From an early age, Ryan was taught to appreciate the hard work and toil of agriculture and farming. With his parents being farmers and deeply involved in Napa Valley viticulture, he grew up with the appreciation that is hard to understand. It comes from an inherent knowledge that the land, the vine, the people, and the family are all part of the terroir. These all become “one” and produce the wines he grew up with. He knew this background was in him and it only became a natural path that he ended up in the culmination of joining the family business.
After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, Ryan enjoyed a successful career working in the culinary arts in San Francisco. With experience in both the glamour (front of the house) and the trenches (the back of the house), he found many similarities to how people perceive wine. Most people only enjoy the front, but when the back is understood, the appreciation for the wine becomes an emotional attachment.
His experiences in restaurants, paired with his love and early appreciation for wine, gave birth to a dream of one day creating his own wine. After years spent being part of chasing others’ dreams, it was time to delve in to his own.
During a trip abroad with Cousin David, after being told many falsehoods about wine and other aspects in life, he knew what he wanted to produce and realized it was time for that dream to come to fruition. Upon his return, he has solely focused his efforts towards this dream and spearheads the production of the Weinhorn wines.
Entrepreneur, David Duckhorn, has been in the wine business his entire life. Beginning with his upbringing in St. Helena, Napa Valley, California, David participated in all aspects of his family's winery, Duckhorn Vineyards. His participation in the winery’s growth, during the 1970’s and 1980’s framed his desire to focus on agri-business. David graduated with a BS in Agricultural Finance from California State University in Fresno, in 1991. Realizing that the Achilles heel of the wine business is access to capital, David spent the next two years as an Assistant Vice-President at Bank of America managing loans to agricultural firms. His “insider” knowledge of how banks oversee their lending practices and working with growing businesses greatly enhanced his practical ability to manage agri-businesses, especially capital-intensive wineries. David then combined this practical experience with further education and in 1996 earned his Masters in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley - Walter A. Haas School of Business and returned to work with the family business in the role of Chief Financial Officer for the next four years.
In 2000, David was recruited by a long-time friend to assist in taking a technology company, Capstone Turbine, public. In his role as Controller, David brought together numerous research sites and built the financial team that accomplished a successful IPO. The wine industry, however, beckoned and David returned to the Napa Valley to work with at a small, family winery. During the next four years, David immersed himself in the day-to-day operations of a small winery, as he worked in every capacity from the vineyard to the visitor center. With additional coursework at the University of California at Davis, David took his first foray into hands-on winemaking.
In 2005, David was enticed to oversee the operations of Via Pacifica Selections, a company founded in New Zealand involved in the wine importing. In 2006, Via Pacifica opened its first office in Shanghai, China, to participate in the developing China wine market. For over ten years, David slowly increased his time commitment to China and made Shanghai his permanent residence. Following a number or years of organic growth combined with a few acquisitions, Via Pacifica expanded into many markets, including the operations of multiple wine bars.
In 2018, David’s Napa Valley roots and family called him home and into the next chapter of his life, Weinhorn Estates and the Et Cetera Wine…