AUGUST 2014 ;e Costco Connection 63
Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven
Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Horse
Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley,
Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch
Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco,
Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc,
Napa Valley, California
J Vineyards Pinot Gris, California
You’ll ;nd these ;ne wines from
the wineries featured here at select
After graduating from Stanford University,
Wente knew she wanted to be in the family
business. She gained additional business
skills and experience in other venues, then
returned to the winery to join her brothers.
She started in sales and marketing, then
became president, and is now the CEO.
In the 1980s she was one of the few women
making sales calls in the wine industry.
However, Wente explains, “My parents raised
me to believe there was no difference between
girls and boys in terms of what one could
accomplish.” Her focus was to work hard and
continue to grow the family’s wine brand.
Wente Vineyards is not just a winery—it
is a destination with a first-rate restaurant
(reflecting Wente’s passion for food), summer concerts and an 18-hole championship
golf course that is beautifully carved throughout the vineyards.
Wente is most proud to be part of a fifth-generation family business that is committed
to its core values and vision, with a goal to be
one of the most well-respected family-owned
wineries in the world. There is no question in
my mind: The Wentes have accomplished
what they set out to do.
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Wendy Stuckey grew up on a farm in
South Australia. She gave up a career in the
medical field and jumped in head first to
achieve a winemaking degree. Her interest
started at a young age (legal drinking age in
Australia is 18), as her parents would visit
local wineries and bring home cases of riesling and cabernet sauvignon.
Upon graduation, Stuckey landed an
assistant winemaker position, producing
everything from still and sparkling wine to
brandy. This provided a great foundation in
the wine industry. She recalls an interesting
conversation with a well-known winemaker
who, in her words, suggested, “Being a female
in the industry would not be easy, as winemaking is for men.” She thought long and
hard about this comment and chose to forge
ahead with her dream.
She made the right decision, as she
became a successful and respected maker of
white wines in Australia. In 2007, she moved
to Washington state to join Ste. Michelle
Wine Estates as the white-wine maker, giving
her the opportunity to produce a wide range
of white wines. She has the most passion for
the riesling grape varietal and is able to create
different styles that were not possible for her
to achieve in Australia.
Stuckey is most proud when people she
has never met express how much they have
enjoyed her wines. Her winemaking philosophy: Enjoy the challenges that go with the
job, and experiment to improve and create
wines with your own signature.
One day she would like to try her hand at
making pinot noir. I know she will put the
same drive and passion into producing a red
wine as she does her whites.
Director of winemaking
Robert Mondavi Winery
Born into a French family with vineyards,
Geneviève Janssens received her formal
training in the wine world at the University
of Bordeaux, where she studied under the
legendary French enologist Émile Peynaud.
After receiving her degree, Janssens managed
the family vineyards for a few years, while
operating her own enology laboratory.
Intrigued by Robert Mondavi’s philosophy in winemaking and winegrowing, she
traveled to California’s Napa Valley to visit
the winery. Three months later she landed a
job in the laboratory.
As a woman in the winemaking profession, Janssens tells me, she has “always been
lucky to work with other winemakers and
mentors that appreciated [her] dedication
and passion.” Under the tutelage of Mondavi,
the godfather of California wine, she has
been able to understand the region, what the
terroir offers and the vines, and develop the
ability to listen to the growing season. She
works with her team to adapt each vintage to
be the best.
Janssens loves that winemaking is a part
of the cycle of nature. Every year is different,
and challenging. “There is beauty in the lifestyle, to walk the vineyards, blend the wines
and work with the team to share a vision to
make wines that stand in the company of the
world’s greatest,” she says.
Her long-term goal is to make certain
Mondavi’s vision is passed on to a new generation, while continuing to make beautiful
wines. The years of dedication to quality
wine have made Janssens a legend as well:
Those under her guidance are lucky to have
her as their mentor. C
Annette Alvarez-Peters oversees Costco’s beer,
wine and spirits program.
In our digital editions
Click here to see an interview
with Wendy Stuckey.
(See page 12 for details.)