Rodney Foster is the CEO of a multimillion-dollar wine company known as “Edelheiss Wine” – he’s also a famous cast member of the hit TV show “Marrying Millions” which airs on The Lifetime Network.
The idea for Edelheiss Wine came about while he was on a vacation in St. Moritz, Switzerland after attending an event called Polo Snow Cup on Ice. Before he traveled to Switzerland, a colleague previously mentioned to him that he should try a certain wine in Switzerland that they typically serve warm like hot tea or coffee. The second day he was in Switzerland he eventually found a restaurant that serviced this type of wine – it was called a “Mulled Wine.” Rodney has never tasted warm wine before until his first visit to Switzerland so he wasn’t sure how he initially felt about it.
Mulled Wine didn’t really impress Rodney initially, but after the second and third time he tried it – that’s when something clicked. He fell in love with the wine and that’s when he started thinking of ways to bring Mulled Wine into the US soil. He also wanted to create mulled wine but using better ingredients as well as making a more organic version.
The next step was to create a name for this product. A contact Rodney met in Switzerland suggested the name “Edelheiss” – it was supposed to be a twist to the white flower that grows in the Alps of Switzerland and which is called “Edelweiss.” That same contact introduced Rodney to his brother in law who was very knowledgeable about wines. He met the brother in law via Facebook – they immediately clicked and that person eventually became Rodney’s business partner.
His new business partner sent Rodney a family recipe to recreate the wine according to his taste. After much experimentation, Rodney’s mother’s suggestion of adding some peach brandy to the mix took the wine to another level – it became a Fortified Wine which many people can enjoy at just room temperature in a wine glass but then you can also heat it up like a mulled wine and eve make Sangrias with it.
MoneyCentral magazine recently caught up with Rodney to discuss his journey and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Due to the pandemic, Covid-19 protocols, and mandates, our team has developed various social media campaigns to heighten our online presence utilizing all platforms. We are participating in virtual wine events, zoom interviews for Edelheiss Wine, sponsoring celebrity’s events on zoom, and promoting the brand on Lifetime’s Marrying Millions television series. We also executed a relaunch, rebranding our entire product line ( Signature Red, Sparling, White, Sparkling Rose’ and Riesling) and our website, www.edelheisswine.com.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
We use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, we are about to start using Tik Tok, and Snapchat. One of the main ways we increase brand awareness is by word of mouth.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Our experience with paid advertising has been a pleasant one. Paid advertising has brought awareness to the brand. It works perfectly for our current and potential clientele.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand?
Our tactical approach to ensuring brand awareness of Edelheiss Wine is engaging with customers on social media, in-store tastings, hosting virtual tastings, and other intimate experiences. We are always exploring ideas to promote the brand. We stand out because we have immersed ourselves into mainstream media, maintaining a high-quality product, and remaining culturally-driven.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Marketing that worked for Edelheiss throughout the years is again social media, publications, t-shirts, hoodies, and simply educating people about wine and about the Edelheiss brand, specifically.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision I had to make within the last year was deciding to buy my business partner out of Edelheiss Wine. Our goals and drives were not the same. We no longer shared the same ideals and passion to drive the brand forward.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
One of the money mistakes I made growing Edelheiss is not using FedEx, UPS, or any Air Freight to ship a large shipment of Edelheiss Wine. I mean not to ship 20 cases or more, it’s just too expensive.
What new business would you love to start?
Though I am in the process of starting my own Hemp Vodka and other infused beverages, expanding into food pairing opportunities with my current brand, I am also preparing to launch my production firm to produce my own documentaries/reality shows for television and also my own Luxury Lifestyle brand.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
If I could go back in time when I started Edelheiss Wine, I would just not listen to people who would make decisions when it comes to when I have to pay for services. A lot of decisions I made in the past were learning lessons and some failures, but that’s how you grow from those mistakes.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I was given was to do your own research. This allows us to be educated about our approaches and ventures, but also saves us so much time and money.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Do your research on what is it that you are going to do or create. If they are going to create a product look into where the funds will come from if you don’t have a pot of gold to pull funds from.