Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel and Michel DeAscentiis.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel and Michel. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
In 2012, I (Rachel) started as the Assistant Winemaker at Loring Wine Company in Lompoc, CA. I was fresh out of college and had already been interning with Loring while getting my Agricultural Business degree at Oregon State. I was diving right in, and the education was fast and exciting. In 2013 I decided to produce my own barrel of pinot noir, RASI. This was mostly for friends, family and to gain more experience as a winemaker.
I would spend most of my weekends traveling from Lompoc to Los Angeles, and that’s where I met my now husband and business partner, Michel. He was working as a Creative Director, and we just clicked when it came to talking about wine, business, design and everything in between. And by clicking I don’t mean we always agreed, but we really balanced each other.
In 2014, when I was working on my second vintage, Michel would spend weekends in Lompoc for harvest. Getting out of an office and getting to make something with your hands was a really rewarding weekend getaway for Michel, and he started to crave more of it. This is when we are deciding to start scaling into something (slightly) bigger than the first experimental barrel of wine.
We put together a business plan for ourselves, decided how we could leverage both our crafts, and then we figured it out as we went along. We’re still figuring it out. We officially launched Say When in 2016 and now have seven wine labels under that brand.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There’s always a new bump in the road and how you navigate those obstacles is what shapes the business. Starting a business with your significant other brings a unique set of rewards and challenges. Being able to share successes and collaborate creatively and emotionally is a real high, but also finding the boundary of business partner and husband can be tricky. Sometimes we are still trying to figure out our lanes, but we are both moving in the same direction.
We both take on other work outside of Say When and that takes a lot of our day, so when we want to just spend time with each other and relax, many times, we need to be focused on the business. This is something we’re constantly working on and always looking find a balance of letting it bleed into every aspect of our life because it’s our creation and knowing when we need to shut off.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Say When – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Say When is a winery. We make our wines under a shared roof, and we source our grapes from small, family-owned vineyards in some of the most celebrated regions in California. We produce several varietals a year from pinot noir to skin contact grenache blanc, and each wine has its own unique name and label.
Being able to make something and share it with others is worth celebrating. For the first vintage of RASI, we came up with the idea to drop some of the actual wine on each of the labels, creating 300 unique and numbered bottles. On the website, we had all 300 labels and gave people the opportunity to share their story around when they had the bottle. Being able to be a part of people’s experiences with something you made is really rewarding.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We just launched our Wine Club on our website and have new wines coming out each spring and fall. In June, we’ll participate in The Garagiste Festival in LA and continue to do pop-ups and events throughout the year. Eventually, we’d like a more permanent tasting room and our own production facility.
- $45 RASI, Pinot Noir
- $38 When, Pinot Noir
- $30 Stipa, Rosé of Mourvedre
- $30 Weird Parties, skin-contact Grenache Blanc
- Website: saywhenwine.com
- Phone: 7142446199
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @saywhenwine
- Facebook: /saywhenwine