Mother of three boys, wife, Den Leader and Committee Chair for Cub Scouts Pack 159, school volunteer and Independent Wine Consultant, Senior Executive Director Margie Goliak has enviable energy and an infectious spirit that is imparted on everyone that she meets. A Chicago girl through and through, she represents the great state of Illinois. Margie has done Tastings for a diverse mix of people—every demographic, every taste preference and every occasion. Her simple advice for her Hosts and Tasting guests: “Enjoy wine how you like it. If you like your red wine with ice, you like your red wine with ice. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you like sweet wine, it has nothing to do with ‘you’re not an educated wine buyer’. It’s just how your taste buds are.”
September marks her 7-year anniversary as a Wine Consultant. Along her journey with WineShop, she has earned 8 all-inclusive Dream Vacations, over 60 medals and has earned some of our most prestigious honors: our President’s Achievement Award in 2015; our Million Dollar Milestone award in 2019; and our Raise Your Glass: America’s Mighty Warriors Award with the third-most donations & contributions through Glory Cellars. In this month’s Wine Consultant spotlight interview, we chatted with Margie about all things wine and WineShop, how being a Wine Consultant has changed her life and what keeps her inspired and motivated in her wine biz.
What have you learned since joining WineShop At Home? Has the experience changed you?
I’ve learned that I’m capable of anything I put my mind to. When I first started this business, Vice President of Sales, Marlene Cain, mentored and coached me. She told me that this was a ‘people’ business. The wine is just a conduit to get to people. At the time, I thought, what is she talking about? This is a wine business! I think that’s how WineShop has changed me the most. I realize now how much of business, in general, is a people business. I’ve learned so much about people. Everybody has a story. For instance, my family has had an extraordinary year of some negative things. But I love what Jim Rhone said, if you stop 10 people on the street and say, “I’m so sorry about what you’re going through,” all 10 of them would say “How do you know? Who told you?” The stories I’ve heard from other Wine Consultants, people on my team, my clients who I’ve gotten to know, there’s never a dull moment.
What makes WineShop At Home wines special?
I believe they’re some of the best value wines on the market. At the beginning of my Tastings, I always make a big deal about what a special privilege this is and how Alex Reble, our Winemaker, is part chemist and part artist. And I love to draw analogies for my clients and this is my favorite right now. This is very different than the wine you can buy at Jewel, Aldi or local grocery chains. You know how when you go and you get Velveeta, it’s not really cheese but it’s a cheese-like product? I feel that way about grocery store wines and discounted wines. To me it’s not really wine, it’s a wine-like product. I want you to understand that I think Velveeta makes a really good macaroni and cheese. (And there are days when I want to have that really good macaroni and cheese!) But there’s a time and place for your everyday wine and I’m here to tell you that dollar for dollar, WineShop At Home wine is an excellent value and you’re going to want it for those other occasions.
Our wines evolve and they change all the time; there’s always something new—there’s always something different. Favorites return and I absolutely love when I’m in a room with my repeats—it’s such a testimony that they keep coming back, they must like the wines, and they’re excited to try something new and different. I love the ability to offer them something new and different, maybe something that they haven’t heard of—something new that they can love.
Why should someone experience a Tasting versus buying wine at the grocery store?
I love that we take away the fear factor and the guess factor of buying wines. Instead of buying wine based on the label, and making a good guess, we’re going to give you wine that you really like and taste so you can be confident about making a buying decision. So many of us have bought wines at the store and have been disappointed. This way, you’re not going to be disappointed.
Wine can be intimidating to some people. What would you say to the inexperienced wine drinker who feels overwhelmed or uneducated?
I love to do Tastings with inexperienced wine drinkers because I don’t think wine should be intimidating. I think that’s one of the beauties of WineShop At Home. We have a wine for every palate, personality and price-point. I have heard many testimonials from clients who say, “Wow, I didn’t really like reds, but I like this one.” This happened to me the other night: We had a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a really beautiful, crisp white. It’s not too mineral. It’s not too citrusy. It will pair perfectly with summer. And I love seeing the looks on my clients’ faces when they’re like, “My gosh. I really like this wine. I didn’t think I liked white wines, but this one is delicious.” I love it when this happens!
What makes WineShop At Home different?
I truly believe the foundation of our business model is that face-to-face, one-on-one, person-to-person interaction. I really got the tone for the community of WineShop At Home when I became a Director and was invited to the Fredrick family ranch in Texas for Director’s Academy. Stan Fredrick is the Chairman of the Board at WineShop At Home. I was blown away. We were like guests in Stan’s home. This is the Chairman and owner of the company, serving us breakfast and cleaning up after us. On the last night, he made us what he called a “steak artisan’s dinner,” served us some great wines and grilled us beautiful steaks on his grill. It was April in Texas, during a freak snowstorm. And he’s standing out there in his cowboy hat, grilling our steaks—the snow is just falling around his cowboy hat. And I just remember thinking, wow, these are people who really care about us. You can’t fake that.
I feel incredibly privileged and honored when somebody has me in their home. We provide such a unique and easy way to entertain and I truly feel like, in this day and age, people are longing for a way to connect on a personal level, outside of social media.
What has your wine business allowed you to do for yourself and your family?
I have never experienced such professional growth as I have with WineShop At Home. I was that typical, “stay-at-home mom who wants to go out and do two to three parties a month” story who has turned this into a six-figure income. That being said, it’s not the destination but the journey that I find so compelling in entrepreneurship. Professional growth is amazing. At times I want to shout from the rooftops to other women, “You really can have it all!” I think it’s a challenging time for families. It’s a challenging time when people have dual incomes. Americans are really scrambling. I have three kids; the two older boys have high functioning autism. Ben is 15 now and Will is 13. They were diagnosed in my very first year of business with WineShop At Home. They were in elementary school at the time. When I think about how I’ve been able to not only pay for therapies out of pocket, be at every single meeting, volunteer at the school so the teachers know my face, but at the same time have this incredibly fulfilling personal experience.
Now for a hard question, what’s your favorite simple wine pairing?
Spicy Crackers.* I’ve been making them for seven years; they’re seasoned Saltines. I can’t stop making them. You mix 1 package of dry Ranch Dressing Mix, up to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 cup canola oil in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Add 1 package of Saltines (4 sleeves in a box) and toss in the bag until all crackers are coated. Let it sit for at least 3 hours and enjoy! People love them!
*Recipe courtesy of Independent Wine Consultant, Tammy Nicholls.
Interested in becoming a Wine Consultant like Margie? Find more information here.