Getting her first job at E&J Gallo 40 years ago was something of a bet for Terry Wheatley.
“My husband was going away for a few days and bet me I couldn’t find a job by the time he got back,” she said.
She stayed on that job for 17 years before moving on and eventually becoming a marketing executive for Trinchero Family Estates. She not only is now working for Vintage Wine Estates, but also in 2008 founded her own wine brand and a sales and marketing company.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I began my career in the wine industry at E&J Gallo 40 years ago. My husband was going away for a few days and bet me I couldn’t find a job by the time he got back. I worked at Gallo for 17 years, then at Trinchero Family Estates where I ultimately became senior vice president for sales and marketing.
In 2008, I founded my own wine brand-creation, marketing and sales company, Canopy Management, which I sold to Vintage Wine Estates in 2014. I am currently senior vice president for sales and marketing for Vintage Wine Estates.
EDUCATION: California State University, Chico; Northwestern University Executive Program
Vintage Wine Estates is a privately held wine company owned by a group of vintner families with deep roots in the wine business. We are a company that respects the way people buy their wine—in wineries, at retail, on the telephone, on television, on the Internet and in the mail. As SVP Sales and Marketing, I have responsibility for an outstanding collection of winery estates and brands including Clos Pegase Winery, Cosentino Winery, Girard Winery, B.R. Cohn Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Viansa Sonoma, Windsor Vineyards, Cartlidge & Browne, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Middle Sister, Tall Dark Stranger, Pro-mis-Q-ous, Monogamy, Girl & Dragon, Purple Cowboy and a number of exclusive wine brands. We’re considered an industry leader across all sales channels with a range of wines from $10 to $100 dollars and at many price points in between. We produce wines from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and other premium California winegrowing regions.
MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO
Integrating two new winery acquisitions into Vintage Wine Estates — B.R. Cohn Winery and Swanson Vineyards. Creating and beta-launching Sisterhood Direct, a wine direct-sales company. Positively influencing the corporate culture at VWE.
WHAT IS THE ACHIEVEMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Creating my own profitable wine company and championing career development for women in the wine industry.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY?
Too many ideas, not enough time.
WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU: Confident, curious, positive, tenacious and very direct.
AS A SUCCESSFUL FEMALE PROFESSIONAL, WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I don’t see obstacles. I see opportunities.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PROFESSION WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
There will be continued consolidation among wholesalers and large retailers — it will be more important than ever for constant innovation and creativity. Everyone in the wine business will have a voice through social media. Consumers will dictate how, when and where they will buy wine. We’ll need to stay at the forefront of technology to move our business forward in the digital age.
WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MENTOR?
When I started at Gallo 40 years ago, I was assigned to the senior vice president for sales who never believed any project was too difficult to give me. He fed my curiosity and taught me to love challenges.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN ENTERING YOUR PROFESSION OR THE WORK WORLD TODAY?
Be curious. Learn something new every day. Don’t shy away from something you’ve never done before. Just because you haven’t done it doesn’t mean you can’t.
MOST ADMIRED BUSINESSPERSON OUTSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, still working at 83 years of age. I may do the same.
TYPICAL DAY AT THE OFFICE: There is no typical day. I could be dealing with acquisitions or brand creation — or anything in between. It’s exciting. That’s why I continue to do it.
BEST PLACE TO WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR OFFICE: I built a tankhouse on our ranch as my home office. I get incredible amounts of work done there.
CURRENT READING: “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” by Amy Cuddy.
MOST WANT TO MEET: Rachael Maddow, Charles Koch and Michael Jordan.
SOCIAL MEDIA YOU MOST USE: Facebook
STRESS-RELIEVERS: Regular energy massages and watching my grandkids play sports.
FAVORITE HOBBIES: Brand creation. I love it so much I do it for fun.
ANYTHING ELSE?: I am married to a professional rodeo cowboy and was a trick rider as a kid. And have the pictures to prove it!