Napa's St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery executive wins 2020 North Bay Business Journal CFO award
St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery is a high-end producer in Napa Valley.
The North Bay Business Journal is honoring Ditas Peterson with a CFO Recognition Award, one of leaders recognized from a variety of businesses and nonprofits throughout Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. Award winners were honored Aug. 28 in a Business Journal Virtual Event.
Number of company employees: About 100
Professional background: Finance and accounting – CPA Philippines
Education: Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in accounting
How has the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disruption changed how you carry out your job at your current employer?
Our people, both internal and external, are at the top of our priority list. Ensuring that everyone is safe from the virus, have the accommodations and flexibility they need to succeed in their job is our key focus.
The emotional and physical toll that the pandemic has caused everyone on our team means we all have to be extra understanding of everyone’s unique personal situation and do the best we can to help our whole team succeed during these tough times.
What changes have come because of the pandemic in the industry you work in? Identify which changes are temporary and which, if any, are lasting.
There are a lot of uncertainties and events that are beyond any of our control. Shelter-in-Place, work from home, outdoor wine tastings & curve-side pick-up, restrictions on/off of indoor dining, significant reductions in number of visitors, impact on sales & cash flow, more virtual tastings, more e-commerce shipments…. the list goes on.
I hope the periodic lockdown periods are temporary, but many other changes will likely be permanent. Virtual tastings, on-line purchases, touchless operations, to some extent social distancing and work from home (for roles that can) will be beneficial for both the company and our team members and are likely long lasting.
Tell us about a recent success your company has had: The winery is owned by Chanel, Inc. and continues its mission of continuous quality improvement, while maintaining Napa Green Winery and Vineyard certifications to protect the environment for generations to come.
In 2020, St. Supéry
• Was awarded 1st place and People’s Choice for Wine Business Monthly Best Luxury Packaging Award for its 2015 RU3 Red Wine.
Each year the winery continues to receive wine press accolades ranging from 90 points to 96 from the major wine publications including Wine Spectator, James Suckling, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Decanter and Vinous. 96 points was awarded to the 2015 RU3, a premium Rutherford Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon dominated red blend and won the Best Luxury Packaging Award from Wine Business Monthly’s Wine Packaging Conference.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Be fearless, dig deep, and speak your mind. Finance roles are the bulwark against waste, fraud, abuse, and the champions of transparency, legality, efficiency and profits.
Lean into that role and mindset. Set professional goals for yourself, commit to excellence in your finance pursuits, and ask for mentorship and help. Most leaders like to help up and comers, so ask for it and reward it in return with excellent performance.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
We have a technology evolution underway already today.
We are investing in leading edge technologies, improving our digital marketing, training and development of people, business process improvements and re-inventing our go to market strategy. In five years, our business will be leaner, more efficient, more data driven, and ultimately improve the bottom line.
What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?
I wish I learned to appreciate and practice a healthy work life balance far earlier in my career. It’s good for the mind and body and ultimately good for the business if people don’t burn themselves out.
What is your most memorable business experience?
When JFW gave me the opportunity to handle both the domestic and international financial operations as Global VP of Finance. And now, as CFO of St. Supery Estates Vineyards & Winery.
What is your greatest business success?
Being able to successfully handle international operations from many standpoints – tax, compliance, economics, politics, IFRS, people & culture, HR, technologies and supply and demand planning. And most of all, the joy it gives me seeing my wonderful team members grow and now succeeding as Directors, SVPs and CFOs.
What was your toughest business decision?
It was during a re-organization of our finance and accounting operations in 2008-2009. It was a tough time, jobs were lost, and I was saddened by every single one of them.
What would your friends and family be surprised to find out about you?
I like country living! I enjoy the scenery, wildlife and the great outdoors!
Personally, what is the biggest lesson you have taken from the events of the last few months?
Everybody needs one another! Try to be more understanding, patient and compassionate. Isolation is not healthy, and we have to work hard to support each other during these tough times.
Tell us about your community involvement activities: I center my involvement in church activities and helping struggling families in the Philippines. I need to do a better job of expanding my community involvement and hope to improve that once we can all get out and together again.
Most admired businessperson outside the company: Warren Buffet & Elon Musk
Current reading: IFRS, FASB, Tax updates & “The Book of Ichigo Ichie”
Most want to meet: Elon Musk
Stress relievers: Sitting under the trees & enjoy the view of the mountains, walking, & golf.
Favorite activities outside work: Sports – golf and fishing