As I reflect over 30 years of working for my family I think one of the important parts of working with them was having the option of choosing my course, my direction. I know I am very blessed because we don’t always get to choose our path. In my case I had a degree in English with a Writing Emphasis, I had been raised at the winery, and now I was entering into the business from the ground floor, the tasting room. It was a good beginning and gave me a chance to immerse myself in the day to day winery stuff, plunge into wine education and listen to people as they shared their wine experiences and more importantly their preferences. The tasting room at that time was in the front of our case goods warehouse. I remember my commute to work was on foot-from the apartment below the offices where my great-grandparents once lived; working in the middle of winter in the warehouse-you can imagine just how cold; learning tips from John Soule, tasting room host since 1968; having a rush of guests followed by boredom when there was a lull; local winemakers and growers stopping by to talk about how exciting it was that Dry Creek Valley was now an official American Viticultural Area (granted in 1983); the countless conversations about who liked which wine and why; the poster (made by my cousin) with the tagline ‘Don’t bite the foot that stomps your grapes’. I realize now I was following in the footsteps of my grandfather who ran his tasting room out of the wine cellar, building his network in the same way. At the same time I was learning the basics, I was also storing away experiences I would share as part of telling my story in the coming years. Learning to be patient when Peter from LA (who was a lawyer) walked in at 5:02pm and stayed for an hour or helping people to correctly pronounce Pinot Noir (it was the wild west in those days-Americans were being exposed to varietal names rather than the standard 'Burgundy'). A toast to the early years, from my Dino to yours.
Each photo takes a step back in time-by the end of the month will be the real 'throwback' of 30 years ago. This was taken in 2005.