Kelley Dyer

“I feel like I've been running a marathon; the drought is a slow moving emergency--you don't know when it's going to end."

--Kelley Dyer, Water Manager

Erik and Hans Gregersen

“I feel people will adapt to the changes taking place. Hirschman’s principle of the ‘Hiding Hand’ applies here: We tend to underestimate the emerging issues, but we also underestimate our ability to resolve the issues. ”
— Hans Gregersen
Erik and Hans Gregersen, Mixed Media Triptych, 24x42

Erik and Hans Gregersen, Mixed Media Triptych, 24x42

Originally from Denmark, Jens Gregersen was one of Solvang’s founders. As a pastor, he helped to establish the town’s first Lutheran Church. Little did he know that his American grandsons would return to Denmark as children, travel the globe for work, and finally settle on the family ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. 

Brothers Erik and Hans Gregersen always knew that they would someday return to the valley. Having worked around the world, Hans reflects, “The Santa Ynez Valley is the best place to live; the people here are wonderful and the scenery is gorgeous.” 

 

EARLY LIFE AND CAREERS

Their father was a petroleum geologist who was involved in the discovery of the Cuyama oil fields. Their mother was one of the first women to obtain a Ph.D. at Yale, and later worked as a librarian at the Huntington Library. Immediately after World War II ended, Gulf Oil was looking for a U.S. trained geologist to manage its oil and gas exploration program in Scandinavia. Their father was picked to do this job and they moved to Denmark in August, 1945. As schoolchildren in Denmark, Erik and Hans became fluent in Danish and enjoyed Danish holiday traditions, food and music. This was the beginning of their global perspective. Living in a country recovering from the ravages of WWII gave them a unique experience, not only to appreciate their American heritage but to continue to grow as universal citizens. After returning to the U.S. for high school and college, they each embarked on careers that took them abroad again. 

Erik studied engineering and business, earning an MBA from Harvard. He spent 15 years in various management assignments with  FMC Corporation, which specialized in commercial machinery related to the food and agricultural industries. He worked in the U.S., England, and South Africa. With this background, he and a friend from England started a produce labeling business after acquiring manufacturing and marketing rights to the patented labeling system that was invented in Ventura. “We had 85% of the market worldwide.” After a 30 year career in the food and agricultural machinery industry, he chose to return to the family ranch in 1997.

Younger brother, Hans, studied forestry, social sciences, and economics, earning a Ph.D. in Economics of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan. While still in graduate school, he began working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. As a professor at the University of Minnesota, he developed a program in international natural resources policy and continued lifelong work with the UN, the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and many other international groups. After early retirement from the Universityin 2000, he served on the Science Council and headed the impact assessment Unit of the World Bank-chaired Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).   “The CGIAR is a major entity that does agricultural and natural resources research to benefit the less developed countries and the poor around the world. It has centers all over the world.  I visited and worked with all of them, including centers in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Syria, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and other countries. The centers have made and continue to make major contributions to global agriculture, food security and natural resources management and conservation.”  Erik and Hans exemplify what it means to be global citizens. “You learn how to deal with different kinds of people, with different languages, cultures and customs,” observes Hans. 

Reflections on the Santa Ynez Valley 

Changes in recent decades include growth of the wine industry and commercial development by the Chumash tribe. Hans reflects, “There were no vineyards in the early days; cattle ranches are less common now and the cost of land is high. Normal young people can’t afford to purchase land here anymore.” 

The Gregersen brothers retired from their highly successful careers and moved with their wives to Solvang where they enjoy their families and grandchildren who live both locally and farther afield. It is interesting to note that both of these men made their careers in agriculture and land management. These are the same motivators that brought a large group of immigrants from Denmark to the U.S. and eventually Solvang. Although their career paths deal with agriculture and land management at the international level, land is still a resource that plays a significant role in their lives today. Their respective industries (agriculture and land management) have new millennial challenges. The cost of land and availability of water threaten agriculture as development outpaces the economic return from growing food and availability of water.

Erik and Hans have a “world” of experience between them and continue to use their knowledge both in service of their immediate community and the global community. They are heavily involved with improving the quality of life locally and globally.  Today, Erik runs the ranch and is involved with non-profits, including the Elverhoj Museum, “I’m passionate about preserving the history of the Danish community.” He is also active with The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the California Rangeland Trust. “Our grandparents had 2200 acres, cattle and also beans and barely. When they passed, there were too many heirs and taxes soour parents’ generation was forced to sell. If we had the ability [at that time] to put a conservation easement on it we could have kept it together. That’s what The Land Trust allows.”

