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Ross Halleck
 
June 29, 2014 | Ross Halleck

Life as a FULL-TIME vintner!

I have enjoyed all things about being a vintner during the last 15 years. 

Coming from a Silicon Valley career of branding and marketing, however, I was concerned that focusing on only Halleck Vineyard would result in boredom and (God-forbid) drudgery.

The years in early Silicon Valley were almost like a drug. My marketing firm, Halleck, Inc., was privvy to breaking technologies on a weekly basis. Starting with Activision in the 80s during the early days of video games, we developed the branding for 3Com and its introduction of the local area network (LAN) with Bob Metcalf, and went on to work with Apple in the failed world of virtual realities, IntelliCorp in artificial intelligence, Netscape (the first commercial browser), Neuropace (the first implantable device for treatment of epilepsy), and literally a thousand other companies attempting to break through with disruptive technologies for over two decades. 

Silicon Valley was and is a culture of egos and thought leadership.  I felt privileged to participate and "earn my chops" by assisting these leaders to communicate, compelling engagement and desire for their products or services. They were heady times for a young man in the asendency of his career. I loved the ride and resonated with the competitive and aggressive world. 

When I moved to Sebastopol in 1991, I commuted for 10 years back and forth to Palo Alto. Jennifer and I planted the vineyard in 1993. Connor was born that year, guiding us to estabish the vineyard as a college fund.

During these decades, I have kept my hand loosley on the pulse of Silicon Valley through friends, colleagues, and my consulting gigs that kept Halleck Vineyard afloat. Basically an ADHD candidate, I thrived on the varied texture and the complexity of keeping a lot of balls in the air.

As you may have read, as of January of this year, I have devoted my energies to Halleck Vineyard full time. Jennifer and I are growing the winery. We have assembled a stellar Board of Advisors/Directors, all leaders themselves. They have assisted in developing financial models, personal introductions, navigating the complex legal and financial world of raising money, and coaching toward success. I created a comprehensive marketing plan and business plan for the next 5 years. Jennifer and I worked together to populate the financial model with real numbers based on years of experience. These have been vetted by banks and accountants. And we have raised capital.

These past 6 months have been an education unlike any while serving companies in Silicon Valley. Although I sat on the sidelines and watched many clients raise A-D rounds of venture capital, achieve multiple rounds of financing or go public, it was only vicariously that I knew what was going on. I sat on the Advisory Board of a respected Venture Capital firm, posing as if I understood the business. Fortunately, they only asked me marketing advice.

So today, I marvel at my ignorance and naivete. Far from being bored with the chores of managing a vineyard, winemaking, marketing, sales, finance, business strategy, hospitality and travel, I am overwhelmed by all there is to do and the little time there is to do it. Every fiber of my ADHD is maxed out and I am a happy camper. 

Most importantly, there is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than sharing this magical place, Halleck Vineyard, with you.

Please plan a visit.

It is what drives the unremitting passion that Jennifer and I share in making wine: community and gratitude.

 

 

 

Comments

Mark Wegner's Gravatar
 
Mark Wegner
@ Jul 3, 2014 at 6:51 AM
Very entertaining short essay and fun reading about those 'heady days' in 'da valley, particularly via your perspective. And damn, good thing we were younger then. Some of those tech companies really were 'driving us like a buggy', as you'd used to say!

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