Violet Grgich, daughter of Miljenko “Mike” Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate, essentially grew up in the wine business.
“From the time I was walking, my father used to bring me with him on the weekends to all the wineries he worked at,” Grgich recalled.
“When we founded Grgich Hills, he wanted to make sure that I learned the business properly,” she said.
“It was very natural.”
1. What are some of the jobs you’ve done at the winery?
Any and every job — from working in the cellar and the laboratory to accounting and hosting people in the tasting room.
I worked on weekends and summer when I was in school, but I officially joined the winery full time in 1988.
2. What is the biggest challenge the wine industry has faced?
A mixture of competition, consolidation and compliance.
3. If you could change one thing, what would it be?
The complexity of doing business today has made it onerous for midsize wineries like ours to thrive.
The closest distance between two points is a straight line, and due to the aforementioned mixture of competition, consolidation and compliance, the points between winery and consumer have become so complex that they are barriers to success, rather than adding value.
4. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Every day, I find more to admire about my father and what he has accomplished.
5. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
A completely organized house that stays organized.
6. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I earned a Master of Music in harpsichord at Indiana University and also play accordion.
7. What’s on your to-do list?
Spend more time with my family, perform several concerts a year, and kayak under the Golden Gate Bridge.
8. What was your childhood ambition?
Too many things! Writer, musician, astronomer, geneticist, costume designer, Olympic sprinter…
9. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
As of this week: (Composer) Claudio Monteverdi, Galileo, Katharine Hepburn.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
My two favorite places are here in Napa Valley and at our winery, Grgić Vina, in Croatia, which is located literally right on the gorgeous Adriatic Sea.