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Napa Valley Inside Out
32 minutes | May 29, 2019
Meet Rob McMillan, EVP and Founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley Part Two.
On this episode of Napa Valley Inside Out, I’m back for Part Two of my interview with Rob McMillan, EVP and Founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley. His Division is regarded as the leading provider of financial services to the US Fine Wine Business. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed ‘Annual State of the Wine Industry Report”. We talk about the threats and solutions to the long term continued success of Napa’s wine industry – finding ways to market wine to both baby boomers and younger people, and the necessity to provide different generational experiences in tasting rooms. On the issue of value, Rob tells us that imported wines represented roughly 13% of total US wine sales in the late 90’s and today that number is roughly 33-38%. He believes the top brands will continue to be successful and won’t be affected by imports, but the next level down, where the brands are not as established but still expensive will need to work harder to maintain market share. We went on to talk about the M & A cycle slowing down significantly in 2019 as many of the major buyers continue to digest earlier acquisitions and execute on new brand strategies. We finish our discussion talking about private equity investing in the industry, and Rob’s forecast for Napa’s wine industry for the next 10 or 20 years.
31 minutes | May 20, 2019
Meet Rob McMillan, EVP and Founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley
Meet Rob McMillan, EVP and Founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley. His Division is regarded as the leading provider of financial services to the US Fine Wine Business. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed ‘Annual State of the Wine Industry Report”, and on this episode of “Napa Valley Inside Out” we talk about how baby boomers, millennials, cannabis and much more, play into his 2019 forecast for the wine business. This surprising conversation begins by noting a decrease in the volume of wine sales for the first time since 1993, and dives into the potential reasons behind it – from anti-health messaging and baby boomers retiring, to younger people drinking beer and spirits, high rates of debt and unemployment, thus different values and an indulgence gap. We end part one of our conversation talking about Constellation Brands, Inc. – the second largest wine company in the United States, investing $4B in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corporation, the largest cannabis producer in the world. Keep an out next week for Part Two of our interview on the State of the Wine Industry.
33 minutes | May 8, 2019
Meet Sonia Tolbert, Chief Operating Officer of Festival Napa Valley
On this week’s episode of Napa Valley Inside Out, I sit down with Sonia Tolbert, Chief Operating Officer of Festival Napa Valley, one of the country’s premier summer destination Festivals, and one of the largest cultural institutions in Napa Valley. Sonia tells us about the extraordinary Board of Directors and sponsors that have greatly contributed to the Festival becoming the largest private funder of arts education in Napa Valley. We share our memories of some of the many highlights from the Festival's previous years, including: Carlo Ponte’s orchestral tribute to his mother Sophia Loren in the grounds of Far Niente winery. Followed by Whoopie Goldberg, Robert Redford and Frances Ford Coppola sharing their stories of how she influenced their lives and careers. Henry Mancini’s daughter, Monica, and Dave Koz performing at the tribute to Margrit Mondavi, once again at Far Niente winery, where Sophia Loren returned to be by her side as we celebrated her extraordinary life. Kristin Chenoweth singing with local high school students on stage at the Arts for Gala event at Hall Winery. We talked about the Bouchaine Young Artist Series, the tuition-free Blackburn Music Academy, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem’s Vocal Arts Series, Sunday at the Symphony, and much more. Seal is one of the headliners so be sure check out the calendar for the many outstanding performances, luncheons, and dinners in spectacular settings. Tickets are now on sale to this year’s Festival Napa Valley. Sending a special thank you to the many generous sponsors - Mercedez Benz, Bouchaine Winery, the San Francisco Chronicle and First Republic to name a few.
33 minutes | Nov 20, 2018
Meet Mark Harmon, Founder of Auberge Resorts Collection
Meet Mark Harmon, Founder of Auberge Resorts Collection which has resorts in the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, the West Indies, Nicaragua, Greece and Napa Valley. His father, Bob Harmon, and his partner Claude Rouas were the Founders of the world famous Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Napa Valley, which started out as a restaurant in 1981. Mark shares the history of how that partnership evolved and how their highly successful restaurant led to the food scene that Napa Valley is famous for today. We hear about his family’s long and illustrious history in hospitality in Napa Valley. Mark tells us about his journey from lawyer to resort developer/owner, what he loves about the creative design process, hospitality and resort management. We talk about his enthusiasm for Calistoga, which began in the 90’s when he was knee deep in concept development and design for Calistoga Ranch and the development of Solage. You won’t want to miss Marks stories - from his first memories of Napa Valley, to the fun and adventurous life he has enjoyed in the valley along with his many contributions to our superb lifestyle here. And we get a little insight into what he is thinking he would love to do next.
