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Since purchasing his vineyard at the top of Spring Mountain in 1970, Stuart Smith has become the leading voice of the hillside grower. While Smith believed that the best grapes come from the mountains, a hypothesis had been written that vineyards on hillsides are detrimental to the land. In response, Smith began arguing in favor of hillside vineyards and land-use issues. Being the leading voice was “thrust upon me,” Smith shared. “It was not my intent. When I first got a permit to log the property from Department of Forestry, I was warned that there would be protesters once I brought out a chainsaw.”
Those around him will say that David Parrish is not one to brag about his accomplishments, but they are the first to call David Parrish an innovator in the wine industry. “David lives to work. The industry is his passion. He is always trying to perfect something or get that one thing a little bit better,” explained long-time friend and business colleague Charlie Castro. “David always stays ahead of the curve.”
Across the entire wine industry, there are significant challenges, stated Robert McMillan, executive vice president and founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division at the recent forum of Santa Barbara’s wine industry.
Running a wine association takes a tireless multi-tasker. The job is a combination of strategy, business development, marketing, finance and politics. It takes understanding the needs of the association, as well as the community as a whole. It is about managing the desires of a diverse group, from large producers to small producers.