Tune in as Ute and Ali chat with Jessica Mozeico, owner and winemaker of Et Fille Wines in Newberg, Oregon. A heartwarming episode about business, wine, family, and love. You don’t want to miss this!
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Full episode transcript:
Ute: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Thru the Grapewine podcast. We are your hosts, Ute.
Ali: And Ali!
Ute: Today’s guest, Jessica. And now I should have asked you for your last name or how to pronounce it, because I’m gonna butcher it. So how do you pronounce your last name?
Jessica Mozeico: Mozeico.
Ute: Mozeico. I love that. So Jessica is the owner of Et Fille Wines in Newberg, Oregon.
She watched her dad make wine in their garage when she was just a child, which is so cool. After pursuing a career in biotechnology marketing, what? And starting a company, Jessica shifted gears and went into business with her father, Howard. The why and how we’re going to find out from Jessica herself.
We’re so excited to have you here, Jessica. Welcome.
Jessica Mozeico: Thank you. I’ve been listening to the show, so I’m, I’m honored to be here. Thanks for having me.
Ute: Awesome. Wonderful. Well, Ali, do you wanna get us started?
Ali: Yeah. Jessica, could you give us a quick rundown of how you went from a child watching your dad make wine to a corporate career? And then finally to owner of Et Fille?
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, Ali. It was a very circuitous path, but my pathway into wine was entirely because of family. As you mentioned, I grew up helping my dad make wine, which was his passion. It was really just a hobby. He was a software engineer and on the weekends he loved to make wine out of our small backyard vineyard, and I always helped him, which is translation for I cleaned a lot of things. But wine was never on my radar at all as a career. I was a science major in undergrad and really wanted to pursue science. I realized during my senior year that I was spending a lot of time in labs with mice, and so wanted to focus on the business side of science.
So I went into healthcare consulting and then went to graduate school for business and then went into biotechnology. But when I was working in biotechnology in San Francisco, my dad, who had been pursuing this passion of winemaking for 20 years, called me and said, “So I have an idea. I think we should start a winery together.”
And I said, “That’s a great idea. You should go do that.”
And he said, “No, I think we should do it.” And so we started the winery 20 years ago. So everything that I learned from winemaking was entirely from my dad. And we did that together for 14 years until he passed away unexpectedly. So now I’m the sole owner and winemaker making wines that are inspired by his legacy and my daughter’s future.
So it was entirely a learn it by doing it approach.
Ute: That sounds so amazing. Honestly. And, and it must have been so amazing to work with your dad and, and you know, I’m trying to imagine this with my dad and I, I honestly, I can’t! Was it easy to be in business with him or was there some headbutting going on between the two of you?
Jessica Mozeico: You know, it was, aside from my daughter, the best gift I’ve ever had in my life. It was an absolute privilege, and I have so many terrific memories of us kind of driving around to vineyards together, inside jokes because we were together all the time kind of day in and day out. And so we just, it was, it was a tremendous privilege.
When you talk about headbutting, I think that when you are in business with your family, you need to know when are you relating to one another as father and daughter, and when are you relating to one another as business partners. So there’s, you just need to learn when to shift gears. And there’s little ways that we learn to do it.
One of the ways is that back when we had landlines, remember that? I would call him either on the business cell phone or on the his home office line. Depending on how I wanted to relate. Did I wanna talk about work or did I wanna talk about life? And we would kind of give each other permission to do that.
There would be times where we’d be at dinner and we’d say, “Can we talk about work for about 10 minutes? And then let’s get back to being father and daughter.” You know, we didn’t butt heads. I would say that we resolved conflict in a way it wasn’t necessarily compromise, it was defaulting to whoever it mattered most to.
So in the case where we would have a difference of opinion, whether it was of a certain wine or, you know, we would do blending. We did all of the wine making together. So maybe in blending decisions we’d have a conflict of “I think this blend A is perfect and you want to go with blend B,” we would default to, well who does it matter more to?
