We should give 150% of ourselves to make the best wines we can in a responsible manner.
Sandi’s advice for someone trying to get in the industry: follow your heart, keep an open mind, work your butt off and learn, learn, learn.
How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 42 years, 1974 to present.
How did you get started in the wine business?
When I was attending UC Davis during my years at college, I worked at many wineries. Afterwards I acquired a house in St. Helena with eight acres of red grapes. This property really increased my curiosity about winemaking.
Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?
My microbiology professor at UC Davis took our class on a field trip one day to see Brother Timothy at Christian Brothers Winery. This was my “a-ha” moment; I was hooked!
Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.
Joe Heitz. He was a bear to work with because he expected perfection. He took the time to explain how and why fine wines were made.
Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?
Cultivating excellence should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We should give 150% of ourselves to make the best wines we can in a responsible manner taking care of our land and really think about every step we take to improve our industry for today and the future.
What do you think makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine regions?
There are lots of wine industries around the world that have unique traditional customs. Napa Valley has a touch of all these, but in a very modern way. The Napa Valley is geographically very small with unique terrain and soil conditions not found anywhere else in other wine growing regions.
If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?
Mr. (Robert) Mondavi, Joe Heitz and President Obama.
What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?
Follow your heart, keep an open mind, work your butt off and learn, learn, learn.