But the truth is, while I do actually enjoy winery record-keeping and compliance – and I better, since it’s been the focus of the last 15 years of my career – what I’m actually fired up about is sharing my expertise with owners, winemakers, growers, vineyard managers, cellar masters, sales managers, lab techs, tasting room staff, and others in the wine industry. I’ve worked almost every job there is in winemaking. In 1989, I started out in a tasting room. A few years later, I moved into the production side, spending two seasons in the winery lab at Beringer Vineyards, and eventually managing the lab for Sterling Vineyards. I also did some cellar work there, before focusing on compliance and tracking exclusively. And along the way, I developed entire wine record systems for several medium sized wineries, Sterling Vineyards, Viansa Winery, Caymus Vineyards and Conundrum Winery among them.
Using the industry-specific Winemakers Database software, I helped these wineries to make their licensing, record-keeping, and reporting requirements light-years easier and less time-consuming. In 2006, I began teaching Napa Valley College’s first course in winery compliance. It’s taught me that there’s a real need for clear, straight-forward training when it comes to navigating the maze of compliance requirements. So now, I help small and mid-size wineries, home wine makers, wholesalers, and other “lovers of the grape” across the country untangle all the requirements, forms, deadlines, and acronyms (ABC, TTB, and COLAs, anyone?) involved in winery compliance. Because once you’ve crushed the details of compliance, you can go back to crushing grapes.