There were certain vineyards and certain wines that one of us was more perhaps predisposed to than others. And so we would learn how to just kind of default to the other, say, “You know what? You make this call and take charge with that.”
Ute: That does sound amazing. I honestly, like I said, I cannot imagine doing that with my dad, like at all.
I love my dad. But my dad is very much a person who needs to be in charge. And the thing is, so do I. I’m that person. I need to be in charge. And, I just don’t know that we’d be really good working with each other. Like I am happy to spend time with him and, you know, he will organize hikes out there in Germany, but you know, when I’m there, he’ll organize the hikes. He’ll organize, you know, where we’re gonna go and eat and, and the things that we’re gonna do, which is great. I kind of just let him take the lead. But in business. Wow. We could not do that.
Jessica Mozeico: Well, yeah. I mean, Ute, I think that one thing is it definitely wouldn’t work for all family dynamics. Another thing is that I was 30 when we started the winery together, so I had already had a couple of experiences, you know, grad school, jobs, of things that I was pretty good at. So I, maybe I had some credibility or some experiences that I brought to the table. So it made it a little bit easier. I mean, I was starting with a blank slate on the wine making side. I didn’t know anything, so I had to do everything that he told me to do, which, you know, as a 30 year old is a little bit humbling.
But that’s, it just was a lesson in humility, I think.
Ute: For sure.
Ali: And that’s something coming from, I’m, I’m more focused on production side of wineries, wine industry. And that’s something that you mentioned, you just kind of learned it on the job, on the go kind of thing.
And that is pretty much, I think every cellar, like you can enter a cellar and not know anything, and you’re gonna learn quick because you’re gonna be hands-on the whole time.
Jessica Mozeico: Yeah, totally. And Ali, I know you’ve interned for harvest. Whatnot. That’s totally the way to do it. The way I interned the wine industry, I would not necessarily recommend because, I mean, I learned it by doing it, but it’s also you’re making costly mistakes because it’s your thing. As opposed to learning on someone else’s dime sometimes.
So it definitely framed how we did things, though. I mean, I don’t have, I don’t have an academic background in viticulture or enology. I never went back to graduate school for that. I never interned anywhere else.
I’ve just been doing it for 20 years now. So I don’t necessarily have the perspective of, oh, well, at such and such place, we did it this way. So…
Ute: Well, I admire that. I really do.
Jessica Mozeico: Yeah, it’s a, it’s an expensive way to do it.
Ali: I’m sure very nerve-wracking.
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, yes. I remember one time I can’t remember what year it was, maybe it was like 2007, and my dad said, “All right, you make the call.”
And I’m standing there looking at a fermentor thinking, “Okay, that’s about a hundred thousand dollars in there. So if I make the wrong call, that’s a very costly mistake.”
Ute: Oh gosh.
Ali: Yeah. Yeah. You have to watch it go down the drain or something.
Jessica Mozeico: Right. Right, right.
Ali: Painful. Painful.
I know from your website that, you guys are certified, a Certified B Corporation. Was that something, a couple questions in this one. Was that something that was really important to you or to your dad or to both of you going into this? And then also can you explain to our listeners what Certified B Corp means and what it takes to get there?
Jessica Mozeico: Sure. Absolutely. So B Corp is a designation that a company meets kind of the highest verified standards of environmental and social impact.
It’s a third party accreditation of business practices. What it means is that it’s a company that is made a commitment to being in business for purpose, and people not just profit. So I did it because I started realizing that I saw this B Corp logo on a lot of items that I was buying either at New Seasons when I’d be shopping. And then I would notice the labels would also say B Corp. Started reading about it and thought that is actually how we are running Et Fille. I mean, at that point I had already put on the back of our labels that were committed to sustainable winemaking, community, and diversity and equity and those three things, well, not the winemaking part, but environmental components and sustainability.
