Robyn Bentley is the founding partner of Wine Country Consultants, a family-run commercial real estate firm focused vineyards and winery businesses in California, Oregon and Washington.
“There is never a dull moment” in her business, said Bentley. She said she enjoys her work because “It’s a creative process, and at the end of the day I am really helping people achieve that next dream.”
The company also recently added branding and business development for wineries and vineyards.
1. What was your first job?
A&W car hop, Rock Island, Ill.
2. How did you get into this business/industry?
I began selling real estate when I moved to St. Helena in 1993. All my life I was interested in real estate and after 14 years working in marketing-driven business sectors I was ready to put my experience to work for myself.
3. Why focus on selling vineyards and wineries?
It is the economic backbone of our valley. And it’s the most exciting area of the industry for me, personally. I am always watching the worldwide wine market and what is going on and how it affects what happens in Napa Valley and Willamette Valley …
4. Why add the new branding and business development services?
We wanted to add my son’s hands-on expertise at winemaking, positioning and production management into our consulting mix. Immediately clients were drawn to it.
5. What is the biggest challenge your business/industry has faced?
The biggest challenge today is finding supply for clients looking to shore up their future fruit demand.
6. If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
Trust the journey. And think bigger. That’s really the name of the game. The bigger you can think — that’s where you’re going to go.
7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
I would like to be involved in the creation of a Napa Valley Robert Mondavi museum. I’m hoping we can get that going.
8. What would that museum be like?
If money was no object, a lovely 3,000 square-foot space that looks like the Robert Mondavi Winery.
Something simple, open, light; that was filled with photographs and artifacts of his history. It would also be a history of the valley. A refuge, an oasis. Maybe like the Museum of Modern Art where you could have a bite and glass of wine and sit and reflect on the past.
9. If you could change one thing about your industry what would it be?
I’d say let’s all just consume one more bottle of wine a week worldwide and keep the momentum going.
10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I love warm water. My husband and I took a year off from 2005 to 2006 and sailed down the Caribbean chain to Venezuela.