Watching my garden grow….

When I started PS I Love You, I had no idea where that adventure was going to take me. It’s also never been one of those gigs where you create the infrastructure, and then you have to go flesh it out. In this case, I had Jose build a Website for us, and told him, “They will come.” He doubted me, because he couldn’t see what I could see, which was simply the potential, but he did – as always – what I asked, regardless, because he’s so sweet that way.

And.. They did come, one-by-one, the most passionate and marketing astute, with that same personality profile still filtering in little-by-little each year. We’ve almost reached 100 members… a real milestone for PSILY.

Each new member opens up a new layer of the lotus for me… Someone new to learn about. Their stories are each unique and I marvel in the connections.

One that came to PSILY early on was Robert Biale Vineyards. I was fortunate to meet Aldo Biale before he passed away. I really like the man.

(Even though he’s passed away, I can’t put my feelings into past tense. Why do we do that, when it’s all about the spirit of a person in the first place?)

I also like what he did during Prohibition. If you wanted wine made by Aldo and his family, you called the winery, ordered some eggs and also ordered a Black Chicken… “Black Chicken” was code for needing some Zinfandel. Believe me, if I had lived during Prohibition (knowing what I know now), I would have been ordering some Black Chicken!

My main connection to the winery is partner and marketing director Dave Pramuk. He’s sat on the board of directors for PSILY, and is still our marketing chair. Dave has always got great ideas to share, and has helped PSILY grow in many ways. The two of us went off to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to participate in the Santa Fe Chile Fiesta a few years ago. I had organized a panel of Petite Sirah guys, with Robert Biale Vineyards as one of the panel members. Dave and I traveled everywhere together during that adventure, including heading up to Tao for a half day. Dave Pramuk is an amazing man, and one whom I adore. I recently also traveled down to Sausalito to taste all of Robert Biale Vineyards’ new releases. This is one PSILY member who keeps me in the fold… He’s a marketing guy, remember? If the roles were reversed, I’d see the same benefits.

I recently got a press release from Dave, announcing another very important growth spurt for them, and I’m so delighted:

Today, Robert Biale Vineyards is pleased to announce the appointment of David Campbell as COO/General Manager to oversee the Napa Valley winery’s operations and planning.

Bob Biale: “We’re fortunate to obtain the winery management expertise of David Campbell’s caliber,” says , founding partner of Robert Biale Vineyards. “After 20 years of growing our winery and vineyards, founding partner Dave Pramuk and I have been looking to find the right person with David Campbell’s track record of success and experience. He will be tasked to not only help us with our day to day operations and planning, but will also further our mission of being the most highly regarded and sought-after producer of the California heritage varieties – Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.

Campbell oversaw the growth and success of Premium Port Wines, Inc. in the 1990’s, and went on to direct Clos du Val Winery from 2001 to 2006. Under Cambell’s direction, Clos du Val was twice named Winery of the Year (2002 and 2003) by Wine and Spirits.

Campbell and his family established The Tillerman Tea Company in 2006, at Napa’s Oxbow Market.

Robert Biale Vineyards, regarded by trade and media as a top producer of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, was founded in 1991 by Bob Biale, Dave Pramuk, Aldo Biale, and Al Perry with the aim of creating Napa Valley’s “house of Zinfandel.” Today, under the winemaking direction of Steve Hall, Biale grows and produces small lots of fourteen Zinfandels and four Petite Sirahs, as the winery endeavors to preserve the history and tradition of Californian winemaking and agriculture. Wine Spectator featured Biale in its September 30 issue as “Zinfandel Grand Masters.”

The Biale winery founders will still be involved in day to day operations: Bob Biale will continue his role in farming, production, and grower relations; and, Pramuk will continue his role in marketing, sales, and communications.

Biale’s best-known Zinfandel, “Black Chicken,” derives from the days after Prohibition, when Aldo Biale had a code name that his customers used to order secret bottles of Zinfandel, on the rural “party-line’ phone system.

The Biale winery is located at 4038 Big Ranch Road, Napa, CA, in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District, and is open for visiting and tasting by advance appointment.

For more information contact Dave Pramuk:

My blog – my journal… Today’s entry is one of recognizing the growth of a company that I’ve been working with since 2003… Eight years later, we’re all still growing, regardless of the constant rain in northern California this Jun-uary 2011. I hope you’re staying dry and warm!


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