Daoud told his friend, "'I think I can do a better job, no charge,'" and he got the green light. He hired wine specialists for each store in the Harvest Ranch chain and started bringing the team to meetings with vendors. "You've got to be part of the process to recommend a wine. We taste them, grade them by committee, and decide what we want to bring in. If you are the wine specialist, you voted for the wine, you're committed to it. And you also tasted it; you know how to explain it to the customer." He pushed them to proliferate the shelf-talkers -- "It's your personality when you're not there." Sales have responded by jumping nicely.
As for the old guard, "I'm trying to baby-sit those longtime customers even more -- we have all their wines, and we're recommending more to them — but at the same time, I'm catering to a whole new customer base. We're doing wine tastings at Jonathan's on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, wine dinners out on the patio. We're trying to bring in more people, get them involved and asking questions. The more we educate them, the better the wines we can sell them. We definitely think we're skewing a lot younger."