Smoke Wallin Vanderbilt Address – 2008

I came across this video of my address at Vanderbilt back in 2008.  I had tremendous feedback from this from those in the audience.  I thought I’d share…

 Vanderbilt University – Alumni Weekend 2008  J. Smoke Wallin the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus and incoming President of the Vanderbilt Owen Alumni Board introduced by Jim Bradford, Dean of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.  Smoke addresses students, faculty, staff and prospective students on what matters in life, business and friendship.  He reflects on some difficult experiences.

Wine 2.0 Announces Launch OF 2008 Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition with


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2007 Winner Crushpad Received $9 Million Investment, Credited Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition With Providing Added Exposure 

To Investment Community. This Year’s Competition Expects To Partner With Investment Group To Sponsor 2008 Competition With $250K Seed Round Funding To Winning Company. 


  SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 03, 2008 /24-7PressRelease/ — Wine 2.0, the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry, announces the 2nd Annual Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition with partner Last year’s winner, Crushpad, a personal winery concept received $9 million in a Series B investment and credited the Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition with providing added exposure to the investment community.     

“The 2007 Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition gave Crushpad a big boost of awareness within the investment community. It opened up a lot of doors for us, and ultimately we ended up with multiple investment options and were able to do the type of investment round that best suited our needs,” said Michael Brill, CEO, Crushpad.

This year’s competition is open to companies utilizing technology in the wine space and interested in raising investment capital. Presenting companies can upload a video pitch to the community and competition judging panel. This year’s judging panel is made up of leaders in the legal, wine, technology and investment communities and includes:

• Alan Citron, Executive, Buzznet and former GM at,
• Bowen Osbourn, M & A, Demand Media
• Richard Rosenblatt, CEO, Demand Media, former CEO of
• Gary Vaynerchuk, star of Wine Library TV,
• Steve Venuto, Partner, Orrick,
• Heidi Roizen, Founder Skinny Songs and former partner at Mobius Venture Capital,
• J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman, Wine 2.0, CEO Taliera Holdings, Chairman/Founder eSkye, Co-Chairman Wine Industry Technology Symposium, President of the Vanderbilt Business School Alumni Board and Former Chairman of WSWA

“Given the global economic challenges we face, never has it been more important than now, for creative individuals to take entrepreneurial risks. The Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition is a fantastic opportunity for start-ups involved in the wine industry to vet their plan, network with like-minded entrepreneurs and raise their profile with the right investors,” said J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman of Wine 2.0. “We are pleased to partner with Vator.TV and these excellent judges to create a world class competition,” continued Wallin.

“ has new business ventures joining our network every day. The wine space is experiencing as much activity and interest among start-ups and investors as anything we have seen. We are excited to partner with Wine 2.0 for the second competition after such a great turnout last year,” said Bambi Francisco, Co-Founder and CEO of

The 2008 Wine 2.0 Business Plan Competition will run through April when the winning company will be announced at Wine 2.0 San Francisco, it can be found at (

About Wine 2.0
Wine 2.0 is the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry. Wine 2.0 focuses on the next generation wine consumer and breaks down the barriers to learning about, experiencing and enjoying wine. Wine 2.0 events feature the newest generation of emerging technology companies, services and communication tools that are changing the world of wine. (

About is the leading social media and networking site focused on emerging technology companies and private investment trends. allows startups to share their own narrative in their own voice in video and text, and enables others to follow those stories from one single dashboard. VatorNews is’s newsroom, where anyone can create their own channel to deliver news and information about high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. is located in San Francisco, CA. It launched in June 2007 and is funded by angel investors, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, Richard Rosenblatt, former Chairman of MySpace, Georges Harik, former Google executive who helped build Google’s AdSense technology and Paul Buchheit, founder of FriendFeed, and creator of the first version of Google’s Gmail.
Bambi Francisco is co-founder and CEO. She was a syndicated columnist and correspondent covering internet and emerging technology trends an investments across the public and private sectors for Dow Jones MarketWatch. is an extension of Bambi’s passion to give investors an edge by exposing opportunities at the earliest stages. This is a focus she’s had throughout her career. In 1995, Bambi created, launched and produced three shows for CNNfn, one of which was “Capital Ideas,” a show on innovation focusing on IPOs and deals.

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Taliera Holdings

Carmel, IN – October 2, 2008– Taliera Texas Brands, LLC announced today that it has re-launched Red Eye Bloody Mary across the U.S.  Red Eye is a leading Bloody Mary brand in the Texas market with a growing presence in markets throughout the U.S.   
 “This re-launch of the Red Eye brand is our first step in creating value for our shareholders, our customers, and our team,” said J.

