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Sipping the grapes of success

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You’ve undoubtedly seen his signs around the area and his ads in several papers. You may even have been on the receiving end of mail pieces that offer advice on buying and selling your home. Moreover, his use of social media and televised commercials has helped thousands of individuals to select the home of their dreams.

“I learned marketing at an early age,” said Flower Mound resident Jim Streigel, adding, “It’s one of the secrets to success.” He should know! Jim has been a success at everything he’s tried. With 40 years of experience in sales and marketing, he’s built highly successful careers in the apparel business, automobile distributorships, real estate, and most recently, in the wine industry.

Speaking of success, Jim says, “It’s really all about hard work. If you’re willing to work harder, put in more hours and use creative marketing skills, you’re going to be more successful than the person who doesn’t work as hard. It’s as simple as that!” He begins each day with an early-morning workout at a local health club. If you’re one of those people who rise before daylight and heads to the gym, you’ve probably seen Jim finishing up as you’re starting.

Mr. Striegel was Born in Carbondale, Illinois and arrived in Texas in the early 70s, after completing two years of college in his home state. Although accepted at SMU, he decided not to attend. Instead, he went to work in the apparel business. “I was referred by my uncle Bill Burgess, who ran Neiman Marcus for Stanley Marcus.  He asked me to do marketing for the luxury department store. My uncle and I used to talk with Zig Ziglar (famous motivational speaker) and I’ll never forget his book, entitled, Don’t Take No For An Answer.”

Sometime later, Striegel left and began marketing for Izod Lacoste, fashion sportswear apparel out of New York City and Paris. “I commuted every Monday to New York and back here on Friday,” Jim said. For most people that would be an incredible pace. Yet, Jim says, “If you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not work. However, if you don’t, it can be grueling.”

Ten years later Jim was in the Ford dealership business, owning and operating showrooms in the Metroplex. A few years afterward he began a career in real estate sales. As the North Texas area began a burgeoning population growth, Jim’s marketing expertise landed him right in the middle of the real estate boom. For the past 15 years his name has saturated the landscape as he received national recognition for his exceptional promotional prowess.

During a recent visit to my home Jim talked about another skill that he’s particularly proud of; wine-making. He speaks fondly about his early years making wine with his dad, who’d ship a variety of grapes from Napa Valley, California to their Illinois town.

In addition, Jim would spend summers with childhood friends in the famous wine region, where he learned to make the wine and appreciate the rich traditions of the art. “My father would make wine with a group of Italians and they would fly from Napa Valley to St. Louis, pick up the grapes in a truck and drive an hour and a half and start crushing.   I took the stems out and they would ferment the wines and put them in barrels. It was basically Zinfandel red.”

When he was ready to begin his own brand, he called renowned winemaker Heidi Barrett, whom he had worked with on a wine dinner in Dallas. Through her advice and guidance he met winemaker, and future partner, Anne Vawter. Anne had just received a horse as a bonus from Paradigm Winery for her winemaking skill. Jim asked if Anne wanted the new business named after her. An avid horsewoman, Anne said she’d rather it be named after the red mare horse she now owned.

Thus began the Red Mare Winery partnership, with Jim doing the marketing and Anne handling the cultivation of the grapes, the crushing and the bottling. French Oak barrels, purchased in France, are used to store the wine for three years before bottling begins. The year that the wine is put in barrels is the year that will be on the bottle when sales begin. Selections include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Due to the excellence of the wine and Jim’s marketing ability, Red Mare is on the wine lists of some of the finest restaurants in Texas and several other states. Capital Grill, Ritz Carlton, Ocean Prime, Dean Fearings, Nick and Sam’s and III Forks have added the red and whites to their menus. Locally, Red Mare has made the list at Salerno’s, Bistecca and Bocelli’s, to name a few.

When you talk to Jim about wine, his face lights up like someone who has found his true passion in life. “I’ll continue to work tirelessly at my real estate business,” he said, adding with a joyous smile, “But, I have the greatest avocation in the world; producing top quality wines.”

On a personal note, I’ve known Jim (and his marvelous wife Terry) for more than 20 years and I’ve always admired his energy and drive. He knows what he wants and he goes after it with a level of determination that I’ve seldom seen in anyone else. He wrote about it in a recent book: Building Wealth – How To Achieve Success And A Great Lifestyle. That’s an appropriate title by a guy who has already proven how it can be done. You can learn more about Jim at www.jimstriegel.com and www.redmarewines.com.

Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.

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