My Introduction to the Wine Industry

My first job in the wine business was at Mark West Vineyards in Forestville, CA in 1982.

I was hired to work on the bottling line for 1 week.  During the first day’s bottling I noticed how much passion Bob had for working with the wines, even though I would learn later that bottling is the necessary evil of the wine business.  Every detail was thought out and meticulously laid out to avoid any problems or hiccups in the process of gently moving wine from the tank through the pump, filter, and filler and into the bottles.

When there were breaks, Bob was the last one out and the first one back in.  When I stayed behind to watch, I saw Bob refilling the glue in the labeler, moving case goods, empty and full, around to make the day easier and more efficient.  All of this was done with that big, broad smile glowing from under his trademark mustache.  The feeling was that this is a work of love.  I look back on those days and realize how fortunate I was to work with someone whose passion shone through in every aspects of his life.  Bob’s wife, Julia, was also a Winemaker and through the friendship and teachings of both of them I found a way to express and grow my passion for winemaking so that I could pass it along to friends, family and the countless people who have tasted and, hopefully, enjoyed the fruits of their teachings.

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