"A lively writer and a true insider, Rodeno started by shepherding Moët's brave investment in Domaine Chandon before going on to other adventures in the wine business. (Full disclosure: I have tasted and liked her Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese.) This book has enough hard-won wisdom to make it invaluable reading for anyone launching a start-up, whether they plan to sell wine or widgets."
former book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle
"Autobiography, Napa history archive, handbook on how to climb the corporate ladder in the California wine industry… Michaela Rodeno charts her often unexpected navigation from French Literature graduate looking for a part-time job as a winery tour guide, to CEO of Rutherford-based, French-owned St. Supéry.
Just when you think that your French degree is going to get you nowhere more interesting than teaching an 8 am class at the community college, compounded by the fact that Margrit Mondavi turns you down for the job of tour guide because you're over-qualified, you read a headline that says, 'French company to build $5 million winery'. Next thing you know, you're working for France's largest champagne house, building Domaine Chandon, literally from scratch, in an old garage.
Put together more like a collection of anecdotes, the chapters are roughly chronological and span the four eras of the author's life: pre wine; Domaine Chandon; St. Supéry; and life after that.
The book gives a fascinating glimpse into some of the complexity and pressure and dramas that lay behind [starting up St. Supéry]. And that
enormous breadth of experience [earned] is all dealt with in a matter-of-fact, easily readable way. The book also brings some serious insights into risk, leadership, corporate management, and survival in the powerfully competitive world of California wine.
Rodeno writes with a light, often self-deprecating humour, revealinginsider tales of green-card weddings, smoking in fermentation tanks and Dapples the draft horse that at times had me snorting with laughter.
There is also a surprising element of vulnerability and honesty, coming from a woman who must be pretty tough-as-boots to have got where she's got to. I found myself unexpectedly liking her as much as admiring her."
"This will be regarded as one of the most important books on the history of Napa Valley's wine industry. Writing with great candor and a wry sensibility, Rodeno takes us deep into the heart of the stunning beauty of one of Americas most valued treasures."
"Give this book to every high school and college student you know. It is a real MBA in leadership."
William T. Ryan
Beringer Winery executive, ret'd