Hans continues to work with various groups on deforestation and global forest policies, and is currently working on global forestry contributions to the new UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. When asked about the challenges facing the Santa Ynez Valley, Hans reflects, “I feel people will adapt to the changes taking place. Hirschman’s principle of the ‘Hiding Hand’ applies here:  We tend to underestimate the emerging issues, but we also underestimate our ability to resolve the issues.  ”

 

By Katherine Bradford

 

Richard and Thekla Sanford

Sometimes,  you need a "do over".  Richard and Thekla were so early in the project that we did not have a professional videographer.  So we came back and got to meet with Richard and Thekla Sanford, and their daughter Blakeney in their new Alma Rosa Tasting Room and on the old Rancho Jabili.-

See below for the new video.

History of Wine        

Wine has an ancient history, with a long cast of characters including the Roman God Bacchus, best known for his Bacchanalia festival. In our own California history, Father Junipero Serra planted our first sustained vineyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano two hundred years ago.  One hundred years after that, Jean-Louis Vines was the largest wine producer in Los Angeles and his peer, Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian soldier, promoted vine planting over much of Northern California, including Sonoma Valley. All of these men were immigrant adventurers, each fulfilling their own quest.

          I think there is something in our genetic code or our own Manifest Destiny that has brought all of us here to the Central Coast. Either, within ourselves, or in the temperament of our fore fathers, we are adventurers, free thinkers and/or entrepreneurs. These are all common traits you find in gold miners, immigrants and hippies, all of which have made up our collective California culture.

   Let me focus on a very specific time in our state’s history. In 1965 Berkley was the home to Flower Power, people wore Birkenstocks and marched for civil rights. Meanwhile our nation was in the midst of the Vietnam war which left our country questioning the establishment and authority. These two countercultures converged to shape the next century. Imagine graduating as a Geography student at UC Berkeley in 1965 and then suddenly be drafted into the Vietnam War for the next 3 years. This was Richard Sanford ‘s reality.  After his service as a naval officer, Richard wanted to work with the land and felt agriculture would help him reconnect with his former life.  He had been introduced to a Burgundy wine during his time with the military and thought, “Out of all different agricultural products, why not grapes?” Combining his knowledge of geography, he began to study our climate records for the last 100 years and compare them to the Burgundy region of France.  It was here he discovered our transverse mountain range created the perfect environment for the Pinot Noir grape.

            This history only underscores Richard Sanford’s adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit.  With incredible insight, the birth of our central coast wine country was established in 1970 when he planted the first Pinot Noir vines in what is now the Santa Rita Hills.  California is now the 4th largest wine producer in the world and garners a $61.5 BILLION impact in our state economy.

            Meanwhile, the other half of this story, was moving west. Thekla Brumder, a nice girl from Wisconsin, had spent her childhood outdoors, in tune with nature and investigating the wonders of her grandparents’ dairy farm. As a young adult, she stopped off at the University of Arizona to pick up a BA in Art History and a few minors in Spanish and Italian. She then spent her 20‘s in the Colorado Rockies before moving to Santa Barbara.

            Fast forward to 1976. This is when Richard and Thekla, meet on a sailing adventure in Santa Barbara. In the same year, there is a blind wine tasting in Paris with a panel made up exclusively of French wine experts. Six out of the 9 judges ranked California wines as the best in the world.  Two years later, Thekla and Richard marry in 1978 and start Sanford Winery by 1981. Together, they have produced award-winning wines for over 30 years. Their latest venture is

Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

 Using their life’s experience, they have created a business that produces high quality wines.  It also is the benchmark for organic, sustainable farming and is environmentally responsible to the land, it’s employees and customers.

And it is here ,on their home ranch, Rancho El Jabali, that the Sanfords were sharing their mutual life story in a lovely room designed by Richard and built sustainably from bales of hay and stucco. Thekla humorously recollects about how Richard stuck a thermometer out of the window while driving his car through the Santa Ynez Valley in order to measure the temperature on this hillside or on top of that range. This was to find the perfect location for the first vineyard.  Likewise, Richard gives Thekla all the credit for starting their organic farming practices, an offshoot of their family vegetable garden.  The El Jabali Vineyard was the first OCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) certified vineyard in Santa Barbara County.

