Liquid Assets: The Beverage of ChampionsFebruary 04, 2010 Posted by: Raymond Nasr, C.S.
Fleming Jenkins Choreography, Napa Valley Cabernet Blend
On the eve of her departure for the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming Jenkins spoke to Liquid Assets columnist and SVB Director of Wine Programs, Raymond Nasr, about her winery, the love of winemaking and the parallels with figure skating.
SVB: What are some of the parallels between world-class figure skating and premium winemaking? Obviously there is the necessary combination of athleticism and the art, but what else is necessary to compete on the world stage?
Jenkins: Both require a long-term dedication and focus, willingness to expand one’s repertoire, and an ability to blend the technical side with artistic creativity. One can’t become a world-class figure skater or a respected winery overnight. I’ve always set my standards high, and continue to do so with our winemaking.
SVB: From a business standpoint, how does your ownership of the Fleming Jenkins brand along with your husband influence the markets that FJ targets? Are fans of FJ wines defined by certain demographics? When you won a gold medal, did you ever imagine it would translate into building a successful Los Gatos winery?
Jenkins: First, we’ve always acknowledged that there is a celebrity side to our winery, but that’s a lot different from being a “vanity winery”. By that I mean that we are fully engaged with all aspects of winegrowing — our estate Chardonnay vineyard is at our home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, my husband, Greg, is full time winemaker\ and we manage our winery’s tasting room in downtown Los Gatos.
Second, we don’t look to build our brand on the celebrity angle — it’s the quality of the wine in the bottle that sells our wine and drives our brand, not the name on the label. Demographically, it runs the full spectrum and that’s fine with us.
I won the Gold Medal while still a teenager, and had no idea where my life’s journey would take me. Creating our winery has been a very satisfactory step since our wines can be, and will be, enjoyed for years to come. As far as I know, I’m the only Olympian who produces wine....Read More