Getting to the front of

9 years ago, I was a stay at home dad after getting out of the country club world.

A colleague of mine commissioned me to write a business plan for “a winery in Cazenovia”. He wasn’t quite sure anything would be done with the plan and couldn’t promise anything, but I took the opportunity because A) Shioban and I enjoy wine (we got married at Logan Ridge Winery in Ovid) and B) a really cool opportunity could potentially be sitting at the end of the plan, should I do a good job.

Obviously, things worked out, as I created a job for myself and realized one of my professional dreams; I got to run a winery.

But the admission of that time was that, I truly knew very little about wine. Other than managing wine lists for country clubs, and what I read for my own enjoyment and education, there wasn’t much else.

So, as I began to write the business plan for the winery, I literally had to begin by googling things like, “where to purchase wine corks”.

During this particular search, I came across a company called Cork Supply USA. On the other end of the line, was Gina Shay.

Gina was a very experienced closure expert who calmly walked the rookie through the silliest of questions (why real cork, why not screw cap, etc.?) I took extensive notes while she talked, I learned as quickly as I could, and I presented the information in the business plan.

Needless to say, we purchased 1000’s and 1000’s of corks from Gina while I was at the winery.

But, I haven’t purchased a thing from her in 3 and a half years. Not. One. Dollar.

Fast forward to October 2016; Amy Zavatto, wine and spirits writer for sends me the following email:

“Hey Ben,

My friend Gina Shay tipped me off to your Disco Lemonade for a story I’m working on for Can you send me info and a sample this week? I’m at…….”

We were so excited and got samples down to Amy immediately. I gave the interview over the phone in October and the article ran late last week. There we are, front and center, next to major, major, brands.

“But thanks to these 5 trailblazers below….”

“from affable winemaker turned distiller Ben Reilley” (not going to lie, I totally had to google “affable”; what a compliment!)

Thanks so much to Gina and Amy. Our family is doing backflips over the amazing article.

9 years in the making, that’s how we got to the front page of And, if you ever need corks, call Gina!!

If you have an interest in reading the article, here is the link:

Ready for these 5 cocktails in a can?