Smoke Wallin, CEO of Taliera Holdings.   “Red Eye’s new premium brand packaging represents our first major move since acquiring Red Eye in March.  Our strategy is to provide our brand with the marketing support and senior level attention necessary to enhance its market position, leverage our industry relationships to expand its distribution, and successfully launch line extensions and new products.”
Red Eye New Packaging Now Available:

 Red Eye New Labels
“We are very excited by the new premium Red Eye,” said Don Hammond, President of Taliera Texas Brands. “Red Eye has been a strong Texas brand for nearly 25 years and has had widespread success in select markets around the US.  Taliera has moved to activate this brand with the wine, spirits and beer distributors across the nation.”  Mr. Hammond, who began his career with P&G and Gallo and has extensive experience in both large spirits brand companies and wholesalers, continued, “When we looked closely at the Red Eye footprint, we realized it was being distributed in a handful of states, by some of the finest distributors in the industry, all of whom we know.  Red Eye simply needed focused sales and marketing support to gain additional distribution in national accounts, large retailers and control states.  This national re-launch is our first step in executing our plan.”
U.S. retail sales of gourmet, specialty and premium foods and beverages are growing at much faster rates than those of the overall food and beverage industry, surging 10.9% to $59.0 billion in 2007 and posting a compound annual growth rate of 11.1% for the 2003-2007 period.  Within the total cocktail mix business, industry estimates for market size are over $750 million annually.  The specialty, gourmet and all-natural segment of cocktail mixes is growing at significantly higher growth rates than the overall market.  With over 39 million gourmet consumers in the U.S. today, these trends are expected to continue for the next decade.
Red Eye Brand Bold and Sassy Bloody Mary Mix is a complete Bloody Mary Mix with natural ingredients.  It is handcrafted in small batch production.  Red Eye has a big Texas taste that beats all the rest.

Red Eye Brand
“In these challenging economic times, the global beverage industry provides a safe haven for intelligent investment,” said Mr. Wallin.  “We believe tough market conditions create opportunities if you know where to look.  Red Eye is an example of this strategic worldview.”
About Taliera
Taliera is a company focused on acquiring and operating businesses and brands in the global beverage industry. Taliera’s team and partners have extensive experience in the global beverage alcohol and consumer packaged goods industries.  Red Eye is Taliera’s first brand acquisition and provides entry into the global beverage, specialty, natural and organic food markets.   

About Red Eye Blood Mary
Red Eye Bloody Mary Mix is made in Texas with the perfect combination of quality, all-natural ingredients and the highest standards. As incredible as it may seem, Red Eye Bloody Mary is sold throughout the country, but is still made in the 300 gallon kettles used when it was first created in 1985. Made with “tender loving care,” this unique quality controlled process places Red Eye in the category of a boutique operation. 


New Wine 2.0 Social Network Has Consumer And Wine Trade Members From Over 30 Countries And Connects Members With Leading Edge Wine Lovers And Brands
New York, NY (PRNEWSWIRE) September 16, 2008 – Wine 2.0, the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry, announces a partnership with Ning, the online service for creating, customizing and sharing your own Social Networks. Wine 2.0 has established the social network ( on the Ning platform and both companies will work to promote each other’s services to their respective communities. Wine 2.0 and Ning will jointly launch the new site at Wine 2.0 New York, September 18th at Webster Hall.

As part of the relationship, Wine 2.0 will work with its wine industry partners and wineries to establish their company and employee profiles on the Wine 2.0 network and Ning will provide technical and promotional opportunities.”
“Wine 2.0 is exactly the type of organization we had in mind when we created Ning”, said Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning.  “Wine 2.0 has great momentum bringing the next generation wine consumer together with thought leading wineries.  We are pleased Ning can play a role in providing the infrastructure for such an exciting endeavor.”

“We looked hard at all the available platforms in the market before choosing to go with Ning,” said J. Smoke Wallin, Wine 2.0 Chairman.  “Wine 2.0 is eventually going to have over a million wine consumers and wine industry people interacting on our platform.  Ning provides Wine 2.0 with a turn-key yet scalable application.” 

About Wine 2.0â„¢ – “Blending the Line Between Wine & Technology”
Wine 2.0™ is the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry. With a focus on the next generation wine consumer, Wine 2.0 breaks down the barriers to learning about, experiencing, and enjoying wine.   Wine 2.0 events feature a rich diversity of world class wines and the newest generation of emerging technology companies, services and communication tools that are changing the world of wine.  (Get Social at

About Ning
Ning is a platform for creating your own social networks for anything.  With over 460,000 social networks, and people in over 200 countries, Ning makes it possible for anyone to create their own social network for free in a few simple steps. Ning is privately held and based in Palo Alto, CA.  To give it a try, please visit

About Wine 2.0 New York
Wine 2.0 New York is presented by Webster Hall Digital & The Winetasting Network and will be held on September 18th at Webster Hall on the lower East side of Manhattan, and hosted by Wine Library TV star Gary Vaynerchuk, who will be live podcasting his show to thousands. Wine 2.0 New York, timed to coincide with the pre-eminent Web conference, Web 2.0 Expo, will again host over 1,400 wine and technology lovers in an exciting evening of world-class wines and cutting-edge Wine 2.0 start-up companies.
Tickets can be purchased at


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