IkaVina Wine and Spirits, LLC: Our Story

Our Story: The Tale(s) We Will Tell

Now this all takes us to the point at which we can create an interesting story. In life, I have discovered more times than not that when you have the idea(s) you don't have the money and when you have the money you don't have the idea(s). Of all the wineries and labels out there, some have some pretty interesting tales and while others have some very carefully manufactured cover stories, you often find that it was from someone who already was either rich or who came from a family or group that already was well entrenched in the wine business, so throwing out a vanity label or side project was pretty easy.

I like the story of Andrew and Laurel Quady (Quady Winery) who literally got into the game when someone else backed out of the deal. Funny thing is that Andrew was an explosives engineer for the Navy. Here's a guy who once made things that blow up to making some wines that explode on your taste buds.

This is not just my story, but it becomes the story of everyone who partakes in this venture.

Myself, I am the kid who grew up poor in West Philadelphia but wasn't threadbare. Yes, when you see the opening to "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," I used to play ball on that court that he gets beat up on in the intro. I was academically gifted and that propelled me to some interesting opportunities; while some of the older guys I hung with teased me for being an Einstein, they also protected me so that I could make it. I wanted to fly F-14s – recon variants, the one you see in the movie Behind Enemy Lines – but the curve in my spine wouldn't allow it. The next interest was special operations focused on counterterrorism – yeah, I wanted to be in Seal Team Six long before most people even heard of them – but fate would intervene. Family problems which made me DOR – drop on request, go see the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" and while he was Zach Mayo, I was Zach Harris, and my drill instructor was Gunny Zachery who was a lot scarier than Lou Gossett Jr. – and so I wound up back in Philly.

Since I planned on going back, I trained my ass off over the years and I became a lot more suitable to the demands that it would require, but you know, it just wasn't in the cards; I never went back and actually I don't really like the water.

However, I got to get back into my creative sides of creative writing, music and talent. It first started with writing a piece for a beautiful woman to do a dramatic recitation of at a pageant at college (Penn State; www.thoughtsofablackwoman.com). And then I left college to get into
producing my own film and video for niche markets; African Americans. I started picking up African instruments playing for West African dance classes; I can also play Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Latin. I started learning how to program websites when the only browser out there was NCSA Mosaic. I got back into photography; at Penn State I would develop both my own negatives and my own prints. I helped other people record their music and I also helped a sensational jazz vocalist I dated record as well. I wrote three books in regards to love from the man's perspective and I did a video extension of the first one (www.whenablackmanloves.com)."

And along the way I started to become more acquainted and affiliated with wine and the world of the wine business.

Oh, I guessed you also figured out that I am African American. Yup, and many of my friends are from different cultures. One of my best buds is a third generation Sicilian-American who is a phenomenal chef (he's on the team). I am also friends with some Italian restaurateurs who are Italians from Italy [not Italian American] and own some phenomenal restaurants, one with a Guinness world record. I have my Irish buddy Donal – and he's straight from Ireland – and a string of buddies who are Asian, Latino and/or Caucasian. Al – Chef Al Paris, the Sicilian – calls me a connector and to the lengths of me doing it has even surprised him at times. My buddy Ottavio always jests that I am Sicilian because of my knowledge and familiarity with Italian wines and spirits.

Me, I am a romantic and someone who cares. I have three female cats that I rescued off the street in successive years, and I still feed a few strays. I even feed my squirrels. My ex-girlfriend's dogs love me to pieces. I will give a friend the shirt off of my back and have literally done that. I try to help and inspire the people in my life to achieve their goals and I know that as long as I have certain friends, I will never have to worry about not having a roof over my head or worry about not having a meal to eat, and they know that the same goes for them as well. I make ceviche for my friends and while I don't have the most glamorous domicile (old house which needs some repairs and improvements, but it's mine) they will tell you that stepping in, you get amity and love. I'll cook for you and share quality wine with you. I also can make a mean pan-fried steak.

So, who would have thought that this little braniac from West Philly would wind up trying to start his own wine label? Hell, who would've thought that I would be at Obama's senate swearing in party in DC and tell him not to forget me because I was the only person there from Philly? He's forgotten me, but Al would love to cook him and the wife dinner. We reached out to Joe Biden, but you know, he's busy. Hey, who would have figured that I would be sitting in Valpolicella at Santa Sofia winery drinking wine with the winemaker and one of the Amarones that was served at the first inauguration dinner for President Obama. Oh, and then there was the time that I met Sung Kang and Justin Lin in a Chinese restaurant in DC at like 1:30 in the morning and while Sung thought that I recognized him from “Fast and the Furious” I recognized him from “Better Luck Tomorrow” which shocked the both of them; yes, I watch movies outside of my culture!

So, it's back to our story, meaning the story that we create together. It's great to be able to tell people that you own part of a wine label, and not some little vanity label that someone set up which will only sell maybe a couple hundred cases of wine. We can do things like take pics while drinking the wines in various places and events and post them to the website and the twitter feed, and let's not forget Instagram. Your name will be inscribed on a huge board with all of the other members and you'll get the occasional shout outs. People will know you made something interesting and fun happened. Oh, and don't forget company barbecues!

Well, that's what I've got. If I have gotten your attention, just fill out our contact form and we will send you an NDA and once we get that signed and returned, we'll send you the investment package including a more detailed business proposal and plan, the numbers and a Sale of LLC Interest Agreement.

I almost forgot, membership allows us to tell each other crazy stories. I was just thinking about my Xmas of 2001 where I had an interesting incident having a stop at an ex-pimp's house. Oh, and then there are the stories from the world of exotic dance. And then there was that time that... nope, I can't tell you until you're an owner!

The Hate and The Fear