Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Joe Ginet: In 1972, while I was alternating as a student at UC Davis and working on the Alaskan pipeline, I took a quarter off and went to Europe. With back pack and Eurail pass, I explored Scandinavia, Europe, Northern Africa and Greece. In Europe, I eventually visited the village in Savoie France where my family came from and saw what they were doing with the vineyards. Since the beer in Europe in those days was unrefrigerated, I had already started exploring the wines of the area. My passion for wine was born then.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
JG: I was a Pre-Vet student at UC Davis and graduated with a BS in Animal Science, minor in Chemistry in 1974. I was not accepted into Vet school on my first application so I returned to Alaska where I was captured for the next several years. In 1976, I purchased my first farm, small but a start. Bankers in Southern Oregon at that time didn’t understand the wine industry so were reluctant to loan money for a winery operation, but if I wanted to milk cows how many hundred thousand would I need to start a dairy? In 1979, my wife Suzi and I purchased our current ranch and ran a 250 cow dairy for 30 years. In 1998, my cousins from Savoie visited and were looking to invest in a U.S. business so they could get a green card to come and go as they liked. Together with them we started a grapevine nursery and started selling grafted vines in 2000. In 2004, we sold the milk cows and started the organic beef herd as we eased into the wine business.
How has being in the wine industry changed you?
JG: Becoming a winemaker and growing grapes was relatively easy for us but marketing and the selling of the wine has been a new experience for us both.
What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
JG: Besides the grape growing and winemaking, meeting and getting to know other wine industry members and all the avid consumers has been fun. People come to the tasting room to have fun and relax from their busy schedules so we see the best side of most people.
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
JG: I must say it is family history! Plus, I have discovered that I have an inherited gift for winemaking. “It’s in my blood.”