29 minutes | Nov 14, 2018
Meet Greg Flynn, Owner of Carneros Resort & Spa & Solage
If you want to hear about all the changes at Solage in Calistoga & Carneros Resort & Spa in Napa, tune into this week’s ‘Napa Valley Inside Out” as Greg Flynn, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Flynn Properties & Flynn Restaurant Group gives us an update on all the new exciting changes at these two luxury resorts in Napa Valley. To say that Greg Flynn is a success would be an understatement. He has 3 university degrees, a restaurant group that is the largest franchise operator in the US with 40,000 employees in 30 states and $1.9B in sales, and ownership in 4 resorts in Napa Valley, Telluride and Mexico, not to mention an enviable commercial real estate portfolio and a very long list of highly coveted Awards. Greg tells us about the luxury resorts he has invested in and how he got into the resort business through a small ownership years ago in Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. We discuss the secrets of success in the hospitality industry and of course the new 5 star hotels that will open in Calistoga in the next few years and how wonderful they will be for the north end of Napa Valley.
32 minutes | Nov 7, 2018
Meet Jean-Noel Fourmeaux, Owner of VGS Chateau Potelle
If you’re thinking about getting into the wine business be sure to watch this week’s “Napa Valley Inside Out” with Jean-Noel Fourmeaux, Founder and Owner of VGS Chateau Potelle. He was sent to Napa Valley in 1980 by the French Government to be a ‘spy’ for 6 months, following the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, also known as the “Judgement of Paris” - a landmark event that put the California wine industry and Napa Valley on the map. He was attracted to the spirit of innovation in Napa Valley and decided to stay. Jean-Noel shares his experiences in the wine business, his challenges along the way, his advice for anyone wanting to get into the business and how he has successfully built a boutique brand through all the ups and downs. He shares his surprise and excitement at the 2018 Auction Napa Valley Barrel Tasting when his latest wine ‘Fourmeaux 2016 Red Blend’ made history. His 10-case lot sold for $114,300, $11,430 per case and $952.50 per bottle. VGS Chateau Potelle set the record for the highest barrel price ever paid in the Auction’s 38 year history, surpassing the previous record by more than $40,000. You will learn about the annual trips he takes his clients on to Bordeaux, Burgundy and South Africa and the amazing experiences they enjoy with him as their host. He tells us why he prefers hillside grapes to valley floor grapes and gives us a peek inside the VGS Tasting House & Garden hospitality experience in St. Helena.
31 minutes | Oct 30, 2018
Meet Joel Dickerson, Founder of Madrone Engineering in St. Helena
Before you build on property in the Napa Valley, particularly off the valley floor, you need to watch this week's "Napa Valley Inside Out" with my guest Joel Dickerson of Madrone Engineering. Joel is a Civil Engineer and we talk about his experiences with helping home owners in the aftermath of the October Wild Fires, Napa County’s building rules and regulations, residential permitting challenges, county zoning, the difference between standard and engineered septic systems, the many setbacks from wells, septic systems, creeks and pools to name a few. We talk about the challenges with the new road and driveway standards and the requirement for turns out and fire truck access, and we offer a little advice on power lines and tips to consider when developing a property to make your asset more appealing to insurance companies who are currently more discerning when it comes to choosing which properties they want to insure.
31 minutes | Oct 24, 2018
Meet Scott Goldie, Co-owner of The Napa Valley Wine Train
This week's "Napa Valley Inside Out" guest is Scott Goldie, co-owner of The Napa Valley Wine Train. Scott has over 30 years experience in real estate development and investment business experience. He and his partner Greg Brun and Noble House Hotels purchased the Napa Valley Wine Train and the 17 pieces of real estate that came with it in 2015. We talk about the partnerships they have with businesses in the community that have contributed to their success, their plans for a new hotel, restoring the historic Rutherford Train Station, all the fabulous tours you can take on the train, the Rail Arts District and much more.
31 minutes | Oct 17, 2018
Meet Emma Steele, Senior Marketing Manager at the Napa Valley Film Festival
Filmmakers and celebrities alike flock to the annual Napa Valley Film Festival, a celebration of film, food and wine, happening November 7- 11, 2018. Senior Marketing Manager Emma Steele joins me on "Napa Valley Inside Out" to talk about the Festival, which celebrities will be in attendance, a summary of some of the movies, current trends in the industry and how technology has changed the landscape. We talk about how they choose the 100 movies that will be shown during the Festival, the opportunities to meet the 300 filmmakers that will be in attendance and all the fabulous wine and food events, including the Festival Gala and Awards Ceremony. Emma walks us through the role of independent filmmakers, what it takes to be accepted into a film festival and how to find a voice within the space.
