Richie Allen of St. Helena’s Rombauer Vineyards wins an 11th annual Forty Under 40 award from North Bay Business Journal.
Responsibilities with your company: From the vineyard to the bottle, my responsibilities cover all aspects of wine growing and production.
In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?
Industry leading and innovation. I’m always striving to do better.
Years with company: 13
Length of time in current position: 9 years
Employees who report to you: 22
Greatest professional accomplishment: My team. It has taken a long time to get together a team that functions so well and at the highest level, yet understands that the collective effort, rather than the individual achievement, is what’s important.
Greatest professional challenge: Consistency, anyone can make a great wine, but doing it year in year out, with every vintage being a new challenge. I have to guide the wines to the desired outcome, from the vineyard to the bottle, consistently every year, regardless of what Mother Nature throws at me.
Best advice received: If you are not constantly trying to improve, you are falling behind!
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Getting out in to the market the last 12 months for the first time and speaking with buyers and customers and seeing their surprise at the quality of all of our wines.
What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?
Over the last three years the senior team have taken a very active approach to make Rombauer Vineyards an employer of choice. Ensuring our employee benefits are in line with the best in the industry.
Next professional goal: Halving our water use at the winery. We are currently well below the industry average but we can always do better, so I’ve set a very tough target.
Education: Bachelor of Science- Biological Post-Graduate Diploma Enology
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Mentor/admired businessperson: John Duval
Typical day at the office: Depends on the day some start at 3 a.m. and goes for 24 hours. But most start at 6:30, straight to the winery and then to the vineyard.
Best place to work outside of your office: I’m rarely in the office. Most of my office is outside. I’m lucky I guess.
Hobbies: Rock climbing, photography, cinematography
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Cinematographer
#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: Same as the professional goal, halving our water use in the winery.
First job: Pharmacy delivery boy. I rode my bike to deliver medication to the elderly who couldn’t get to the pharmacy.
Favorite book:“On the road” Jack Kerouac
Favorite after-work drink: Beer. It takes a lot of good beer to make great wine.
Last vacation:Hawaii. The first family vacation in four years.
What does your mom or dad brag most about you?
Their son is a winemaker in the Napa Valley.
Director of Viticulture & Winemaking
3522 Silverado Trail N, St Helena, 94574