We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Austin Zouzoulas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shannon, is there something you believe many others might not?
Start while you are still employed, I suppose. I think that allows for complacency. I know it seems risky to take the leap to start your own business without guarenteed income but risk is quite frankly a major part of entrepreneurship. There is never the perfect time. if you don’t have a job then you have real hunger and drive, truly there is no option to fail, you have to have real hustle. It sounds safer and more comfortable to take the safer route but I think jumping in 100% without a safety net forces you to figure out quickly what works and what doesn’t. Most people would disagree, but truly I think this kept us fired up and one out toes.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are women owned and operated, and passionate about that! I co-own and operate Arizona Hops and Vines, a small, cheeky, fun winery in Sonoita, Arizona. We are definately not your average winery. My sister, Megan is the winemaker, and I do the sales, events, marketing, and the experience. We started out deciding to do things differently than other established wineries and make it about both the wine as well as the vibe. It was not easy! We received a lot of push back, and struggled to be taken seriously. We just kept true to ourselves, and our mission, eventually people in the industry, community, and most importantly our customers embraced us. I think for me its to remain authentic. We started out quirky, kind, hardworking, and funny…..and that is true to this day! We want everyone to come in and feel comfortable, not intimidated by wine. Although we take it seriously, and have some wonderful awards for our wines, we want to meet people where they are at in their wine journey, whether just starting out, or wine connoisseurs. We feel very blessed to have had so many customers leave as friends and SPREAD the word about us. Truly word of mouth is everything.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sonoita is beautiful and growing!! I would have stay at any of the beautiful VRBOs, and encourage them to try all of the 19 wineries, 2 distilleries, and 2 breweries. Each one is different and has a unique vibe. I would have them try Pronghorn Pizza, The Steak Out , The Cafe, Copper Brothel, and Tia Anita’s for food and ice cream at the corner scoop. Explore both Patagonia, Bisbee, and Tombstone which are all equally close. This whole area is full with interesting characters (emphasis on characters). I encourage all my Phoenix friends to staycation during the summer here….we are way cooler…in more way than one!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to acknowledge my kids. They were the ones that absorbed a lot of the burden. We moved across the country, they gave up their old life, and helped out in every way. They never asked for money, they dealt with financial hardship during the start, and kept me motivated. I love seeing how fearless they are as adults, and I hope that watching their mom and aunt chase and realize dreams is part of that.

Website: https://www.azhopsandvines.com

Instagram: @azhopsandvines

Twitter: azhopsandvines

Facebook: AZ Hops and Vines

Yelp: Arizona Hops and Vines

Other: TIKTOK azhopsandvines

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