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Tag: Wine’s Most Inspiring People
Anybody growing grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountains has heard the name Prudy Foxx. If they have a true love of the vine and all it stands for, they’ve hired her to help them grow the best grapes possible. Foxx is a well-known, well-traveled, and well-schooled viticultural consultant, helping vineyard owners decide the best varieties to grow and how best to grow them in their particular microclimate. And here in the mountains, everything is microclimate.
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.
Roman Roth's competitive fire was mentioned by many of his associates. It has driven Wolffer Estate to star status in a wine region that now occupies an international stage with Roth playing a leading role during that ascent. It has earned him, besides numerous accolades and critical acclaim, recognition as one of Wine’s Most Inspiring People.
As one gets to know Brown and follows her unconventional life to where it has lead her now – to the top of the wine writing heap – it becomes evident that this simple belief, or really practice, has been the reason her life has been an adventure. Not an adventure of extreme sports or pushing the limits, but an adventure of exploration. She chooses a path and excels, then may choose another path and give that avenue her full attention.
“I was once like the Indiana Jones of Himalayan geology,” said Kevin Pogue PhD. He explains the cultural, political and topographical setting of his research sites in northwestern Pakistan would have made the famous fictional explorer feel right at home. World changes caused this Washington based geologist to turn his attentions from ancient lands across the globe to those under the vines. The vineyards of the Pacific Northwest have never been the same.
Some see Tom Wark as an advocate for the wine industry, given his role as the Executive Director of National Association of Wine Retailers since 2007, but he prefers to think of himself as an outspoken voice for the “little guy.” Since 2004, he’s been unapologetically airing concerns over the three-tier distribution system and lack of consumer choice in the marketplace, lambasting what he terms “rent seeking, special interests and other self serving groups.”
Many know Mick Schroeter’s talents in winemaking and his path from the big reds of Penfold’s to the delicate Russian River Valley Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of his current gig as Head of Winemaking at Sonoma-Cutrer, as well as his entry to Sonoma County wines at Geyser Peak where their Sauvignon Blanc became the standard bearer for U.S. produced wines of this variety.
Right from the get go, it was a lively curiosity grounded in unpretentiousness that led Ryan Harms to the Oregon terroir and marked his ascent as CEO of one of the biggest brands in the state.
Rolando Herrera is being honored as one of Wine’s Most Inspiring People by the Wine Industry Advisor. Herrera is an outstanding winemaker, overseeing his own family winery, Mi Sueño, and previously serving as Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Winery and Paul Hobbs consulting. His joyous attention to detail and tireless venture for “beautiful” wine make Herrera a gifted winemaker. His journey to becoming a winemaker, and the joy he shares along the way, has made him a great inspiration.
J. Stephen Casscles, better known by friends as Steve Casscles, is an accomplished lawyer and winemaker. He graduated Marlboro Central High School, attended the State University of New York, Albany, and got his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Ever the individualist, as a young man, rather than visit Europe, he traveled India and Nepal. He has been counsel to various New York state senators for more than 20 years. While his specialty is insurance and healthcare practices, he has also written or contributed to many of the liquor laws in New York state.
John and Terri Balletto planted their first vineyard in the mid-nineties on a 35 acre lot in Sebastopol (now part of the potential Sebastopol Hills AVA) where they were also building their home. Back then, they were vegetable farmers, but the hill did not have enough water to grow produce, so with the advice of family friend Warren Dutton (Dutton Ranch), they planted 20 acres of Pinot, 10 of Chardonnay, and 5 of Pinot Gris.
Jordan Kivelstadt is a straight-shooter. Innovator? Check. Relationship builder? Check again. Saving the planet? Check. This young man, who just recently turned 36 years old, is one of our winners of the Most Inspiring People of 2018 series. He is an impressive forward-thinker, disrupting old theories of wine packaging as he goes forth.
Ray Johnson’s life and career in wine has touched the lives of thousands. Here is just a snapshot of comments from a few people who have been inspired by Johnson as a teacher, mentor, colleague and friend.
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.”
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