North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 8, 2010, 2:45 am

Most Influential Leaders: Daniel J. Duckhorn

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    Most Influential LeadersDan Duckhorn

    Chairman and founder, Duckhorn Wine Co.

    Company address: 1000 Lodi Lane, St. Helena 94574

    Phone: 707-967-2024

    Website: www.duckhorn.com

    Staff: 140

    Residence: St. Helena

    Professional background: Semi-retired from 40 years in the wine business

    Education: B.S., MBA Finance, U.C. Berkeley

    Age: 71

    What do you see as the essential role of a leader in the current environment? Today’s leaders of consumer product companies must find unique ways to motivate their employees to perform at increasingly higher levels in an expanding global community of price/value consciousness.

    What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry? In the luxury premium wine segment, the main changes have been increased grape cultivation technology, a shift to more palate-friendly wines and direct-to-consumer marketing, a massive number of new entrants, and more currently, a shift in consumer preferences by varietal and price.

    What advice would you give to young emerging leaders? Learn to speak Mandarin Chinese and accounting.

    What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment? Have patience but adjust. We have been through two world wars, two bouts with phylloxera, a real Depression and a national law banning the consumption of our product. This too will pass.

    How do you think your business will change in the next five years? Our recent focus on the consumer who suddenly changed his or her purchasing pattern will require new product shifts and new marketing strategies.

    What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it? Not being more aggressive in the acquisition of vineyards. If your decision seems financially or otherwise unattainable, find a way.

    What is your most memorable business experience? Hesitating to sell Duckhorn Wine Co. but now enjoying the exquisite timeliness of the sale

    What is your greatest business success? Being associated with the appreciation of merlot in America

    What was your toughest business decision? Explaining individually to our key employees that the sale of the company need not be accompanied by radical changes

    What would your friends be surprised to find out about you? That I was asked to leave U.C. Berkeley along with 50 other students for one semester at the request of the administration for participating in the great panty raid (albeit there were 5,000 students at the “party”)!

    First job: Dishwasher at a soda fountain in Santa Rosa

    Most admired businessperson outside the company: Warren Buffett

    Current reading: World Bird Migration

    Most want to meet: The woman in the Progressive Insurance Co. ads on TV

    Stress relievers: Summer evenings at the BBQ

    Favorite activities outside work: Dry-fly fishing in the Idaho wilderness

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    1 Comment

    1. March 29, 2013, 1:30 pm

      by Expose Bohemian Grove | Cool-Nazdar Camp

      [...] Daniel James Duckhorn – B.S., MBA Finance, U.C. Berkeley; Chairman and founder, Duckhorn Wine Co. Source. [...]

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