As a salute to veterans today, we are pleased to repost this Q & A with one of our clients, Brice Jones of Emeritus Vineyards. He had a distinguished career as an Air Force pilot and if you ever have the luck to meet him at the winery, ask him the story about the speeding ticket in Georgia he received from a bored police office and how his military training played a role many years later in the same small town. It's a hoot. In all seriousness, as a military brat myself, I know how much serving in the military as active duty or dependents as we were called, helps foster a sense of integrity, duty and service no matter where you are in life. Please enjoy this fun interview with one of the wine business' true soaring pioneers.
Kimberly Charles, Founder & President Charles Communications Associates
Brice Jones suffers no fools. In our meetings with him we always get straight to the point, often using military terminology wherever possible. He’s a wonderful storyteller and we’re always inspired by his big, curious brain, his philanthropic commitment to fellow war veterans (Brice served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam) and his courageous spirit of innovation – especially with regards to his unprecedented commitment to dry farming in the Russian River Valley. When it comes down to it, there’s nobody quite like Brice Jones.
Charles Communications Associates: As a child, you collected…
Brice Jones: from the customers on my paper routes.
CCA: Name a book that has had the most impact on your life?
BJ: Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive, 1967;
#2: David Stockman, The Great Deformation, recent
CCA: Recall the biggest and best mistake you ever made and what you learned from it.
BJ: Divorce. Learned that most disputes—especially divorce—have two mostly legitimate sides. The bigger the issues, the more legit they seem to be. Failure to empathize probably is what causes the rifts to become irreparable.
CCA: Cabin in the woods or penthouse in the city and why?
BJ: Good grief; I’d go stark raving mad in a cabin in the woods. Love the energy and diversity of activities of the City.
CCA: What do you think about a future with driverless cars?
BJ: Hopeless: under the speed limit, right–hand lane, no passing big trucks near the limit, no four–wheel drifts around turns. Who’s the back–seater gonna yell at?
CCA: In 10 years how do you predict technology will change winemaking?
BJ: Not much. We can make Chardonnay in a lab now. Some seem to be.
CCA: Bacon or sausage?
BJ: Decision making takes effort. This one is not one of life’s more important issues; who cares?
CCA: Most memorable bottle of wine you made?
BJ: First of all, God makes the wine. As for the best wine I ever produced, well, of course, the one we have currently for sale. But truth be told, in the 35+ years I’ve been producing wines, the most fantastic I’ve ever produced that has so far been released, Hands Down, is the 2013 Emeritus Pinot Hill (a new vineyard for us), and our first bottling of it, to be released in September. Unbelievable. Gotta believe the other 13’s are also gangbusters, and the 14’s and 15’s even better. As a result of dry farming, the roots just keep going down, down, down and the wines just keep getting better and better.
CCA: If you weren't a winemaker, what career path might you have followed?
BJ: Not a winemaker. If I hadn’t gotten into the vineyard biz, I guess I woulda been lead guitar in a C/W band in Memphis.
CCA: Name one thing every person should try at least once.
BJ: Easy: upside down through the hangar at 500 knots.
All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.