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Second Glass: Wine Riot Chicago

Second Glass: Wine Riot

By: Jessica Vacco“You have to think to yourself “what can I do right now, with what I have that can get me that step closer to my goals.” You always have to think that way, I think when you stop thinking like that, that’s when you stop moving forward.” – Tyler Balliet , founder Second Glass Wine

I like nothing more than to speak with people who are passionate about what they do, and even better, people who have built their success from the ground up. I had the opportunity to speak with Tyler Balliet, founder of Second Glass Wine. Second Glass Wine hosts six Wine Riots in the U.S every year, and seems to be growing by the day. These Wine Riots were put together in 2008 to bring people together in a “non-intimidating” environment to have fun and learn about wine. What could be better?

Jessica Vacco: How did Second Glass Wine come about?

Tyler Balliet : Well, I was on year-book in high school, I knew how print worked, and I was working part-time at a wine shop when I moved to Boston to get a discount and just have something to do at night. I saw this huge hole in the market, I saw that there were always young people who wanted to learn about wine; they were interested and had questions. They weren’t very complicated questions, not like wine spectator stuff, it was like “I don’t know what the hell this is, why should I get it? When should I get it?” So I basically pulled together some friends and resources and we came up with some articles and did a print publication for a while, we did that for almost a year. Right about after we launched the first issue I met Morgan, she was like “hey, you should really do a little party with the launch of these things.”

At about the third issue, we decided to throw a party. A friend of mine owned a restaurant so he let us use the space as long as we brought in people who were going to buy drinks. We called some distributers that we knew about some of the wines we were writing about, and within ten minutes we had gotten like four cases of wine. Right then we knew there was something to this. No one really wants to read an article about Bordeaux, but they will sit and listen to me talk about it for an hour, as long as I’m pouring them wine.

JV: How has this grown and changed since those days, and why?

TB: The message hasn’t changed since we started. I did some freelance writing, and I had a column in Boston for an arts and entertainment weekly section, so I had quite an audience there. I really wanted to create a solution to this problem of “I don’t know what the hell to drink.” So Morgan came aboard full-time in 2008, and we stopped doing print by that time, it just got really expensive and really time consuming and there wasn’t enough money in the ads. So what we did was create this tech start-up. Right as Morgan came on board, the economy collapsed. We decided we needed some way to fund these things, so we started to do these huge events called Wine Riot to generate revenue so we could keep doing what we’re doing. We just now keep trying to do new things, change it up a bit. We went from having print guides at these Wine Riots to now making a mobile app, as so many young people can get those on their phones. Now when they attend Wine Riot, they can keep track of what they like and what they love.

JV: It’s obvious that you’re success with these events are continuing to grow like crazy; what have you found to be the most useful and successful route of PR for Second Glass and Wine Riot?

TB: Using resources that are within my reach. I think the best results we have gotten are when we tie all different parts of marketing and PR together. We cross social media with classic forms of PR and I think that shows a lot of growth. You have to think to yourself “what can I do right now, with what I have that can get me that step closer to my goals.” You always have to think that way, I think when you stop thinking like that, that’s when you stop moving forward.

JV: You and Morgan were once named INC Magazines 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs. That’s an awesome honor, what was that like?
TB: It was really great to meet the other Entrepreneurs, past and present. They do a great job of bringing back the winners from the past so it’s a really great network of people to be a part of.

JV: Wine Riot is based in 6 U.S cities, how did you decide what cities would be best?
TB: Well, we launched in Boston because that’s where we lived. We also did a lot of research with the best cities for wine sales, and the cities with the most educated young people under 34. We did a 2 week tour of all these states, it was a whirlwind, but it was worth it. I remember waking up one morning and not even knowing what state we were in.

———-I can honestly say that it was a pleasure speaking with Tyler. It is obvious he is passionate about his work, and it truly shows! I was lucky enough to attend Wine Riot at Union Station-The Great Hall on Saturday night with tickets from Morgan and Tyler. It was honestly a great time, with great people. As soon as we walked in, we could feel a warm, welcoming vibe and it seemed as though every person in the room, whether it be volunteers, workers, people attending, and the wine pourers, were enjoying themselves!

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