While the fire crackles in the fireplace and radiates its warmth throughout the room, I observe a couple who have shared a common goal throughout a life that has been filled with hard work, successes and challenges.  They have a thoughtfulness about their legacy and future.  Their efforts and business enterprise reflect what is important to them and what they stand for.  

Remember at the beginning of this story, I talked about the spirits of adventure, free thinking and entrepreneurship. These common attributes are what make this couple so dynamic and forerunners in both winemaking and conservation.  They both share a love of the land and this has been the foundation in their success as vintners and conservationists. While Richard brought his understanding of the land and agriculture to winemaking, Thekla brought her love of nature and community. The arc of their commitment starts with organic farming and sustainable agriculture and includes ecological packaging, green building, wildlife protection and culminates in the slow food movement, which addresses the quality of the food we eat, where it comes from and how this affects the world.  They were even honored by the Environmental Defense Center as Environmental Heroes. Most recently, they recieved the inaugural Sanford Award for Sustainable Stewardship from the Edible Communities. All the while, they make award winning wine!  And Richard Sanford was just added to the Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America.

Their incredible commitment to our environment while operating an enlightened enterprise is just the beginning of their contribution.  I always find their support and sponsorship at so many of our non profit events.  They have consistently made one good decision after another to operate with integrity, be good stewards of the land, and serve humanity.  Cheers!

By Holli Harmon

Erik and Hans Gregersen

Solvang's Founding Family

“The Santa Ynez Valley is the best place to live; the people here are wonderful and the scenery is gorgeous.”  Hans Gregersen
Erik and Hans Gregersen, Mixed Media Triptych, 24x42

Erik and Hans Gregersen, Mixed Media Triptych, 24x42

 

Originally from Denmark, Jens Gregersen was one of Solvang’s founders. As a pastor, he helped to establish the town’s first Lutheran Church. Little did he know that his American grandsons would return to Denmark as children, travel the globe for work, and finally settle on the family ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. 

Brothers Erik and Hans Gregersen always knew that they would someday return to the valley. Having worked around the world, Hans reflects, “The Santa Ynez Valley is the best place to live; the people here are wonderful and the scenery is gorgeous.” 

Early life and careers

Their father was a petroleum geologist who was involved in the discovery of the Cuyama oil fields. Their mother was one of the first women to obtain a Ph.D. at Yale, and later worked as a librarian at the Huntington Library. Immediately after World War II ended, Gulf Oil was looking for a U.S. trained geologist to manage its oil and gas exploration program in Scandinavia. Their father was picked to do this job and they moved to Denmark in August, 1945. As schoolchildren in Denmark, Erik and Hans became fluent in Danish and enjoyed Danish holiday traditions, food and music. This was the beginning of their global perspective. Living in a country recovering from the ravages of WWII gave them a unique experience, not only to appreciate their American heritage but to continue to grow as universal citizens. After returning to the U.S. for high school and college, they each embarked on careers that took them abroad again. 

Erik studied engineering and business, earning an MBA from Harvard. He spent 15 years in various management assignments with  FMC Corporation, which specialized in commercial machinery related to the food and agricultural industries. He worked in the U.S., England, and South Africa. With this background, he and a friend from England started a produce labeling business after acquiring manufacturing and marketing rights to the patented labeling system that was invented in Ventura. “We had 85% of the market worldwide.” After a 30 year career in the food and agricultural machinery industry, he chose to return to the family ranch in 1997.

 

Younger brother, Hans, studied forestry, social sciences, and economics, earning a Ph.D. in Economics of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan. While still in graduate school, he began working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. As a professor at the University of Minnesota, he developed a program in international natural resources policy and continued lifelong work with the UN, the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and many other international groups. After early retirement from the Universityin 2000, he served on the Science Council and headed the impact assessment Unit of the World Bank-chaired Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).   “The CGIAR is a major entity that does agricultural and natural resources research to benefit the less developed countries and the poor around the world. It has centers all over the world.  I visited and worked with all of them, including centers in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Syria, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and other countries. The centers have made and continue to make major contributions to global agriculture, food security and natural resources management and conservation.”  Erik and Hans exemplify what it means to be global citizens. “You learn how to deal with different kinds of people, with different languages, cultures and customs,” observes Hans. 

