Vintner Spotlight: Dick Grace, Co-Founder of Grace Family Vineyards
We’re very pleased to announce that Ann and Dick Grace, co-founders of Grace Family Vineyards in St. Helena, California, will be a Featured Luncheon Vintner at our three-day festival, starting Friday, January 29. These two special guests are very dear to our hearts, as we owe them a debt of gratitude for inspiring the creation of Meet The Kids Day. We recently spoke with Dick Grace, who is both philanthropic and humorous. Here are some of the interesting stories he kindly shared.
What was your first job in the wine industry?
I started the winery in 1976 as a family hobby. I then transitioned into the wine business with the mission of using wines as a catalyst for healing our planet. I decided to run the winery, in large part, for the benefit of children worldwide.
How many years have you participated in the Naples Winter Wine Festival? What is your fondest moment from those years?
My wife, Ann and I were the first Honored Vintners at the inaugural Naples Winter Wine Festival in 2001. We have attended every event since. The best moment of every year is Meet The Kids Day. Ann and I have helped started this tradition and it is, to us, the most important part of the three-day event because the emphasis on the actual children in need. We are all pretty amazing if given the chance to be amazing. Meet The Kids Day is what differentiates the Naples Winter Wine Festival from all other charitable events.
If you could share a bottle of wine with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would be the Dalai Lama, as neither of us consumes alcohol we would probably share a Pellegrino. Why, because the Dalai Lama and I share a vision of a harmonious, just and peaceful planet.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
The moment I realized at a very deep level that there is no they and that we are all precisely equal. I believe that the circle of life should have all of us standing inside the circle—and no one standing on the outside. I see us all as bozos on the bus.
What is your preference, wine with food or wine on its own?
I have not drank for 27 years, but if I were to drink again it would be a 1980 Grace Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon with wild duck.
What do you like to do in Naples, Florida?
Spend time with the kids that benefit from the Naples Children & Education Foundation, founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival. The Festival has done such a fantastic job. My wife and I keep in touch many of the kids we meet at Meet The Kids Day throughout the year. It is so great to see what these children have, and will, achieve.
When are you happiest?
“The happiest I am is when showing magic to youngsters who are vastly underserved or dealing with health challenges. To see their joy is my greatest joy.”
In closing, Dick wanted to remind everyone reading this blog to be kind and OPTIMYSTIC!