A native of Denmark, Henrik Poulsen was trained and educated in fine wine retail in Copenhagen before setting out on a mission to achieve the prestigious title Master of Wine.
This pursuit initially lead him to France for a 13-month stay in Bordeaux prior to arriving in the Napa Valley. Poulsen was the assistant winemaker at Alpha Omega Winery before joining Acumen Wine in 2013.
Today, he is director of winemaking/executive manager at Acumen.
1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
If it can’t be my parents and brother in Denmark I think it could’ve been fun to hang out with Albert Einstein, Katharine Hepburn and Sean Connery. Something soothing for mind, eyes and ears. In that order.
2. What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Being a test-driver for Koenigsegg cars. If just for one day!
Not try: Being a recruit for Navy SEALs (I have the utmost respect for those guys but wouldn’t last 30 seconds myself).
3. What was your first job?
Aside from delivering invoices for my father’s company when I was 8, my first “real” job was as a delivery boy for a local grocery in my hometown in Denmark.
4. How did you get into the wine industry?
My parents introduced me to good wine and fine food at an early age. And while I completed engineer studies at age 24, I think I somehow knew I was destined for the wine (food) business all along.
One of my best jobs before joining the wine business was at age 14 as a chef’s assistant.
5. What is the biggest challenge the wine industry has faced?
In the past: probably a bit of “upper class snobbiness” surrounding the enjoyment of wine. Wine is for everybody.
Currently: the negative opposition that seems inevitable to any (new) winery project in Napa.
6. What’s on your to-do list?
Winning the Lotto and spread some joy (other than wine). The biggest joy is TO GIVE. It may sound like an “egoistic altruism” but it should be a win-win, don’t you think?
7. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Any innovative business owner/leader that truly understands that employees are the most valuable asset of a company.
Skilled, devoted and happy employees are worth gold. Literally.
8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Get Acumen Wine placed on every three-star Michelin restaurant in the world.
9. If you could change one thing about the wine industry, what would it be?
Make the world understand that U.S. wines generally (and Napa in particular) are of VERY high quality and easily can stand their own ground.
We shouldn’t compare ourselves to any other region in the world except for quality. As such, we’re unique and often better!
10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Being a bit of a rebel in my early years, I started living by myself around age 14 and finally flew my parents’ nest when I was 17.