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By Elizabeth Smith

Wine’s Most Inspiring People 2019

Dina Opici
Dina Opici

Dina Opici is President of Opici Family Distributing, a family-owned wine and spirits distribution company based in Glen Rock, New Jersey, established by her great-grandparents, Joseph and Esther Opici in 1934, then led for over 40 years by her grandparents, Hubert and Rose Opici, beginning in 1944. The company is part of The Opici Group, which also includes and the import business, Opici Wines.

Opici is often described by her industry peers as a “dynamo”, is taking the proverbial bull by the horns in every way, leading her family’s distribution business during a period of formidable change and challenge in the wine industry. During recent communications with Opici, she reveals her passion for work, her mentoring and leadership for women in the wine industry, the importance of family and home, and how she achieves the often-unattainable work-life balance.

Opici, a graduate of the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City and a former lawyer, entered the family business in 1998. She served in various roles across the past 20 years, including sales administration, director of human resources, and general counsel. As the company’s fourth-generation president, her responsibilities include establishing and maintaining supplier and customer relationships, sales projections, and managing financial expectations. Opici Family Distributing has remained a thriving and growing, family-owned, independent distribution company under Opici’s leadership. She believes the key to success is “giving the customer a reason to do business with you by offering them the best, whether it is the best service, the best products, or the best price, and you must provide a working environment that encourages an entrepreneurial spirit.” Key to her professional success in the wine and spirits distribution business is her ability to cultivate and maintain deep connections and relationships among the company’s employees, suppliers, and customers. She asserts, “Relationships are the backbone of our industry, and I am fortunate to have learned this lesson from my grandparents who built our family’s business by establishing long-lasting friendships with our business partners.”

During the past 20 years, Opici notes that the greatest changes and improvement for women in the wine industry have been the resources available for mentoring and networking, as well as continuing education and advancement of women in leadership roles. Although she shared that she was fortunate to not encounter the challenges that many women in the industry have faced, thanks to her grandmother’s integral involvement in the family business, Opici has stepped forward and served as a role model as it relates to the professional growth and development of women in the wine industry. She has brought the conversation to the forefront and continues to elevate its importance. She is most proud of being the first Chairwoman of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Women’s Leadership Council. In this role, she was instrumental in crafting and moving forward its mission. Her leadership and involvement have positively impacted her own professional life and those of her female peers in the wine industry.

Catherine Daniels, Vice President, Federal Affairs for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, reiterates, “Dina Opici led the effort to implement and develop a member-driven initiative, the WLC. Her devotion, passion, and leadership helped create an Advisory Board of women leaders to define a mission, create networking opportunities, and develop programming for skill development for women in wholesale.”

In her free time, Opici enjoys playing golf, a pastime that she originally learned as a business networking opportunity, which subsequently became a sport that brings her joy in her personal life. She schedules time to play with her husband or friends so that she has time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect. “The opportunity to spend three to four hours with someone without interruption is a luxury,” she says. She also plans her free time similarly to how she schedules her workdays. She makes time for herself, whether it be traveling, going to dinner with friends, or spending time at home with family. To be her best, she recognizes that it is essential to have fun, too.

When it comes to family and work-life balance, Opici manages to do and have it all, although she confessed that it is not an easy task. She joked that she has two full-time jobs, one at work and one at home. Being a mother of two children is not a part-time gig, so she must schedule her time accordingly. She explained that she is fortunate to have a family that understands the demands of her career and is supportive and accommodating of her need to travel and work, usually during unconventional days and hours. However, she revealed that coming home, while not always tranquil in the physical sense, is where she ultimately finds peace, and that home is the place that makes her smile the most.

Alex Evans, Chief Marketing Officer for Precept Wine and a longtime friend of Opici and Opici Family Distributing, concludes, “For two decades, I have watched Dina continue to soar to new heights as she leads her family company into new markets and channels while significantly growing her supplier base. Her recent work with the WSWA Women’s Leadership group has been both inspiring and deeply impactful. She honors her late grandfather’s legacy every day as she exemplifies his dedication to family, work ethic, loyalty, and entrepreneurial spirit. I could not be prouder to call her one of my closest friends and I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings.”

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