Barefoot Wines were originally introduced in 1965 by self-taught California winemaker Davis Bynum. After years of making "garage-style" home wines, Bynum opened up a winery in Alameda Davis and released Barefoot Bynum Burgundy for sale in his tasting room only.
The Barefoot Bynum wines, with their whimsical barefoot imprint on the label, were a hit and quickly outsold Bynum’s higher priced wines. However, despite the label’s success, Bynum decided in 1973 to focus his energies on his premium wines, and the Barefoot brand lay dormant for over 10 years.
In 1986, Michael Houlihan and his partner Bonnie Harvey purchased the brand and set about reviving "the Foot." They launched the new "Barefoot-Cellars.html">Barefoot Cellars" with two varietals: Barefoot California Cabernet Sauvignon and Barefoot California Sauvignon Blanc.
Looking for a way to combine sales with supporting local charities, Houlihan hired Randy Arnold as a "Barefooter" in 1990. Arnold set about enthusiastically making a name for the label by providing wine donations to non-profit events. The winery’s dedication to grassroots causes grew along with the rest of the business, and today Barefoot is involved in thousands of charitable events worldwide.
The winery continued to add new varietals to its portfolio, and Jennifer Wall was hired in 1995 as the Barefoot Winemaker. She was determined to create wines that consumers of all levels of experience would enjoy.
That philosophy and dedication paid off and in 1996, Barefoot Cellars became a national brand, touted by wine sellers as top-quality California wine at a reasonable price. Barefoot Zinfandel and Barefoot Merlot were added to the line, followed by Barefoot Bubbly 'Premium' California Champagne and Barefoot Bubbly 'Brut Cuvee' California Champagne.
From 2001 to 2004, the company growth was rewarded with increased popularity and a "Hot Brand" award from Impact Magazine. Despite the success, Houlihan knew that to realize his long-term dreams for the winery, he would need to find a like-minded partner. Soon after, that partner arrived in the form of the E. & J. Gallo Winery, which shared Houlihan’s vision for offering top quality wine at affordable prices and purchased Barefoot in 2005.
Barefoot continued to grow and introduced new varietals such as the instantly successful Pinot Grigio. In addition, the winery now offers “Little Feet” 187ml four-packs and has become the official wine of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP).
The company’s dedication to charitable causes reached a new level of commitment with the development of the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, whose mission is to keep America’s beaches "Barefoot friendly." The project works in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the world’s oceans.
Barefoot has also brought together its many fans by introducing a club for Barefoot devotees: the "Barefoot Republic," and continues to produce award-winning wines and support local charity events with its high energy team of Barefooters.