When asked how she got into the wine business, Mayacamas Olds had an easy reply:
“I was born into it!”
This Napa Valley native was born and raised on Mt. Veeder, she explained.
“My parents worked within the wine industry and my father started Sky Vineyards three years before I was born,” she said.
“The wine world is part of who I am.”
Following tenures at Newton Vineyards and Huneeus Vintners, Olds is now the general manager of Gloria Ferrer in the Carneros AVA.
1. What's the story behind your first name?
My mother wanted to name me Joaquin but ultimately my father named me after the mountains in which I was born and raised. However, he was also making wine at Mayacamas Winery. Mayacamas was a huge part of my sister and I’s childhood. We spent much of our weekends and summers between Sky and Mayacamas vineyards. It is still part of our lives and we continue to be close with the amazing team that is there today.
2. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
This is an easy question! Carl Sagan, my all-time favorite scientist. He was an amazing astronomer, astrophysicist, astrobiologist and author.
Both of my grandmothers were tremendous influences in my life and they are missed every day.
3. What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Doctor or a nurse practitioner. I particularly would want to work in countries and regions that need modern medicine and health education.
Not try: I don’t have a personal interest in technology and so I leave that to the professionals!
4. What was your first job?
My very first job was the labeling line for my father’s winery, Sky Vineyards, and other vineyard/cellar chores.
My first and one of the very few non-wine-related jobs was working the morning shift at Artisan Bakery in Sonoma when it first opened. I was responsible for brewing the coffee and prepping muffins for the early bird customers.
I truly loved being up early and being around the amazing aromas and warmth of the Ponsford’s fabulous bread and treats in the oven didn’t hurt either!
5. What was your childhood ambition?
Having spent so much time with my paternal grandmother, Betty Olds, I was always interested in wanting to protect and serve my community.
At one point during my childhood, I wanted to be a police officer, firefighter, and a translator for the UN.
6. What is the biggest challenge the wine industry has faced?
I think climate change is currently and will continue to be our biggest challenge. The farming side of the business as well as our supply chains heavily rely on good conditions that no longer exist globally.
As an industry, we need to focus on resilient farming methods to ensure the long-term viability of our vineyards and finding ways to support more local supply chains to deal with instability around the world.
7. What’s on your to-do list?
I have a ridiculous number of books on my to-read list and I hope one day, I can travel across Africa, Canada and Russia by train so I can experience these places by train and check these experiences off my list.
8. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Manfred Max Neef was a Chilean economist, who was a brilliant thinker, strategist, and speaker. Among other things, he wrote about new ways to view economics; how countries determine financial success, around resident’s happiness and health versus GDP.
9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I am pretty much an open book and for the most part, try to be. With that said, I would say that people are generally surprised to find I’ve always had an unconventional path. For example, I dropped out of high school but completed my Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science and an MBA in Sustainable Corporate Management.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
There is no greater feeling than working on my vineyard, orchard and cellar at home on Mt. Veeder. I often find myself out working in the vineyards of Gloria Ferrer to help fulfill this need.