Those three tenants are really important to B Corp. I never really thought about us becoming a B Corp because we’re so small. I mean, we, just to put things in context our company, we’re 20 years old. We make about 3,000 cases of wine growing to 4,000 cases. And I have one and a half employees and then a larger extended team.
So we’re tiny. And, and it wasn’t until, over a glass of wine as all good things start. I was tasting at Winderlea with my friend Bill Sweat, and I asked him, “How did you go through the process of B Corp and aren’t I too small to do it?” And he said, “You’re not too small to do it. If it’s something that is important to you, do it.”
And so I went through the process and it was basically a several month assessment where they essentially have a form that they, it’s like a test that you take, but for every answer that you give, you must substantiate it with records and data because they’re trying to get, not only what do you think you’re doing, but what are you actually doing, what exactly are your practices?
So it’s a very time consuming and data consuming, data rich, process. But the reason why I did it was because I thought that as we grow, it would give me some confidence that we’re growing in the right direction that is aligned with our values, and that we could grow our practices to align with our values.
Ali: Very nice.
Ute: I love that. Yeah. That’s beautiful. And, and I’m sure that that is something that will be meaningful to your daughter as well, I’m assuming. So I mean, were you always Et Fille, was that always the name?
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, it was always Et Fille and originally it was named, well, so when my dad made wine as an amateur, we called it Wild Horse Mountain.
And the reason is that we live on Parrett Mountain and that’s where our little estate vineyard was. And Parrett Mountain was originally known as Wild Horse Mountain, but when we decided to co-found the winery, we needed a name. We couldn’t call it Wild Horse Mountain because there’s a wild horse winery in California.
And the first time I had helped make wine just as a, you know, when this is, when it was Wild Horse Winery my, we jokingly called it Et Fille because you know how there are a lot of Burgundian producers that will be whatever their last name is, et fils or and sons. Well, I’m an only child, there’s only me.
So we tongue in cheek jokingly called it Et Fille, but it just kind of stuck. And so yes, it was always called Et Fille. I think now it extends to include my daughter. So kind of three generations.
Ute: That’s amazing. So your daughter you’re hoping is going to take this over someday? Yes?
Jessica Mozeico: Well, I mean, that would be nice, but she’s only seven, so.
I have no idea, what she’ll end up doing or what, what she’ll wanna do. And I really am very careful to not put pressure on her and to not make assumptions when I speak. Because I really want her universe to be whatever it is she chooses.
I had her very late in life. And so what that means is that I’m gonna have to work until I’m 97 years old before she’s old enough, before I know whether it’s something that she is gonna wanna take over.
What I would say is that she… It’s what she experiences and sees. You know, I mean, like on Friday she goes to a charter school and they don’t have school on Friday. And so on this past Friday, we were bottling at the winery. And so she had to come with me to watch bottling and to observe and, and I tasted and she smelled, she gave me her impressions and her notes.
And then we went to the tasting room which I had to manage that day. And she helped me set up. She helped me, you know, do all the things, all the opening procedure things. I had guests in there. And then my mom came to pick her up and she started to cry and she said, “I don’t wanna leave. I wanna be with the guests.”
So it’s part of her experience. And I’m a single mom, so she’s with me a lot. And she just has to, you know, it’s, it’s what she has grown up with.
Ute: Oh yes.
Ali: Is she… On your Instagram I saw a few photos of a tiny human, I’m guessing she’s the one that’s called Big Boss?
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, she is the big boss.
Yeah. I never show pictures of her face, so you can’t really tell, but yeah, she’s, she’s the big boss. I
Ali: love it. I love it.
Jessica Mozeico: In fact. Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, Ali.
Ali: Oh no, go ahead. Go ahead.
Jessica Mozeico: She’s definitely my boss. I was going on, we were going on vacation and she told me, “Mom, I’m tired of you being on Zooms the whole time we’re on vacation.” And so I committed that I would not be on, I took no Zooms the last time we went on vacation, and I had no meetings. It was just things that she understands and she also sees, she says sometimes, “Why can’t you have a day off like other parents?” And I said, “It’s my company. I do have to, you know, check in on things, but the reason I do it is because I love it.” And so she sees that too.
