By Kori ~ April 25th, 2011.
Today’s post is part of a series featuring the Women of Washington Wine. In an industry once dominated by men, more and more women are joining the ranks as winery owners, vineyard owners, and winemakers. Being a woman myself, I am fascinated by these women and what they have done and continue to do. Through this series, I hope to introduce you to some of the brightest female faces in the Washington wine industry.
Ali Boyle is the namesake for Alexandria Nicole Cellars. Ali and her husband Jarrod founded the winery in 2004. Alexandria Nicole Cellars is located on their 243-acre estate vineyard, Destiny Ridge, in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State overlooking the Columbia River. They also have tasting rooms in Prosser and Woodinville. Jarrod began his career in the industry as assistant viticulturist to Dr. Wade Wolfe when they both worked for Hogue Cellars. During his time there, he discovered the property that is now home to Destiny Ridge Vineyard, and vines were planted in 1998. Jarrod serves as winemaker, and Ali is in charge of sales and marketing for Alexandria Nicole Cellars.
Recently, Ali was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me and our Wine Peeps readers.
Highlights from Q&A with Ali Boyle:
How did you first get involved in the wine business?
My husband. He was working for Hogue Cellars in the early 90′s, and we started making wine in the garage. The rest is history.
What were the steps that led to where you are now?
Oh, my! Step 1: Vision. Step 2: Action. Seriously, though, it’s been such a long journey. We started the vineyard, Destiny Ridge, in 1998. From there, we continued making wine at home for ourselves, and then in 2001 we decided to start a small family winery for us and our friends. We took on four partners and made a couple hundred cases. From there, the evolution has been intense. We built the winery in 2004 and have continued to grow Alexandria Nicole Cellars ever since.
Has being a woman been an advantage or a disadvantage in your wine journey?
Well, hmm? Since that’s all I know, I’ll say it’s an advantage! Being a woman, married to a great man who supports and encourages me, makes all the difference. I do believe that embracing the female side of the experience opens the door for other females because they feel a sense of comfort. Hopefully, if it’s done right it takes away some of the intimidation that they might otherwise feel.
What advice do you have for a woman wanting to get involved in the wine business today?
Don’t be intimidated. You can do it. Ask for advice from others who have gone before you.
What are your thoughts about the Washington wine industry, in general?
I love it, and I’m proud to be a small part of it.
How do you and your husband, Jarrod, divide the duties at the winery?
Great question. He leads; I follow. He makes the wine, and I help facilitate sales. He is an amazing visionary with such a warm and genuine personality, and we are blessed to be surrounded by hard working people who have joined the ANC team to make it so amazing.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars seems to have a very active wine club as well as an active presence on Twitter and Facebook. What impact have your wine club and social networking had on the winery?
We heart our wine club members. Many of them have become our extended family, and their support and encouragement has bolstered us up and kept us going. I wish I knew all of the members because I do appreciate their belief in the ANC dream. I guess that’s where the social media piece (Facebook/Twitter) ties in because it helps us stay connected and get to know them better. It’s fun to share stories, pictures, upcoming events and then look back to see who’s commented. We may not have seen them for a while, but then they leave a comment and we’re able to reconnect.
What is your vision for the future of Alexandria Nicole Cellars?
My vision is to continue to grow the wine club. We are currently at almost 2,000 members, and they are the heart of ANC. We talk about other locations, but, for now, I like where we are.
Feel free to share any other thoughts that you believe would be of interest to our readers.
Jarrod and I live out at Destiny Ridge and have for a little over seven years. We’ve been together for 20 years, and we have three kids and lots of critters. Our kids are the light of our life, bookend boys and a girly girl in the middle. Seph, our oldest, is in college; Matti is in high school; and Kol is in middle school.
Many thanks to Ali for sharing her story and thoughts with us. I wish her and Jarrod all the best and will continue following their work and Alexandria Nicole Cellars with great interest, and I hope that you will too.
Filed under: American Wine, Interview, Washington State Wine, Women of Washington Wine