Career #4 had Ron going to UC Berkeley’s Executive Coaching Institute where he became a certified executive coach. That’s where in 2012, he met Trish while she was there courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The two married in 2015 and Ron thought “Wait, maybe I could fulfill this vineyard dream in little Livermore, CA”, home to 62 wineries. Coaching turned into conducting workshops at both Berkeley and Cal State East Bay. In another strange twist, that led to becoming an adjunct professor at Cal State in Marketing & Entrepreneurship. Ron’s creation of a Design Thinking program for the MBA program was a first for Cal State East Bay.
Just when the wine dream seemed to be slipping away, fate intervened again. Trish was made an offer by Intel to run high performance computing (HPC) in Hillsboro, OR. The two looked at each other and said, “the Willamette Valley…Pinot Noir…we’re doing this.”
At the very end of 2016, they made the drive up from Livermore with the Three Tuxedos cats in the car. Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster with the creation and nurturing of the business, building-out of the winery and the repurposing of a new spot on their 26 acre property to be the future tasting room and B&B sometime in 2023.
As folk like to ask Ron…”Is this your retirement job?” He chuckles and says “ha…some retirement…I’ve never worked so hard in my life”. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Andrew has been far more than a winemaker to Ron over the years. He has been a trusted consultant on all matters big & small related to the industry. Ranging from disease pressure and pruning techniques to matters of wine compliance. Andrew had also been instrumental in the build-out of the Benza winery building working with architects, civil engineers and suppliers to help get the Benza Winery through it’s inaugural vintage in 2022. It’s difficult to put into words Andrew’s contributions. Benza Vineyards would not be where it is without his efforts.
Andrew grew up in Seattle Washington and is a 5th generation north Westerner. He’s cooked in both Seattle and New York where he picked up an exposure to fine foods and wine. He’s worked harvests in France, Australia and New Zealand before coming to Oregon where Like Paden, he worked with Eric Hamacher and Anthony King at the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio. A stint at Brittan Vineyards led to his hiring by Ruby Vineyard in 2016.