Ute: Yeah. I think that’s such an important, thing to instill on them too, is when you actually love doing it, you know, because it’s your company and yes, there’s, you know, of course the duty and everything, but to, to instill in them that, that this can be fun.
This can be something that you want to do.
Jessica Mozeico: Ute I totally agree. I mean there’s, I think we talk a lot about how to manage your work and your personal life so that you’re not working too much and you’re keeping a point of perspective. And my number one learning on that is do something you love so it doesn’t feel like work at all.
You know, back when, after we started the winery. So I didn’t quit my day job in biotechnology immediately when we started the winery. It took five years before I quit. And when I moved up here, I thought, well, my dad and I had bubbly Mondays because I thought I always had lived my whole career hating Mondays thinking, oh my gosh, it’s back to work.
So I wanted us to have something to look forward to. So we instituted doing bubbly Mondays where every Monday I would come over and we would have champagne at dinner and, you know, over time that faded because I don’t hate Mondays. Mondays are the same as everything. Like I love what I do.
Ali: I would like to join in on bubbly Mondays.
Ute: As soon as you said bubbly Monday, I was like, ” uh oh.”
Ali: I, I am a bubbly fiend, so I am loving this concept of, of having a day where you, I have a saying, I don’t need a special occasion to drink bubbles. And so I feel like, yeah, using it as like a, Hey, I love, I love bubbles. Let’s, let’s do this to, to get ourselves in a, in a happier mood on a day that, you know, typically, people don’t like, but I love that it’s evolved into, we don’t even need bubbles because we love what we’re doing during our, our work days, so yeah.
Jessica Mozeico: Ali, I think that you know, your comment that it bubbles are not just for celebration. I, I would expand that to one in general, I think that we, I, I mean, I get asked by club members and our consumers very frequently, when should I drink this? When is the right time?
And I’ve written a few things about that, and those are on our website, but the bottom line is you’ll never regret sharing a bottle of wine with the person you wanna share it with. You know, my dad died very unexpectedly in an accident. And, when I combined our two cellars into one cellars, it was heartbreaking.
It was the hardest thing that I had to do in terms of like going through things and cleaning things up after he died because every single bottle that we had bought together or that one of us had bought with the express intention of sharing it together, I regret it. So I would have rather drank all of that with him at imperfect times when it wasn’t quite at prime yet with the wrong pairings, I don’t care. I think that we, we get so wrapped up in, when’s the perfect time to drink it? The perfect time to drink it is when you’re with the person you wanna share it with.
Ali: Yeah, exactly.
Ute: Well, this gives me all the goosebumps.
Ali: I was gonna say, I did not know I was gonna cry on this episode. That was so beautifully put. I, I could not agree more with that sentiment. Like the, the person that, the people that you are with and the place that you are in the moment you are drinking that bottle, that is what makes it the perfect time for that bottle.
Ute: And it also makes wine very, very approachable. Rather than to, you know, keep it from certain people because we’re saying, “Well, no, no, no, you gotta keep this for…” No. Why? It’s, you know, you want to make it approachable and if, if anybody, you know, feels like drinking wine at any given time, because they’re with the right people, drink the wine.
Jessica Mozeico: And that’s, that’s one of those beauty, that’s one of the beauties of wine in general, is that wine has this wonderful ability to make us think about the past when we’re drinking it, because we’re thinking about what was the vintage like, what were the conditions? Why am I getting what I’m getting in the glass? As well as being fully present in the moment to really the experience on a multi-sensory level what we have in the glass.
And then to be thinking about the future, how’s it gonna evolve? So wine already has that ability to kind of stop us in our tracks and experience things from the past, the present and the future at the same time.
