I am always interested to see the paths that different people take into wine making and enjoyed a recent article in The New York Times about the different career paths that are ending in the cellar. The following is an extract from the article:
“Farmers — the kind of people who have ‘their feet in the soil,’ as described by Margrit Mondavi, the 84-year-old matriarch of the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley — once dominated grape-growing and winemaking. But (a diplomat and business entrepreneur) are part of a recent wave of M.B.A.’s, bankers, architects, engineers and others who are taking over or starting wineries and infusing small boutique labels with a level of business expertise usually found only at big brands.
“‘It’s a very common second career,’ says Bill Nelson, president of WineAmerica, a national trade association with more than 800 member wineries. ‘Often, people get the financial wherewithal from the first career to get started and transition into wine.’
“It’s happening not only in California, but also in New York, Washington, Oregon, Texas and North Carolina. Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, says that 58 wineries have opened in the state in the last three years and that ‘virtually all new winery owners come from other walks of life.’”
Here in Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands of South Africa, we have diverse backgrounds from generations in winemaking to people with first (or concurrent) careers in academia, IT, advertising, furniture, etc. But we are all joined together by our passion for wine and desire to make the very best wine that we can.