My story? The abridged version… I am the 9th and youngest child of Marion (Cole) and Vallie Stone from Lawler, Iowa. I started, own, and manage cru9; a California micro-winery. Iowa is still home with my husband and 3 sons, and several furry family members. But I am fortunate to travel frequently to California to do the work I love and spend time with my awesome California cousins. I love my home, Iowa…yes, even winter. California and the vines are a close second though.
How does an Iowa farm girl get involved with the fine wine business? It’s fairly surreal to me. Had anyone said to me 29 years ago I’d be going back and forth to California all by myself to run my own winery, I would have called them a complete nutter. At 18 years old, I had not even flown on an airplane. Well oh my, how things do change! Get your ruby slippers on Dorothy, we are not on the yellow brick road anymore.
I had a few other business startups under my belt and I’m the kind of person who wants to know the “nuts and bolts” of things; the details behind the end. Understanding the nuances of wine meant understanding how climate, soil and “place” impact wine quality. I traveled to the great wine regions of California.
My first entre into the business was through the retail side of things, Legs (my wine by the bottle mercantile) and through my husband’s wholesale wine distributorship. This gave me insight into the three tier system and the unique nature of how wine is sold in the USA. It also enabled me to discover and get to know many small high end producers which gave me a look at small lot, craft winemaking.
This real world education has culminated in my inaugural release of: