Napa Valley Life Magazine - Winter 2019 Edition

Page 48



n Kelly Carter’s wall hangs an art piece that reads ‘She believed she could so she did.’ It’s her motto of sorts. “One of my sorority sisters always introduces me to others as the one person she knows who does everything she says she’s going to do,” says Carter, director of communications for Alpha Omega winery. Goal-oriented since youth, Carter decided at age 11 to become a sportswriter. Despite the discouragement of a USC journalism professor, she became the first female beat writer to cover the Lakers. When Carter decided to move to Europe, she ended up living in Positano and Florence for more than two years. When she decided to write a book, she moved to New York City and landed a contract to co-author a book with Venus Williams. Later, she was asked by National Geographic Books to write its first dog travel guide. More recently, while editor at Haute Living San Francisco, Carter opted to move to Napa to pursue a communications consulting business and was quickly recruited to Alpha Omega by owners Robin and Michelle Baggett. “I used to drive by Alpha Omega, envying the people on the terrace, wanting to be there myself,” said Carter. “It looked so fun! And now I do sit down with Wine Club members, media, friends, etc., and taste wine as part of my profession. People tell me I’m lucky to have lived in the places that I have and to have done what I’ve done. But it’s not luck. It’s creating a plan, visualizing and not just telling yourself that you can do it but believing it.” Photo by Lowell Downey/Art & Clarity

Photo by Bob McClenahan



apa Valley vintner Dave Phinney is no ordinary winemaker. And now, he’s no ordinary distiller. Prolific in his creation of new and extraordinarily popular wine brands and labels, the original founder of The Prisoner and Orin Swift wines has set his sights on the spirits world, and he’s selected Vallejo’s Mare Island as his muse. Working within three historic remodeled buildings on the former Naval base, Phinney produces whiskey, rye, and bourbon at his Savage & Cooke distillery – a moniker he selected in honor of the two surnames he continued to encounter while perusing Mare Island’s archives. He attributes his innovative nature to his parents, who, when Phinney was young, insisted on touring him through some of the world’s greatest museums. Fittingly, his Prisoner wine label featured a Goya etching. “During vacations, my mom and dad made me and my brother trek through museums in the morning before catering to our more youthful interests in the afternoons,” said Phinney, whose yuppie style belies his edgy and intense creativity. “At the time, we didn’t like it much, but now I do associate that early art exposure with my active imagination and desire to create.” Phinney would one day like to own Mare Island outright; he’s got a team actively studying the possibility. His dream is to turn it into a desirable destination – a grittier and edgier Yountville if you will, with restaurants, a winery, and wine tasting rooms, a coffee roastery, retail, and artisan studios that reflect the area’s historic/cuttingedge duality. The bones are there; it’s innovation and inspiration that are required – and both are Phinney specialties. Photo by Margaret Pattillo



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