Recently I sat down with Kelley Styring for an interview for an upcoming ABC Wine Journal article, but there was just too much good stuff for one article, so here is a preview of that interview that is all about their hand-crafted wines, their winery, their family and the wine label’s crest. Steven is the winemaker and winery manager while Kelley covers sales and marketing. Their two kids have helped throughout their 13 years at the winery and Molly, their dog, is the unofficial brand ambassador.
DE- You said there wasn’t really one bottle that was your winey epiphany, though your college trip to France certainly started you on that path, and transformed your perspective.
KS- Yes, I can’t really remember any one specific bottle on that trip, but as a couple we took a vacation to Napa, which was my first time visiting a winery and doing a wine tasting, and we went to Joseph Phelps and we tasted Insignia and I do think that rocks your world. We also tasted the dessert wine, which began my love for those. We purchased the Insignia, it was probably 1990, I think, and we purchased an ’84 and it’s still in my cellar.
DE- Wow. I’m impressed with your forbearance.
KS- Well, you know it’s funny, how in the world can you have a 30th Wedding Anniversary and give birth twice and not think those were significant enough occasions to open a bottle of wine? I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
DE- You’re still building.
KS- I guess. I must think there’s something to come. The only other thing that might interest you, I don’t know, but a lot of our visitors are interested in Steve’s heritage. So he’s a Viking, via England. So if you are familiar with the History Channel show, and the characters, Ragnar Lothbrok is Steve’s direct male ancestor on his family tree. I know, it’s crazy, I married an actual Viking. He told me he was an Englishman, and his family emigrated to the U.S. in the 1950’s. His ancestors held from York to Sheffield in England until the fall of Richard the Third in 1325. And so the crest on our label is his original family crest that dates to the year 1100, but the icons on it are Viking icons. You can see some details, they were archers in the English Army, so you can see the arrows at the top. You can see the bat, which is about powers of darkness and chaos, so that’s a very Viking symbol. And so it is an actual crest, and it has historic meanings and we have a couple of displays at the winery so people can see and read about it when they visit, and so some people just come out to talk about family history, some people come to just meet the dog, Molly, the wine dog, and some people come to actually taste wine. We love our visitors. We really enjoy it. It’s always different and people always have a unique story and we enjoy what we do and like sharing it.
DE- Well you mentioned the kids and the dog, so that about covers it all.
KS- Yes, Molly the wine dog, she is our “spokesdog,” she’s getting a little older now but Molly is in the Wine Dogs book and has been featured in the calendar for many years. She’s on Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff, she’s really the face of the winery in a lot of ways with customers, on line anyway, cause social media kinda works that way. People love a dog!
Dan Eddy, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Follow me on Twitter @abcwineDanE