My path to employment in the wine industry was not a direct one. In fact, I never considered my current career until I was already halfway in it. So I sometimes wonder – did I get here by happy accident or was I always destined?
If Grandpa had any influence on my future, then working at Talley Vineyards is probably destiny. This was a man who often sported a T-shirt emblazoned with, “A day without wine is like a day without sunshine.” I know that phrase might sound tired and clichéd now, but it was fresh and fun back when Grandpa would say it. In fact, I’m pretty sure he invented it!
An avid backpacker and camper, Grandpa knew how to pack smart and pack light for these outdoor excursions. But no matter how long the hike and how heavy the backpack, he always managed to find room for some red wine. After all, he didn’t want to experience one of those days without sunshine!
Despite being father to nine and grandfather to many, many more than that, Grandpa had a knack for making each person in his life feel special. Recently looking through some old photos, I realized that one of my special times with Grandpa also counts as my first winery tasting room experience. This picture is nine year old me enjoying an afternoon at San Martin Winery with Grandpa. I might not be trying any wine, but I couldn’t be happier. (Happy with the company, but likely even happier because I am sipping on a soda, something that would only happen while on vacation with my grandparents!) With such an early and favorable introduction to winery visits, it’s no surprise I would end up working where I do today. When I next enjoy a nice glass of wine, I am going to lift my glass to Grandpa and thank him for bringing the sunshine and setting me on my path!