33 minutes | Oct 10, 2018
Meet Robin Daniel Lail, Founder and Owner of Lail Vineyards - Part 2
Robin Daniel Lail, Grande Dame of Napa Valley, returns to “Napa Valley Inside Out” for Part 2 of our interview. We dive into the sale of her family’s winery ‘Inglenook’, where she grew up which is now owned by Francis Ford Coppola, her extraordinary journey in the wine business from working with Robert Mondavi and Bill Harlan to starting her own label “Lail Vineyards’ at the age of 55. Robin shares with us the challenges of starting and owning a wine label and what it takes to be successful in the wine business.
31 minutes | Oct 3, 2018
Meet Robin Daniel Lail, Founder and Owner of Lail Vineyards - Part 1
In this edition of “Napa Valley Inside Out” I sit down with the Grande Dame of Napa Valley, Robin Daniel Lail, Founder and Owner of Lail Vineyards. In Part 1 of our interview Robin shares her family's deep history in the wine business. Our conversation starts with her great-granduncle Gustave Niebaum’s journey from Helsinki to Napa Valley, and his dream to produce “the finest wines which equal and exceed the most famous vintages of Europe”. We talk about his founding of Inglenook Vineyards and Winery in Rutherford in 1879, Prohibition, the transfer of ownership of Inglenook to her father John Daniel in 1936 and the legendary Inglenook wines that he made until his death in 1964, which are still coveted today by connoisseurs. Robin shares the memories of her life growing up at Inglenook and walks us through the history of Inglenook and how her childhood home and surrounding vineyards of nearly 2,000 acres were ultimately acquired by the Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola.
32 minutes | Sep 26, 2018
Meet Bernard Lauper, CEO of MacCorkle Insurance
On this edition of "Napa Valley Inside Out", I sit down with Bernard Lauper, CEO of MacCorkle Insurance, one of the most successful firms in Northern California. Twenty eight clients in his firm suffered losses in the California wildfires. Bernard explained the new ‘hard market’ that we are now in where many of the insurance carriers are not only no longer insuring properties in the wine country and other parts of California, but cancelling policies and not renewing others. We talked about my firsthand experience with this in a recent high end transaction, how to navigate the increases in premiums coming our way and what the future holds for owners. Our discussion covers the best way to choose a carrier to mitigate surprises when you have a claim; steps owners can take when building or rebuilding to have a better chance of gaining insurance with an admitted carrier; and steps to show proof of contents in our homes and much, much more.
29 minutes | Sep 18, 2018
Meet Chris Canning, Mayor of the City of Calistoga
I have the pleasure of sitting down with the Mayor of the City of Calistoga, Chris Canning, on this edition of "Napa Valley Inside Out." Chris has been Mayor since 2012 and before that served as Calistoga City Councilman. We talk about the beauty and uniqueness of Calistoga and how it is now only 28 minutes from touch down to downtown with the expansion of the Charles Schulz Airport in Santa Rosa. We look into the future as Calistoga continues to grow at rapid pace. We discuss the evolution of Calistoga, the impact the new upcoming resorts – Four Seasons & Rosewood Hotels will have on the area and how the City is navigating traffic issues, affordable housing for workers, labor issues and possible solutions to these issues and much more.
31 minutes | Sep 12, 2018
Meet Pete Richmond, Founder of Silverado Farming Company
In this week’s episode of “Napa Valley Inside Out” I sit down with Pete Richmond, Founder of progressive farming company - Silverado Farming. Pete specializes in farming small premium vineyards for high end estate wineries for the likes of Lail Vineyards, Philippe Melka, Opus One, Vineyard 29, Dana Estates, Stags Leap Wine Cellars and Paul Hobbs to name a few. An enlightening conversation about farming practices in the hillsides versus the valley floor, hand farming versus tractor farming, the variations in farming costs depending on the site, the grape varietal, technique, spacing, labor costs and the winemakers goals. We talk about the complexities and costs of planting a new vineyard and the endless hoops you have to jump through to get approvals. If you’re thinking about getting into the wine business or owning your own vineyard, you will be amazed at the behind the scenes efforts and the responsibility that farmers have to deliver on the winemakers brief. Pete is a shining example of an exemplary employer and philanthropist that makes working and living in this valley a privilege.
