Wine Success Insider: Peggy Fiandaca – LDV Winery

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WINERY SUCCESS INSIDER: PEGGY FINADACA – LDV WINERY

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: First episode of the new Big Blend Radio “Wine Time with Peggy” series featuring Peggy Fiandaca, who along with her winemaker husband Curt Lawrence Dunham, owns and operates LDV Winery in Arizona. This new series will air every 1st Wednesday at 4pm PT / 7pm ET. Watch here in the YouTube player or listen/download the podcast on Spreaker, Soundcloud, or Podbean.

 

Peggy Fiandaca is the co-owner and brand manager of LDV Winery in Arizona. You can hear her every 1st Wednesday on the Big Blend Radio “Wine Time with Peggy” Show where she talks about wine pairings, tasting, different varietals, harvest season, and more.

From transforming cities to nurturing grapes, serendipity describes the LDV Winery evolution. As professional community and strategic planners, LDV owners Peggy Fiandaca and Curt Dunham made a career assisting clients in creating successful plans. A strong game plan is vital in any industry, but more importantly, success results from responding to possibilities. That life journey of possibilities is what led Fiandaca and Dunham to develop a vineyard in southeastern Arizona that is now producing distinctive, hand-crafted wines.

Fiandaca and Dunham, long-time wine collectors, have found the magic of the “grape to glass” journey intriguing. From wine collecting and thinking about retiring, to finding the perfect land in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, their vineyard/winemaking adventure began in the most serendipitous way.

Wine is a character actor in every Italian family. The Fiandaca family emigrated from Sicily to a Chicago Italian neighborhood. Peggy’s mom’s father, William Hogan, was a well-known bootlegger in Kentucky during Prohibition. With this kind of heritage, her urban planning career was a sidestep on the road to growing grapes and producing wines.

Every day brings a new experience in the vineyard or winery where her creativity, knowledge, and patience are challenged. Watching someone taste wine and identify the flavor characteristics for the first time or examine a vine closely with a new appreciation for its role in producing that wine, provides her with great satisfaction. That connection to the land, our environment, and to each other is what this winemaking journey is all about.  Learn more at https://ldvwinery.com/

So, what does it take to be successful in the world of wine? Check out Peggy Fiandaca’s answers to our 10 Wine Expert Insider Questions about her career, including the challenges she faces, as well as her inspirations.

What led you to join the wine industry?
Looking for my second act in life. I had a successful urban planning consulting career and was thinking about retiring when I found a way to connect my passion for all things wine to my second act.

What attributes do you have that make you a good fit for owning, running, and marketing a winery and tasting room?
I have been a successful business owner for over 30 years. As a consultant, I was always interviewing for my next project, educating clients and the public about future direction or strategy, and helping groups reach positive consensus. Effective communication, education and learning, and storytelling are all skills honed during my previous profession that has served me well in the wine business.

Who or what inspires you?
The Who – my husband Curt Dunham. He is the vineyard manager and winemaker. He went from never even making a kit-wine to winning a double gold medal this year from the San Francisco Chronicle’s North American Wine Competition. If we sold grapes (which we do not), we would have a line at the gate for grapes because the LDV vineyard is one of the finest in Arizona. He has learned so much and continues to expand his knowledge daily.

The What – Nature. Every vintage is different because of the “terroir” or the natural environment impacting the vineyard – from the cold air that drifts down the Chiricahua Mountains through Ash Creek to how the volcanic soils impact the journey the grapes make from the vineyard to the glass – it is truly amazing.

Describe your ideal clients.
Someone that is inquisitive and interested in learning more about wine. And someone that understands and is willing to purchase a hand-crafted product like LDV Winery wine.

What is your biggest pet peeve in your industry?
The lack of understanding that if one business is successful and produces a high-quality product, it benefits everyone else. All boats rise!

What personal changes have you had to make to build your career?
My Midwest upbringing taught me that success is the result of hard work, and nothing is handed to you. I tell young people starting out in their career, always say “Yes” to any opportunity or project offered to you. Be the first to raise your hand and say I will do it. I was that person and it allowed me to work on incredible projects and learn so much more.

What do you consider your biggest challenge?
Staying true to the LDV Winery brand and differentiating it in a very crowded market. Selling wine to new audiences.

If you could invite any three people (alive or passed on) to dinner (with your wine of course), who would they be?
Of course, my husband, Curt Dunham. The other three are:
James Molesworth – He was the first person at Wine Spectator to review LDV Winery wine. He rates all Rhone varietal wines in the world for WS.
– Thomas Keller – Currently holds seven Michelin stars in total: three at Per Se, three at The French Laundry, and one at Bouchon.
– Giada De Laurentis – A brand herself! Italian chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and Food Network star.

What is the most important tip you would pass on to another person just getting started in the world of wine?
It is like the tip people give when someone wants to buy a boat. Don’t buy the boat, know someone that owns one and become a close friend. Same thing as owning a winery. But if you must own a vineyard/winery like we do, “get to know your spot and build from there.” Let your terroir guide your venture. And never think you know everything. Farming and winemaking will keep you Humble! Keep learning.

 

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