Kim Stare Wallace of Dry Creek Vineyard wins Women in Business Award

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Kim Stare Wallace


Dry Creek Vineyard

3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg 95448


Read more profiles of 2018 Women in Business winners:

Kim Stare Wallace of Dry Creek Vineyard in Healdsburg wins a North Bay Business Journal Women in Business award.

Education: San Francisco State University, Consumer and Family Studies/Dietetics

Staff: 47

Tell us about yourself and your company: Established in 1972 by my father, David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyard is Dry Creek Valley’s flagship winery located in the heart of Sonoma County, California. Throughout my childhood, I watched my father pioneer Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in the region following Prohibition, and champion Dry Creek Valley as a world-class wine growing appellation. As a teen, I worked in the office, cellar and on the bottling line, as well as accompanying my parents on countless sales trips, business dinners and wine tastings. From this early start, I grew up with a passion and understanding of the wine industry.

Today, our premier, family-owned winery is celebrating 46 years of winemaking and I am firmly committed to a “No Compromises” philosophy, producing appellation-focused, terroir-driven, varietal-defining wines.

We are proud to be one of the last truly private, family-owned, iconic wineries consistently producing 90+ point wines.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

In 2017, our family winery was issued a U.S. Patent related to printing sustainable sourcing information on our wine cork closures. The innovative closure is laser printed with detailed information about the source of cork material, including the age of the cork forest, the harvest date of the trees and the sustainable habitat these remarkable forests provide to the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Eagle.

I developed this new idea in an effort to provide transparency and authenticity of the winery’s extensive portfolio.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

In 2015, Dry Creek Vineyard was named a “Top 100” Winery by Wine & Spirits Magazine. This incredible recognition as one of the top 100 wineries in the world was the culmination of a decade of hard work and dedication to reinvent the winery and refocus the portfolio to showcase the terroir and distinction of Dry Creek Valley.

What is your biggest challenge today?

The biggest challenge facing our family winery is the increasing corporatization of the wine industry. Every day it becomes more challenging to get the mind share of our distributors and accounts in the wholesale market. With all of the virtual brands popping up on the shelves and on wine lists, it is also a challenge to stand out to the consumers as an authentic, heritage brand.

What words that best describe you?

Resilient, tenacious, focused

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

In my life, both personal and professional, I have taken on great challenges at a ‘young age’. I went to college young, married young, and joined the winery at a young age.

I traveled the world as the spokesperson of Dry Creek Vineyard, many times addressing those who were 20 or 30 years older than I was, and usually were male. As time went on, I became the vice president, and later president of the winery, and had seniority over those who were older than me.

Throughout it all, I felt the need to prove that I was a capable and dynamic leader, which has, in turn, led to the success of our family winery.

Kim Stare Wallace


Dry Creek Vineyard

3770 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg 95448


Read more profiles of 2018 Women in Business winners:

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

It seems that the wine industry will continue to consolidate and become more homogenized, which is why it is more important than ever to produce wines with a real story from a real place, that are made by real people.

Who was your most important mentor?

It might seem unusual, but my husband was probably my greatest mentor. Before he came to work for the winery, and I was a young manager for the business, I remember seeking his council on a variety of management-related topics. Later after he joined the family business, it was our many late-night talks and frequent discussions about how to take our family business from a “good winery making good wines” to a “great winery making great wines” that inspired me.

While we have very different personalities and management styles, one thing we have always agreed on is the direction of the winery and our passion for crafting truly great wines.

I have also found great inspiration from my employees. Even in the most challenging of times, such as the recessionary years of 2007-2009, I was motivated to work hard and continue carrying on the dream of becoming a world class winery. I tend to have a mentality of “do whatever it takes” which comes from caring about the welfare of others and realizing that it takes a village to move mountains.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Too many times things are done a certain way because “that’s how they have always been done.”

Each event, campaign, idea, etc. should be better than the last and most times the success hinges on how thorough the details are. Be the person who takes something from mediocre to sensational. And when in doubt, just remember “there’s no way out but through it.”

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Maggie Hénriquez, president and CEO of KRUG Maison de Champagne. She is an incredibly dynamic and visionary leader who has developed and implemented strategies for multinational and global companies. More than that, she is incredibly passionate about what she does and why she does it, which I respect enormously.

Typical day at the office: I am extremely involved in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the winery, so my typical day is very hands-on and includes a lot of interaction with key members of my team. I also serve on various boards in the community, so I actively participate in those meetings and discussions.

Best place to work outside of your office: We have the most beautiful picnic grounds right outside of our tasting room, so when it is nice and warm outside, I like to sit out there and see the smiles on the faces of our visitors. It helps remind me of why I got into this business in the first place.

Current reading: “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurain

Most want to meet: Michelle Obama

Social media you most use: I primarily use Instagram so that I can keep up with the adventures of my children. My daughter is a professional blogger and Instagram influencer, and I am her biggest fan!

Stress relievers: I enjoy yoga at my local studio, and spending time with my family. Of course, a glass of Dry Creek Vineyard wine always helps as well!

Favorite hobbies: We are known as the “Wine for Sailors” since our family combines our love of wine with our passion for sailing. Every summer I look forward to spending time at my father’s cottage in Maine, sailing on our family’s sailboat.

What would either parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?

Coincidentally, my dad was the one who came up with the idea to nominate me for this award! I think my father is proud that I have continued his legacy with his pioneering spirit. He would say that I am incredibly passionate and dedicated to our family business, and that I am never satisfied to rest on our laurels!

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