Reflections on the Santa Ynez Valley 

Changes in recent decades include growth of the wine industry and commercial development by the Chumash tribe. Hans reflects, “There were no vineyards in the early days; cattle ranches are less common now and the cost of land is high. Normal young people can’t afford to purchase land here anymore.” 

The Gregersen brothers retired from their highly successful careers and moved with their wives to Solvang where they enjoy their families and grandchildren who live both locally and farther afield. It is interesting to note that both of these men made their careers in agriculture and land management. These are the same motivators that brought a large group of immigrants from Denmark to the U.S. and eventually Solvang. Although their career paths deal with agriculture and land management at the international level, land is still a resource that plays a significant role in their lives today. Their respective industries (agriculture and land management) have new millennial challenges. The cost of land and availability of water threaten agriculture as development outpaces the economic return from growing food and availability of water.

Erik and Hans have a “world” of experience between them and continue to use their knowledge both in service of their immediate community and the global community. They are heavily involved with improving the quality of life locally and globally.  Today, Erik runs the ranch and is involved with non-profits, including the Elverhoj Museum, “I’m passionate about preserving the history of the Danish community.” He is also active with The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the California Rangeland Trust. “Our grandparents had 2200 acres, cattle and also beans and barely. When they passed, there were too many heirs and taxes soour parents’ generation was forced to sell. If we had the ability [at that time] to put a conservation easement on it we could have kept it together. That’s what The Land Trust allows.”

Hans continues to work with various groups on deforestation and global forest policies, and is currently working on global forestry contributionsto the new UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. When asked about the challenges facing the Santa Ynez Valley, Hans reflects, “I feel people will adapt to the changes taking place. Hirschman’s principle of the ‘Hiding Hand’ applies here:  We tend to underestimate the emerging issues, but we also underestimate our ability to resolve the issues.  ”

 

By Katherine Bradford

 

Mike Lopez & Kathleen Marshall

 

Samala Chumash Siblings, Santa Ynez Valley

"Now we can give back."
Portrait of Mike Lopez, oil on canvas, 36x36

Portrait of Mike Lopez, oil on canvas, 36x36

Portrait of Kathleen Marshall, oil on canvas, 36x36

Portrait of Kathleen Marshall, oil on canvas, 36x36

 “In our native language, we are called Samala.” The Santa Ynez Valley is home to the Samala people, historically known as the Ineseño Chumash. Siblings Kathleen Marshall and Mike Lopez are leaders in the Samala community. In their personal stories, we can glimpse the development of the modern Samala in terms of economic prosperity and cultural renewal. Kathleen is a gaming commissioner and a credentialed teacher of the Samala language -- she carries the stories and traditions that are central to Samala history and identity. Her brother Mike serves as a business committee member.

 Their family has always been part of the Santa Ynez Valley. Their ancestral villages include Kalawshaq, which was located near the current reservation, and Soxtonokmu, on Figueroa Mountain. Their great-great-great-great grandmother was Maria Solares, who worked with anthropologist J.P. Harrington to record the Samala language, including many stories and the names of village sites.

The stories many of us tell may be meaningful to our friends, and perhaps to our children. It is inspiring to think that the stories and language of Maria Solares, recorded so long ago, continue to resonate in the community of her descendents.

Kathleen and Mike have warm memories of visiting their grandfather's house on the Santa Ynez Chumash reservation. "We were here all the time; we'd play in the riverbed and eat meals together." They participated in many cultural events at the old tribal hall and made frequent field trips to Zaca Lake, a place that is central to many Chumash stories.

"Our house was built next to my grandfather's house." Kathleen and Mike were raised on the reservation during the 1970s. Their memories include challenges as well. Like other families on the reservation, they experienced poverty and racial discrimination.

During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Samala language was nearly lost. Natives were told to assimilate, to fit in, not only by outsiders but often by their own family members. Many natives were sent to boarding schools where they were forbidden speak their own languages. With cultural renewal movements in the 1960s to regain tribal rights, many Indian communities made inroads into improving conditions for their communities. In today’s generation, appreciation of cultural diversity continues to increase, but there is still a lot of education that needs to take place.