31 minutes | Sep 5, 2018
Meet Clint St. Martin, United States Marine, Volunteer Firefighter & Adrenaline Junkie
In this week’s edition of “Napa Valley Inside Out” I sit down with Clint St. Martin who truly has a servant’s heart. He joined the Armed Forces Post 9/11 and served in the United States Marine Corps as Motor Transportation Chief and Staff Sergeant at the age of 24. He was called to duty as a volunteer firefighter the night the 2017 October Wildfires broke out and wreaked havoc throughout Napa & Sonoma Counties. Clint is Head Liaison Representative for Sonoma County Devil Pups Youth Organization - this year he was awarded “Liaison Representative of the Year” for being the top performer in the country. We discuss his time in the Marine Corps, his experience in fighting fires with winds up to 70 miles per hour, his training to become a paramedic, fulfilling his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot and one more adrenaline driven jaunt in China to save animals.
31 minutes | Aug 29, 2018
Meet Rick Jones, Philanthropist Extraordinaire and Founder of Jones Family Vineyards
We’re mixing extraordinary passion and heart into this edition of “Napa Valley Inside Out” with my guest Rick Jones, of Jones Family Vineyards. Rick has a most impressive academic and business background that he has parlayed into his admirable philanthropic efforts in many facets of our Community in Napa Valley, to raise the standard of care and lifestyles of all of us who call Napa Valley home. We talk about Ole Health which provides primary medical care for adults and children throughout Napa County, whether they have insurance or not; the exceptional, leading edge surgeons that St. Helena Hospital has been fortunate enough to attract; Napa Learns, technology and project based learning in public schools; and Auction Napa Valley which attracts wine lovers from around the world - raising over $13.6 million for local health and children’s education nonprofits at this year’s event – and Rick has been at the center of all of it.
31 minutes | Aug 22, 2018
Meet Scotti Stark of Stark Advantage
If you need help accessing exceptional VIP experiences in Napa Valley that most people don’t even know exist, then you need to know Scotti Stark. Scotti’s great personality, love and knowledge of extraordinary wines and his amazing connections can be your entrée to a wine country vacation like no other. Scotti joins Napa Valley Inside Out to share how representing his portfolio of boutique wineries has given him access to wine lovers around the country, tips on wine country etiquette, the restaurant scene and how he goes about creating custom itineraries for his clients. He also talks about his wine label Harumph that he makes with Michael DeSantis.
31 minutes | Aug 15, 2018
Susie Heller of Full Plate Media
Top chefs, lavish meals, delicious food photography, sizzling television shows and world travels. Susie Heller of Full Plate Media joins Napa Valley Inside Out to discuss it all and share her amazing journey - from producing all of Julia Child’s television shows to writing Thomas Keller’s cookbooks. We talk about her passion for producing television and cookbooks, as well as the countless top chefs she’s worked with including Jacques Pépin, Jeremiah Tower, Alice Waters and of course Julia Child and Thomas Keller, to name a few.
30 minutes | Aug 7, 2018
Meet Barney Welsh of Forni-Brown Gardens in Calistoga
Barney Welsh of the famed Forni-Brown-Welsh Gardens in Calistoga, Napa Valley, joins this edition of ‘Napa Valley Inside Out’ to tell the story of how this beloved annual plant sale got started and grew to become the go to place in spring for restauranteurs and people from around the country wanting to plant vegetable gardens. Barney shares some of the secrets for keeping a lush and delicious vegetable garden. We discuss different planting and watering methods for the various plants and how to maintain a healthy vegetable garden year after year.
31 minutes | Jul 31, 2018
Meet Oliver Caldwell of Caldwell Snyder Gallery In San Francisco and St. Helena
Oliver Cardwell has been an Art Dealer since 1978. He’s had galleries in New York, Carmel, San Francisco and St. Helena. His clients are well traveled collectors, with access to extraordinary art from all over the world. He talks about the pressure that puts on art dealers to work with the best of the best to meet their expectations and provide art for their homes around the world. He tells us about the challenges of finding good artists and how technology and a shifting economy have changed artists’ outlook and how companies such as Pixar and Lucas Films are pulling artists away from a lonely working environment and providing the security of a job and benefits, thereby creating a shortage of great traditional artists. But for those who’ve stayed the course and been discovered, the art world can be very rewarding. Oliver talks about his band ‘The Fabulous Screwtops’, which I absolutely love and his love of Saint Helena and why he believes it’s so unique and unmatched by other wine country towns. He’s passionate, extremely talented and always coming up with great ideas to make our wonderful town of Saint Helena even better than it already is.
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