Women in Wine

03.08.22

Women in Wine

Meet Six Women Shaping the Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards.

They’re leaders with a passion for human connection and a sense of adventure.

Two winemakers. One CFO. Two VPs. And the woman who helped launch Far Niente more than 40 years ago. In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we sat down to talk with six of the women shaping the way we grow, make, sell and share our wines. From the cellar to the board room, these daring innovators and leaders offered their thoughts on lifting one another up, leading with empathy, and giving their teams the tools to succeed. They talked about the people that have inspired and mentored them, as well as the lessons they’ve learned, at times imperfectly, about how to lead and mentor others.

They also opened up about the absolute best part of their days and, of course, the wines they most love to open and serve and the company with which/whom they most enjoy sharing them!

Ready to Meet Some of our Women in Wine? Read On.

Women in Wine Far Niente

Far Niente Winemaker Nicole Marchesi, on upholding Far Niente’s legacy of outstanding women winemakers: “Far Niente has a rich tradition of placing women at the winemaking helm. I was first hired by Stephanie Putnam, who was the winemaker at Far Niente until early 2009. Her passion, dedication and curiosity were inspiring. She cared deeply about making great wine, yet she was equally passionate about caring for her team. She taught me the importance of giving the people on your team room to grow. Stephanie’s predecessor, Ashley Heisey, was another strong example for me. Ashley taught me how to marry the science and beauty of wine. She had a great respect for the creative process, and she was deeply appreciative of others’ work. She also modeled how to successfully have a family and be a winemaker.”

Vice President of Direct-to-Consumer Sales Vida DeLong, on the women who shape her NOW: "I’ve had some great role models, male and female, over the course of my career. But the women inspiring me on a daily basis are the female leaders on my team. They bring the energy, creativity, and drive to every project. They’re the ones getting stuff done; I’m simply the air traffic controller. Rachelle, Nadia, Alysha, Erika, Kelly, Kaleigh, Barbra … I’m in awe of them daily."

Chief Financial Officer Dana Sexton Vivier, on giving her team the tools to succeed: "Assume positive intent. That’s the number one thing I try to do with everyone around me. I start with the premise that everyone on our team wants to succeed and put out work that makes them proud, and then I give each person the tools they need to achieve their goals. For a long time, I was a very results-first leader, and it’s only been in recent years that I’ve truly appreciated that my most important work is the team. It’s showing them that I care and then setting them up for success."

Bella Union Winemaker Brooke Bobyak-Price, on the best part of what she does: “There are too many! First and foremost, is that I get the opportunity to make some of the very best wines in the Napa Valley. Second, yet related, is being able to share those wines with close friends and family. Wine brings people together and that, in and of itself, makes it extraordinary. That I had/have a hand in crafting something that encourages people to come together – something that is opened and shared for birthdays, weddings, big celebrations, first dates, holiday dinners – is super special.”

Vice President of Human Resources Julie Secviar, on leading a multi-faceted field : "Human Resources wears many hats and deals with many diverse situations. No day is the same and I enjoy the diversity of it all; each requires me to be a good juggler and problem solver. Our “family” roots are deep at Far Niente and there is a beautiful commitment to our work held by all. The soul of any company is their employees. I am honored to be the one who helps shepherd the team of individuals who create the actual magic. And, seeing the positive tangible impact on others’ lives is the best part of my job."

Far Niente Foundress Beth Nickel, on growing from one winery to six: "One of the things I’ve always loved about the wine business is that it is quite inclusive and neighborly. In the early days, you could always seek advice and help from your fellow vintners as well as the community at large. And that willingness to share and support is still here today! Gil and I have always cherished our small-town Oklahoma roots because we were raised to welcome and include people, treat one another with respect, encourage growth and develop a strong work ethic. Because we wanted to always maintain the work ethic and family culture that we brought from Oklahoma, we loved that Far Niente started small. We felt like family with every single person on the team. Even as we added Dolce and Nickel & Nickel, followed by EnRoute, Bella Union and now Post & Beam, that feeling of family has stayed true. It’s just that the family is now quite a bit bigger!"

EnRoute Russian River Pinot Noir

From vineyard to table, these are just a few of the women shaping the way we make and share our wines. They're also pretty passionate about uncorking and enjoying our Napa and Russian River Valley bottles themselves! Check out just a few of their favorite wines and ways to enjoy them. Of course, as Beth Nickel says, “Since they’re all my children, I don’t have a favorite. Instead, the wine I open is dictated by the circumstances.”

Our Women in Wine on the Wines They Love:

“The Far Niente hospitality team recently knocked it out of the park during a VIP lunch, with a series of caviar and oyster appetizers. Caviar on potato chips with Far Niente Chardonnay is hard to beat. Dana

“On weeknights, I’m keeping it low-key. I love to pop open a bottle of Bella Union Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to have with pizza, especially if it’s loaded up with mushrooms.” Brooke

“EnRoute Pinot Noir, especially the 'Les Pommiers,' is such a versatile wine as well as a crowd pleaser. It appeals to a lot of different palates and it’s a pleasure on its own or with a variety of menus, from salmon to pork to pasta.” Nicole

"My family has been growing Pinot Noir for more than 40 years, so I have a big soft spot for EnRoute. For our family 'Latkefest' each Hanukkah, there are usually 30+ guests, a hundred pounds of potatoes, ten frying pans and lots of teamwork. We usually serve the latkes with braised brisket, onions, garlic and carrots and then fill our glasses with one of our EnRoute Single-Vineyard Pinot Noirs. Right now, my single-vineyard pick is Northern Spy." - Vida

"As the days stay lighter a bit longer, I treasure the ability to relax outside after work and grab the last rays of sunshine, often while enjoying a lovely glass of Nickel & Nickel’s Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. Add a plate of grilled prawns and it’s the perfect toast to a day well lived." - Julie

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Women in Wine

Meet Six Women Shaping the Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards.

Two winemakers. One CFO. Two VPs. And the woman who helped launch Far Niente more than 40 years ago. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we sat down to talk with just a few of the women shaping the way we grow, make, sell and share our wines. From the cellar to the board room, these daring innovators and leaders share a passion for human connection and a sense of adventure.

LEARN MORE

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