For a young woman growing up in Upstate New York, the Napa Valley wasn't even a blip on the radar screen for Wendy. Fortunately, fate intervened in the form of her husband, who answered the question, "What would you do if you could do anything in the world?" by saying unhesitatingly that he'd go back to school to learn to grow grapes and make wine. In the spring of 1998, they bundled their two Alaskan Malamutes and one cranky old cat (now twenty-two) into the Jeep and headed west.
After a decade of running a small, but critically lauded, chef-owned restaurant in Cape May, New Jersey, Wendy had found the enthusiasm and passion of producers of artisan wines and food products to be contagious. She toyed briefly with the idea of raising Nubian goats and making fresh and aged cheeses. Her mother teased her that if she wanted to make a cauliflower gratin, she'd have to start months in advance, in order to first grow the cauliflower. Realizing that her managerial and marketing talents would be more lucrative in the Napa Valley than raising goats, she accepted a position in special events at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Several months later, enjoying the company of other food and wine devotees, but discouraged by the sheer scope and corporate nature of the CIA, Wendy's career path took a critical turn. Pride Mountain Vineyards was soon to open a small tasting room on top of Spring Mountain and was looking for a part-time employee. She and Carolyn Pride clicked, and within six months, her not-so-secret plan to turn her part time tasting room position into a full time career had born fruit, when Jim and Carolyn asked her to become their Director of Marketing.
"Working with the Pride family on this incredible property has been a gift. Jim and Carolyn set the bar high for us in those very first days. Led by their example, and now that of their children, we have been able to cultivate both a remarkably talented internal team as well as a passionate and loyal client following. Clearly neither of those things would have happened without the wine, but really it is the people who set this business apart and make our success such a shared pleasure."
In addition to her position at Pride Mountain Vineyards, Wendy is in her third term on the Board of Directors for Family Winemakers of California. She lives happily in Calistoga with her husband, Mark, and their large and loveable Malamute, Rufus.