As the calendar ticks closer to that manliest of holidays rife with gifted neckties, we decided to shine the spotlight on three wine industry fathers who have inspired their sons to follow suit.
Long Shadows Vintners
Allen Shoup (founder and managing partner), Dane Narbaitz (president and Bellevue Club member), Ryan Shoup (tasting room manager)
Allen Shoup casts a long shadow, indeed. Not only was he the CEO at Chateau Ste. Michelle (CSM) for two decades, where he grew revenues from $5 million to $175 million, but it was under his guidance that the Columbia Valley appellation was named and registered. Shoup earned both the Lifetime Achievement Award from Sunset magazine and “Personality of the Year” from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. And somewhere in all that achievement, Shoup built a marriage with wife Kathleen and raised two boys—his stepson Dane Narbaitz and son Ryan.
As sons of an acclaimed winemaker, Dane and Ryan were encouraged to taste wine at the family dinner table, but both claim they had close to zero interest in the subject until after college.
“I’m not going to lie,” says Ryan. “The winemaking process initially seemed very boring,” though he does remember being fascinated by watching the bottling line and forklift operations while his father worked at CSM—that and following the peacocks around the estate.
Dane agrees. “As a child, everything about wine was boring.” But now that he is older and involved in the business, he considers the winemaking process to be the most exciting part of what they do.
Dane started his career as a graphic designer working for one of the leading wine packaging firms in California before transitioning to account management and sales with Kendall-Jackson, then becoming Northwest regional manager for the Robert Mondavi Corporation before joining the family business at Long Shadows Vintners.
Allen and Kathleen never pressured their sons into joining the wine industry.
“Their mother and I wanted them to be well educated, working at what they enjoyed and experiencing the rewards that would result from that process,” says Allen. But when even your sons describe you as a “pioneer” in an industry, the allure must be contagious.
After a year of working on packaging designs and helping to develop the Nine Hats label, Ryan was hooked. “I fell in love with our brand and know how special our winery is due to my father’s vision and execution. Now that I manage our tasting room, I get to tell people the story of our winery every day, which is awesome.”
“I feel lucky to have someone with his experience and knowledge as my mentor,” says Dane. “His teachings about wine were always meant to be educational . . . mainly to help me to develop an appreciation for wine and food together, rather than to encourage or prepare me for a career in the wine industry. I want the same for my children. Regardless of what they decide to pursue as a career, they will at least have a solid understanding of wine.”
Family tradition: It’s true what they say—it takes a lot of beer to make wine. In this family’s case, the beer better be cold (Ryan), dark (Allen), and craft (Dane). Or, as Long Shadows’ Randy Dunn prefers, the beer should actually be tequila.
Novelty Hill / Januik Winery
Andrew Januik Wines
The Washington wine community is something of a “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon” puzzle where Kevin Bacon is actually Chateau Ste. Michelle (CSM). Look closely enough and most of the “Who’s Who” have put in time at the state’s iconic winery. Mike Januik is no exception with a decade of CSM experience. Wine Enthusiast magazine named him one of the world’s 10 “Masters of Merlot,” and Januik has claimed hundreds of 90+ ratings. During the 1990s, he reimagined CSM’s winemaking program, implementing single-vineyard-designated wines and its reserve program.
So when Januik went solo in 1999, it is no surprise the Januik Winery label was a huge success. It was also at that time that he began making wine for Novelty Hill. Of his two sons, it was Andrew who caught the spark while filling barrels during middle school. The younger Januik remembers carrying “thank-you” wine to school in his backpack destined for teachers at the end of the school year.
Andrew says he quickly became interested in the winemaking process, partly because of the hands-on work involved.
“It truly is an activity with constant motion and action, which for a teenager is very appealing and helps keep away boredom while working,” says Andrew.
During one of his first harvests, Andrew was deeply impressed by the sense of community within an industry where everyone works hard and leans on each other for support.
“Wine has given my family and me an outlet to be creative with each other and to share in a common goal, which I feel brings us closer together,” says Andrew. He feels lucky to consistently spend time with his family even now that he is grown.
Mike echoes the sentiment saying that spending time with Andrew and his friends gives him a sense of hope about the world.
Family tradition: During harvest, the whole cellar team gets together in the lab at the end of the day (even if it’s 1:00 a.m.) and drinks a beer or two—a communal thing that Andrew claims makes the industry unique. Andrew’s generation seems to be partial to NW microbrews such as Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed IPA, but since Mike is the one stocking the fridge, he makes sure to have plenty of low-hopped European-style beers on hand.
Quilceda Creek Vintners
Alex Golitzen (founder), Paul Golitzen (winemaker)
With a background in chemical engineering, a passion for wine and a famous winemaking uncle (André Tchelistcheff of Napa Valley) to show him the trade, Alex Golitzen had all the ingredients for a successful winery. In 1979, when his son Paul was about 9 years old, Golitzen made his first vintage of 150 cases. A few years later, the family took a trip to Bordeaux, where a chateau owner treated them to a luncheon and wine tasting.
“As we left the chateau, Paul turned to me and said, ‘Boy, Dad, I really like this lifestyle,’” recalls Alex. Paul confirms that saying this was when he truly fell in love with the idea of becoming a winemaker.
In 1988, 18-year-old Paul asked his dad if he could test out some new techniques with a few barrels. “He’s very experimental and always trying to push the envelope,” says Alex.
Though Paul went on to study economics at UW, his heart was always at the winery. Alex bestows high praise, saying eventually father studied under son. “He’s a much finer winemaker than I ever was,” says Alex. “He has a world-class palate. Paul is the one who made Quilceda Creek what it is today.”
As a quick refresher course, Paul Golitzen earned perfect 100-point scores from Wine Advocate on the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Quilceda Creek cabernet sauvignon vintages—the first winery to achieve this honor in Washington State. Those scores carried the winery through the 2008 recession, says Alex.
Paul claims that the winery’s vertical integration of the vineyard land is what sets Quilceda Creek Vintners apart from the pack.
“It’s basically a farm-to-table experience that you can’t get from any other property, and I would love to hand it down to my daughter, Maya, as a third-generation owner/winemaker if she so chooses,” says Paul.
Family tradition: Once a week, the family and employees get together to taste the finest wines in the market in order to develop their collective palates. “It’s an expensive proposition,” says Alex, “but the only way you learn something is to taste the very best the world has to offer.”