For the Samala people, economic conditions improved with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which recognized tribal sovereignty and allowed gaming on federally recognized reservations. The Chumash Casino was established in 1994, and expanded into a new facility with an entertainment complex in 2003.  Resort operations also include the Hotel Corque and several restaurants. Revenue generated from the casino and related enterprises has helped the Samala people grow their business interests, and in turn they are also able to give back to the community.

“We’re an economic leader; we give to places that helped us, now we help them,” Mike observes. The tribe supports dozens of causes in the community including Cottage Hospital and the Unity Shoppe. Gaming revenue also helps to support education efforts, including Kathleen’s work to sustain traditional culture.

Kathleen has studied the Samala language and is now credentialed to teach the language. “A group of us began working with linguist Dr. Richard Applegate several years ago. He helped us to learn our language.” In turn, Kathleen is bringing the language and traditions to a new generation, and uses Samala with her own children at meals.

“We also have Camp Kalawshaq which is held every summer for tribal children. The tribe holds language and culture classes for their youth twice a week.” Kathleen enjoys teaching non-native kids too, “Some of them think we live in teepees.” She also serves on the museum advisory committee. The tribe is in the process of designing a museum to share their culture.

Cultural pride extends to community events and ceremonies. The tribe sponsors an inter-tribal pow-wow each year, which is attended by Indians and others from all over the country, and Chumash Culture Days, which provides an opportunity for Santa Barbara area neighbors to become more familiar with the Chumash and other California natives. Among the highlights of the year are preparations for the tomol crossing; the rowing of a traditional plank canoe to Santa Cruz Island.

 “We’re a big family; some people are involved in education, business, investments…,” shares Mike. There is also an environmental and sustainability council. When asked what is unique about their community, Kathleen and Mike both mention the land. Zanja de Cota Creek runs through the middle of the reservation and is a constant reminder of their connection to the land. At the head of the creek is a spring near which the old village was located; it is called Kasaqunpeq’en (where it stops).

Chumash heritage today includes the legacies that people like Kathleen and Mike are building, from the classroom to the boardroom. Kathleen and Mike are representative of the modern Samala. They are each working hard to ensure the economic vitality of their community and the continuity of Samala traditions.

 

Dr. John Johnson

Dr. John Johnson

“I was curious.”

Dr. John Johnson began his career as an archaeologist working for the U.S. Forest Service, doing surveys in the hills and canyons of the Santa Barbara backcountry. It was while doing this work that he came across ancient sites—ceremonial areas, rock art sites, and abandoned villages. “I wondered, who lived here?” This question has been the key to unlocking many of the doors that have been opened by this anthropologist over four decades.

Ernestine De Soto

Ernestine De Soto

Anapamu, Malibu, Sisquoc, Sespe, Point Mugu -- these Chumash names are familiar to many of us on the Central Coast—we are not only surrounded by Chumash history here but we also have many neighbors who share Chumash heritage.  Archaeological and genetic evidence suggests that Chumash ancestors were among the earliest peoples in the New World, settling on the Central Coast and Channel Islands as early as 13,000 years ago.

Elizabeth Poett

Elizabeth Poett

One of the iconic images of central California is rolling golden hills dotted with oak trees and cattle. We are home to cowboys and cattle ranches.  And this is where Elizabeth Poett’s story begins.  Elizabeth is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Jose de la Guerra. You may recognize this name if you live in Santa Barbara.

Richard and Thekla Sanford

Richard and Thekla Sanford,  oil 30x36

Richard and Thekla Sanford, oil 30x36

History of Wine            

Wine has an ancient history, with a long cast of characters including the Roman God Bacchus, best known for his Bacchanalia festival. In our own California history, Father Junipero Serra planted our first sustained vineyard at Mission San Juan Capistrano two hundred years ago.  One hundred years after that, Jean-Louis Vines was the largest wine producer in Los Angeles and his peer, Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian soldier, promoted vine planting over much of Northern California, including Sonoma Valley. All of these men were immigrant adventurers, each fulfilling their own quest.

            I think there is something in our genetic code or our own Manifest Destiny that has brought all of us here to the Central Coast. Either, within ourselves, or in the temperament of our fore fathers, we are adventurers, free thinkers and/or entrepreneurs. These are all common traits you find in gold miners, immigrants and hippies, all of which have made up our collective California culture.

             Let me focus on a very specific time in our state’s history. In 1965 Berkley was the home to Flower Power, people wore Birkenstocks and marched for civil rights. Meanwhile our nation was in the midst of the Vietnam war which left our country questioning the establishment and authority. These two countercultures converged to shape the next century. Imagine graduating as a Geography student at UC Berkeley in 1965 and then suddenly be drafted into the Vietnam War for the next 3 years. This was Richard Sanford ‘s reality.  After his service as a naval officer, Richard wanted to work with the land and felt agriculture would help him reconnect with his former life.  He had been introduced to a Burgundy wine during his time with the military and thought, “Out of all different agricultural products, why not grapes?” Combining his knowledge of geography, he began to study our climate records for the last 100 years and compare them to the Burgundy region of France.  It was here he discovered our transverse mountain range created the perfect environment for the Pinot Noir grape.

            This history only underscores Richard Sanford’s adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit.  With incredible insight, the birth of our central coast wine country was established in 1970 when he planted the first Pinot Noir vines in what is now the Santa Rita Hills.  California is now the 4th largest wine producer in the world and garners a $61.5 BILLION impact in our state economy.

            Meanwhile, the other half of this story, was moving west. Thekla Brumder, a nice girl from Wisconsin, had spent her childhood outdoors, in tune with nature and investigating the wonders of her grandparents’ dairy farm. As a young adult, she stopped off at the University of Arizona to pick up a BA in Art History and a few minors in Spanish and Italian. She then spent her 20‘s in the Colorado Rockies before moving to Santa Barbara.

            Fast forward to 1976. This is when Richard and Thekla, meet on a sailing adventure in Santa Barbara. In the same year, there is a blind wine tasting in Paris with a panel made up exclusively of French wine experts. Six out of the 9 judges ranked California wines as the best in the world.  Two years later, Thekla and Richard marry in 1978 and start Sanford Winery by 1981. Together, they have produced award-winning wines for over 30 years. Their latest venture is

Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

 Using their life’s experience, they have created a business that produces high quality wines.  It also is the benchmark for organic, sustainable farming and is environmentally responsible to the land, it’s employees and customers.

And it is here ,on their home ranch, Rancho El Jabali, that the Sanfords were sharing their mutual life story in a lovely room designed by Richard and built sustainably from bales of hay and stucco. Thekla humorously recollects about how Richard stuck a thermometer out of the window while driving his car through the Santa Ynez Valley in order to measure the temperature on this hillside or on top of that range. This was to find the perfect location for the first vineyard.  Likewise, Richard gives Thekla all the credit for starting their organic farming practices, an offshoot of their family vegetable garden.  The El Jabali Vineyard was the first OCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) certified vineyard in Santa Barbara County.

While the fire crackles in the fireplace and radiates its warmth throughout the room, I observe a couple who have shared a common goal throughout a life that has been filled with hard work, successes and challenges.  They have a thoughtfulness about their legacy and future.  Their efforts and business enterprise reflect what is important to them and what they stand for.  

Remember at the beginning of this story, I talked about the spirits of adventure, free thinking and entrepreneurship. These common attributes are what make this couple so dynamic and forerunners in both winemaking and conservation.  They both share a love of the land and this has been the foundation in their success as vintners and conservationists. While Richard brought his understanding of the land and agriculture to winemaking, Thekla brought her love of nature and community. The arc of their commitment starts with organic farming and sustainable agriculture and includes ecological packaging, green building, wildlife protection and culminates in the slow food movement, which addresses the quality of the food we eat, where it comes from and how this affects the world.  They were even honored by the Environmental Defense Center as Environmental Heroes.  All the while, they make award winning wine!  Richard Sanford was just added to the Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America.

Their incredible commitment to our environment while operating an enlightened enterprise is just the beginning of their contribution.  I always find their support and sponsorship at so many of our non profit events.  They have consistently made one good decision after another to operate with integrity, be good stewards of the land, and serve humanity.  Cheers!

 

By Holli Harmon

Reynolds Yater

Reynolds Yater
"It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea--whether it is to sail or to watch it--we are going back from whence we came."

- John F. Kennedy

At least that holds true for many of us who have an inexplicable need to be near the ocean. One such person is Reynolds Yater. 

Dr. Lyndal Laughrin

Dr. Lyndal Laughrin

Everyday we are influenced by someone’s efforts and passion.  Their interests or talents may not be our own, but they will play a part in the backdrop of our own life’s stage where we pursue our own interests and passions.