Thursday, December 02, 2010

My new book: Innovators and Pacesetters of the Modern NV Wine Industry

December 2, 2010 Update

By John M. Olney
Web site:
Copyright November 1, 2008 all rights reserved
Wine Country Marketing and Promotions (WCM&P)
1370 Trancas St., #409, Napa, CA Phone: 707-299-9548
Web site: E-mail:

The Essence
of the
Napa Valley Wine Industry
 A Trilogy of Contributions by Individual and Team Greats 
Resurrection- ---- Innovators and Pacesetters ------- Inheritors
1930’s into the 1960’s ----- 1960’s through1990's ------ 2000’s and the future
Some comments about my books
from those participating in the interviews:

     BOOK I: The Resurrectors of the NV Wine Industry
     Using the Bancroft Library oral tapes and printed media interviews as well as similar materials at other libraries and depositories, build a book discussing how the individuals and teams unscrambled the thirteen years of the great failed social reform era brought about by enactment of Prohibition to rebuilt the once vibrant wine industry of Napa Valley
     I have been given a great opportunity by the PR firm for Peter Mondavi, senior owner of the Charles krug Winery and brother of Robert Mondavi He is turning 95 and the winery is about tio celebrate its 150th anniversary. Also accepting to be interview is Mrs. Eliabeth Martini, wife of Louis P. Martini, second generation of this 1st winery in St. Helena now owned by Gallo Brothers. And Harold Moskowite twice Napa County Supervisor, farmer, businessman and winery owner whose family has lived in  the upper valley  area where Lake Berryessa is located has accepted to participate.

BOOK II: The Innovators and Pacesetters of the Modern NV Wine Industry

     This may be the first book published of the trilogy and contains the results of interviews with  figures who have molded the Napa Valley Wine industry into what it is today.

    20  have already been nterviewed, 4 have accepted to particpate and I  await only one more to accept and I'll have 25 in the book.  Scroll down to view the complete list.  Just to mention a few, there is Jack Cakbread, Michael Mondavi, Ric Forman, Dan Duckhorn, Dr. Richard Peterson, Bob Trinchero, Andy Becksoffer and the list goes on. You can click here to go to the list of all participants and the status of my interview with them:
BOOK III: The Inheritors of the NV Wine Industry
     We will select 35 (plus/minus) appropriate off spring and new comers to discuss a common set of questions addressing the reasons why they did not or did continue family businesses or why the decided to start up a winery operation.

If you are interested in the questions and the invitees, continue reading below.
1. Major Contribution(s) to the wine industry. What would you most like to be remembered as having contributed to the American Wine Industry? This is probably a difficult question in that you might feel that it requires you to be “bragging” but it really is not that at all’ It is simply your assessment of the contributions you think you have made and continue to make.

2. Significant influence on you. What and/or who do you consider the most significant influences in guiding your thinking and actions in the history of your contributions to the American Wine Industry and how so?

3. Essence of Napa and its wine. Mr. Joel Lewis, retired ad & marketing executive and resident of Napa, recently posed a very interesting question to me as I drove him to SFO which I would like to pass on to you for your comment. “What do you consider to be the ‘essence’ of Napa Valley and indeed, its wine?” The word “Essence” is being defined as “the intrinsic nature of anything; that which makes a thing what it is.”

4. Land Use Codes.
     Part 1: Today there are winery owners who are large foreign and/or USA corporations, and wealthy individual members of the association who are not home based within Napa County and have the potential for exerting great influence within and on the NVV and county/city governmental leaders. Ultimately they can conceivably exercise substantial influence on local agricultural and non-agricultural ordinances and codes through the votes of their employees.
     The Napa Valley wine industry employs over 39,000. My question is, do you ever foresee, given this large number of outside-of-the-county ownerships, the possibility that they could join forces and erode the agricultural preservation codes that have been enacted to date? What I am trying to drive at is: Could some of these large multi-national companies/ wealthy and influential owners decide that some of their land holdings would be better suited to high-end housing development for the wealthy desiring the “Lifestyle” that beautiful Napa Valley and its hillsides could offer if the land was removed from AG Preservation? They could legally, through subtly suggestion, that there would be employee job losses because of down turns in the economic conditions of wine production; unless they got the land use votes they wanted to build homes/mansions to shore up their bottom lines.
     Part 2 - Recent times have shown the lack of interest by the off spring of old time family wineries in assuming the role of owners and producers to continue the family wineries. In some cases there is even legal action taken among the siblings some of whom just want to take their inheritance percentage out of the winery and move on with their own business interests. Do you foresee the possibilities that these off spring could conceivably take legal action against the county to remove AG Preservation codes on their family land so they can inherit rights that might lead to more money than staying in the AG business?

5. American Wine Industry Hall of Fame.
     Since the early 1850’s most of the great minds in grape feedstock for the production of wine have been moving and concentrating in the Pacific coastal states, particularly in California and more specifically in the northern counties above the Los Angeles basin.
     There is still significant wine production on-going in all the other states where their principal feedstock are fruits, berries, honey and native grape varietals, with some production from foreign grape varietal hybrids. These latter areas enjoy loyal wine consumer following and generate impressive tourism and wine sales numbers but nothing like that witnessed among the Pacific coastal states and in particular Napa and Sonoma Counties.
     To date I have identified a number of wine industry related Hall of Fame (HOF) programs but none are all-inclusive by representing the many facets associated to wine production, marketing and sales.
     What would you think of the potential marketability of an “American Wine Industry Hall of Fame, Museum and Foundation” located within the City of Napa to recognize those who significantly contributed to the growth of the industry (including all feedstock types used to produce a wine) since the discovery of the “new world” and display important artifacts associated to that history and from which the monetary proceeds would support academic pursuits in the history associated to all sub fields of the American Wine Industry?
     Please visit the Web site: n for the description of what the American Hall of Fame would encompass and encourage.
     I have even suggested such HOF, Museum and Foundation could fit well in the COPIA Complex - click here to read about those thoughts:

Primarily Growers/Vineyard management & development
Andy Beckstoffer -- Interview completed - - -
Very large vineyard owner in North Bay counties

Volker Eisele -- Interview completed -
Vineyard/winery owner. Activist for greenbelt, AG preserve, hillside ordnances, etc.

