The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

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Page 36 of 128

36 / the tasting panel / march 2014 BEVFORCE HOT SHOT THE TASTING PANEL: How would you define Rodney Strong's culture and what attracted you to it? Robert Mateicka: It was the people who attracted me to Rodney Strong; how they talk about the Klein family and what they stand for in terms of commitment to quality. They are really excited about making and selling the best wines from Sonoma County. During my interviews, I observed how the people that worked there were really excited about what they did every day. They also took a deep interest in my family and what I was passionate about in my career development. TTP: What are your plans to further develop the busi- ness over the next year? RM: First, ensure we have the strongest possible rela- tionships with our distribution and retail partners in New Jersey and Delaware. Second, drive profitable growth of the Rodney Strong Estates portfolio through great execu- tion on our luxury wines, with a focus in the on-premise. TTP: What was the best career advice you've ever been given and who gave it to you? RM: "Do something you love," my father would always tell me growing up. I started drinking wine about five years ago, and I love it. So sticking with that advice, Rodney Strong has given me an opportunity to sell what I love and learn a lot more about wine and the industry. TTP: What advice would you give to job seekers looking for their next role? RM: Don't stand still. Stretch yourself. If you are too comfortable where you currently work, take on a new challenge. If you are bored with what you do, get a new job. If you hate what you do, change careers. TTP: What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from mentors in the industry? RM: Be yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not. Listen before you speak. This will help in all walks of life: selling, arguments, negotiations and building relationships. TTP: If you didn't work in the beverage industry, what would you be doing? RM: Teaching and coaching. I was teaching in Boston before I got into the beverage industry. I know for a fact that is what I would be doing because I still think back about the kids I had in my classes and wonder how they are doing now. It taught me about the effect you can make on someone's life if you put a lot of effort in your job. TTP: If you weren't drinking a Rodney Strong Reserve Pinot, you would be drinking a . . . RM: Davis Bynum 2011 Jane's Vineyard Pinot Noir. PHOTO: EMILE WAMSTEKER Robert Mateicka DISTRICT MANAGER, RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS E ach month we check in with one BevForce Mover & Shaker to provide you with some behind-the-scenes insight on the job search process, the beverage industry's most innovative companies and the executives who drive them. This month, we chatted with Robert Mateicka, who was recently named District Manager at Rodney Strong Vineyards. He had been Division Sales Manager at Red Bull.

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