WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Jose Diaz and I’ve been working with the Kerry Damskey family, of Terroirs, Inc. and Palmeri Wines, creating videos in order to succinctly tell up-to-date stories.
The following is a perfect trifecta:
- Kerry Damskey is the winemaking and business side of their business
- Drew Damskey is their next generation of winemakers, coming on strong
- Daisy Damskey is their ambassador and “glue”
Together they bring the inspiration; while individually, Daisy brings the heart , Drew contributes enthusiasm (and his love for barrel treatments, BTW), and Kerry is the soul of what they do as a three-some… making delicious dreams come true.
I’m working in a video series with Daisy, so I can craft that current snapshot of her evolution. Since the 80s, her history has been loaded with the humanities. She sees her accomplishments as a “scroll that rolls out,” with a sweeping hand movement, “before me.” I understand the circuitousness; it creates a really thoughtful female leader… She’s so perfect for Women’s History Month.
[PURCHASED PHOTO: women’s history month, all rights reserved, please]
In typical Daisy style, she had me interview Kerry and Drew, before I interviewed her. Let’s just say, the wait was well worth the time in anticipation, and with all that led up to the time we spent together. Most of my questions were about her history and roles within Terroirs Inc.
I saved my questions for her, about being a woman in the wine industry, for the end of our interview. Initially, we began with the 80s, discussing how that was a generational time of trailblazing, for many within the age demographic. And blaze she did! Which, by the way, they haven’t stopped doing at Terroirs.
THE WORLD IS HER OYSTER
Where have they blazed? Besides all over California and now Washington, they’ve worked in Israel, India, Costa Rica, China, Bulgaria, and Kerry has also reached out for a project in Bhutan.
Worldly Daisy Damskey has had incredibly daring, opportunities, with accompanying accomplishments. One of her greatest gifts to the world of wine is that she, along with husband Kerry, helped to open up and successfully launch the wine industry in India. This was done in the accompaniment of Sula Vineyards. This was an unthinkable goal, initially, when it was brought up. A few European winemakers were first brought in; but, what they wanted to do and what could be done just didn’t congealed.
Kerry met Rajeev Samant (of India) at Stanford University, and Raj had a dream, and he brought the Damskeys into it. “Raj,” as Kerry and Daisy call him, wanted to grow wine grapes in India. Definitely a challenge, but they decided to go for it. So, they tinkered the terroir and considered what wine grape varieties could be successfully grown in a tropical wine climate. So, they brought in Chenin Blanc. It was sparkling and a hit with the terroir, in terms of food and wine. This became their “first” of India’s global accomplishments via Sula and then other brands to follow. Today, Sula sells over 1,000,000 cases of wine a year. Bam! From the Indian Wine Law Offices: “At present, India has about 60 wineries with an estimated investment of about USD $60 million…”
So, Who’s the Willie Scott of Wine?
Kerry Damskey is often referred to as the Indiana Jones of Wine, due to his exploring and daring. Daisy Damskey, meanwhile, talks about how they just throw themselves into unusual projects, like Sula Vineyards, and they continue to make trailblazing dreams into a reality for others.
I would venture to say that that makes Daisy the Willie Scott of Wine; portrayed by Kate Capshaw, in both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Daisy is that enthusiastic and courageous, when it comes to wine any time, and wine anywhere… to grow and enjoy.
Key people listed on the Sula site: Rajeev Samant (CEO & Founder); Kerry Damskey – Director and Master Winemaker. The image below is what Sula has successfully grown into, from the dream Rajeev had as a younger man and shared with Kerry and Daisy.
[PHOTO Property of Sula Vineyards, all rights reserved]
What struck me the most is what Daisy had to say about the challenges in the vineyards, that we would never think about, coming from California properties. In the video below, pay close attention to what Daisy has to say about the critters that aren’t found in US or Europe, besides “Davis Doesn’t Teach You About Water Buffalo in the Vineyards,” that make working in India’s vineyards a bit more challenging than any day, in Anywinetown, USA.
[PHOTO Property of Sula Vineyards, all rights reserved]
I asked my partner Jose what he got from the interview. It was clear to him that Daisy loves the challenges of listening to clients’ needs, and finding a solution to fulfill them, even if it seems impossible at the time… Like launching wine grapes in India to make wine was thought impossible.
One more point, because Daisy is truly highly regarded in today’s wine business – and deserves to be recognized as an important contributor to the world of wine as a unique trailblazer.
[BOOK PHOTOS: Property of Michelle Lando, all rights reserved]
She handed Michelle Lando’s book to me, before we left. It’s called “Wine Country Women of Sonoma County.” There’s a percent of the profits of this book going to the Geyserville Fire Department. Twice now, we’ve needed our fire department to help us evacuate during raging fires around us. These brave souls… Daisy always looks ahead, to see how a project will benefit others.
Daisy is included in this book, and it’s brilliant! Great job, Michelle Lando. You picked a wonderful subject with all your amazing women! This is one of a most beautiful book, for my wine library. Everything about it is quality, and the message is clear, “Women make the world a kinder, gentler place to be.”
And, Daisy Damskey is a shining light to behold.
Enjoy three minutes with her. You’ll get a clear sense of her sensibilities!