Ken Laird - waiting for reply- - - - - -
Very large vineyard owner in Napa county.

Salvador “Sal” Renteria -- Interview completed 
One of first large managers

William “Bill” Hill -- Interview completed, - --
Created the establishment of what would become the Hess Collection, William Hill on Atlas Peak Road now owned by Piero Antinori of Italy, and now co-owner in Big Horn. is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Primarily Winemakers
Mitch Cosentino -- Interview completed -
Created Cosentino winery in Napa and Crystal Valley Cellars in Lodi and contributed to establishing Merlot as great wine by itself. Cosentino is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Randy Dunn - -Interview completed - -
Often considered a “cult” winemaker/winery who re-established Howell Mtn name.

Ric Forman -- Interview completed.- -
Started as partner in Sterling then moved on to Madrone and now has own winery and consults many. is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Tony Soter -- Interview accepted, DTBD, Spring 2010. .
Soter was a consulting winemaker in the Napa Valley where he guided such wineries as Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola (Now Rubicon), Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalle Valle. He now owns and operates Soter Vineyards in Williamette Valley, Oregon.

Primarily Small/Mid sized and/or Family owned wineries
Jack Cakebread -- Interview completed
Creator of Cakebread winery, wine photographer, land preservation, tourism guidance and many more wine business related organizations. is on my 1987 SERIES “A” Wine Label Poster-map

Dan Duckhorn -- Interview completed.-
Created Duckhorn and contributed to establishing Merlot as great wine by itself.

Agustin Huneeus -- Interview completed.-
Partner and acting President of Franciscan Estates in 1985. Under his leadership, the ailing company was transformed into a successful group of premium wine estates. In 1999, Agustin sold his interest in Franciscan Estates. Today, he devotes his time to Quintessa. He also maintains vineyard holdings in Chile, Alexander Valley and Napa Valley. Franciscan is on my 1987 SERIES “A” Wine Label Poster-map.

Francis Mahoney -- Interview completed
Creator of Carneros Creek winery. A major player in establishing Carneros as a great Pinot Noir district. Is on my 1987 SERIES “A” Wine Label Poster-map

Elizabeth Martini -- Interview accepted DTBD  No web site

A view of the industry from the perspective of a wife and mother.
Mary Novak -- Iinterview completed www.spo
Before there were “cult” wineries, she was one by starting Spottswoode

Warren Winiarski -- Interview completed No current web site
Founder: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ( ). Beside the winner of the 1976 taste-off, strong advocate of AG Preserve. . Is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Primarily Executives in Larger Corporate type winery operations
Michael Mondavi -- Interview completed
- - -
Heir of a great wine and Napa Valley ambassador. Was once Robert Mondavi winery CEO. Now owns Folio Wine Partners. R. Mondavi is on my 1987 SERIES “A” Wine Label Poster-map.

Michael Moone -- interview accepted DTBD in spring 2010
Top notch large corporate executive who, through Silverado Partners headed a machine that took Beringer Brothers to a major player in the wine industry. As Beringer, is on my 1987 SERIES “A” and LUNA is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map when it was originally St. Andrews

Dr. Richard Peterson -Interview completed - - -
Winemaker and business leader at large, medium and small wineries in a multiple number of counties. Wialliam Hill Winery is on 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Dario Sattui -- Interview completed - & Created the highly successful V. Sattui winery, deli and picnic grounds. Most recently completed the Castle de Amorosa, a 15 year building construction project, which is already a major destination for tourists. V. Sattui is on my 1989 SERIES “B” Wine Label Poster-map

Louis “Bob” Trinchero -- interview completed - - -
Creator of “White Zin and much more.

Ancillary Business (Insurance) development for the Industry
Ed Brovelli -- Interview accepted, DTBD- - No web site .
Developed first models to enable the insuring of winery operations.

Marketing/Advertising/Public Relations
Gary Ramona -- -Interview completed --  no web site
Headed teams at R. Mondavi and most recently at Fred Franzia’s Bronco - creator of “$2 Buck Chuck,” and now consulting with Antigal Winery and Estates of Argentina.

Industry Advocacy Group
Dr. Joh DeLuca --  Interview accepted DTBD
No web siyte
Headed up the California Wine Institute fom mid 1970's thru early 2000s

Charles L. Sullivan -- Interview completed- - - - - No web site.
Well noted historian, published writer and University Professor

Government Policymaking
Jim Hickey -- Interview accepted DTBD No web site
Planning Dept. leader of the determination of the definition of what constitues a winery

Harold Moskowite -- Interview accepted DTBD  No web site
Family owned ranch in upper valley area of Lake Berryessa where they were farmers.  Harold first became County Supervivior just as county struggled with land preservation codes, then built a winery and returned to be re-elected supervisor as the American Canyon area underwent huge growth.

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