
Our goal with RARECAT Pro is evolutionary; to help corporations connect to their stakeholders; create highly sought after wine for seminars, tastings, and wine dinners.
We have worked with thousands of professionals and have a proven track-record of success in helping companies with customer acquisition, retention & appreciation, team building and professional skill enhancement endeavors.
How do you see yourself as a proponent of women’s empowerment?
My greatest passion throughout my history working in the wine industry has always been supporting and empowering fellow women. To that end, I started Wine Entre Femmes, a trade group of some of the most talented, remarkable women in wine from California and France. I also co-founded ‘A Woman’s Palate’ to offer women targeted winemaking workshops and “bootcamps”; There is a lot of intimidation around wine for women and I love transfering my wine knowledge in a fun, approachable way so women build their confidence around buying, ordering and servicing fine wine. Women buy 80% of the wines under $18 dollars but less than 5% of fine wines.
The winemaking world is largely male-dominated, with only about 4-6% of winemakers being women. I believe in encouraging women to take a more active role in this enterprise and to break down gender barriers. Together we can “be the change we want to see” and transform the community of wine aficionados to enhance not just women in business but enterprise outright.
While women’s empowerment is our goal, RARECAT Pro provides programs for all executives, both male and female. The reasoning is simple – wine is meant to bridge gaps, not create them. While ultra-premium wines have been historically collected by men, I believe that in my journey to empower women, I found it more important to collaborate with men, rather than compete against them. After all, wine is a mutually shared interest, enjoyed by all.
Where do you see RARECAT and RARECAT Pro in 5 years?
I envision the company scaling its professional networking capability, underlined by fabulous-quality wines inspired by the RARECAT mantra: Joie de Vivre – Joy of Life. I believe in a holistic approach to wine enjoyment and want to provide not just the best wine, but the best wine experience, today and in the future.
I enjoy empowering my clients and kindling their passion for wine, through workshops, group activities and, of course, producing a great product!
We are responsible for the lasting change we want to foment within enterprise and within and beyond the wine industry.