And also you layer onto it, that sharing wine, the beauty of it is it’s communal. And when you share wine around a dinner table, it breaks down all those barriers of gender, generation, whatever point, whatever, opposite political beliefs, whatever it is, it breaks it down cuz you are sharing and you are experiencing that moment together.
Ute: Oh, I love it. All right. Thank you very much for coming. This was a great episode. I’m going!
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Ali: Well, speaking of, you know, specific wines we can see from your website that you have quite a list of very impressive professional ratings, and I know Ute and I have talked before about not always holding too high of a standard when it comes to wines that have professional ratings versus not having professional ratings.
Can you talk with us a little bit about the process, explaining the process of how a winery goes about, I know it’s a, a submission process, so can you, can you explain a little bit about how a winery goes about the process of submitting their wines to, you know, James Suckling or Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, et cetera?
Jessica Mozeico: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. So first of all, I wanna say that in terms of what gets reviewed or what score it gets or what comments it gets, I have no idea. I don’t really know anything about how it happens. The only thing that I know is that it does require actually submitting them which may sound very obvious, but honestly, for the first 15 years of Et Fille, we were pretty haphazard about it.
We would sort of submit things when we thought of it, and then we’d realize, oh, we haven’t submitted for five years or what have you. We just, it wasn’t top of mind. And I think one of the things about being a smaller winery is that you, as the owner or owners are wearing so many hats. That it’s, it’s quite easy to let one of those things slip through.
So I, a few years ago, had one of my extended team members tell me, “What do you, what’s your strategy for submitting, I mean, what’s your calendar?” And I said, “Calendar? Oh, you’re supposed to know in advance?” And like, that’s a novel concept. And I, I, that may seem very obvious, but I didn’t really realize it.
And so more recently we’ve started to prioritize it. And what we do is that we as an extended team, taste the wines together before release, well before release. Once a year. And then we’ll make up a plan of which reviewers should get, which submissions. And usually they have a pretty strict policy on submissions and they have their own timetable.
We only submit to a few. So it’s easy to kind of, keep it top of mind of who has reviewed which wines and therefore, which do we want to send to each reviewer. I, I also wanna say though, that it can be, professional reviews are helpful to many because there are so many wines to choose from, and sometimes it can help simplify if we know that there are certain reviewers whose palates we align with. It can help us find new wines we wanna try so it can be helpful. But that has to be counterbalanced with, it’s only helpful if we are attentive to our own palate.
It can’t be used as, I’m only gonna buy things that are over a 92 or whatever the magic number is. It, we need to be attuned to our own palate. No. Two palates are the same. Because all of our palates are informed by our own experiences and what we can remember and recall.
So, I mean, I’ll tell you how I learned about wine was my dad when I had my first, well, not my first, but when I had my first big job, shall we say. I lived in San Francisco. My dad took me to Kermit Lynch and he said, “I’m going to buy you a mixed case of wines. Nothing over $15.” It could have been $10 at the time, I don’t really remember, but nothing over X dollars. “And we’re gonna get a mixed case and I’m gonna introduce you to the guy who helped us.”
And he said, “I want you to come back when you’re done with this case and give feedback to the same guy and tell him which ones you liked and which ones you didn’t. And go from there.” And that was the best advice because I got to know my own palate and I got to explore things, you know, like, and I had a guide.
So going to the same person, the same wine steward is key to helping you refine your own palate.
Ali: I will assuage some of our listeners’ thoughts, and I don’t know misconceptions. I didn’t know until probably a year ago that wineries actually had to submit their own wine to be reviewed. I thought it was just whatever these reviewers were getting their hands on, they were revealing.
And so I was always like, there’s never like, or like I see so few Oregon wines like, what is happening? And then I realize that you have to submit. So…
Jessica Mozeico: Oh, Ali, I skipped right over. I’m sorry. I didn’t directly answer your question. So there’s a couple of different ways that it works. There are some, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that do not do any call for submissions. They’ll just randomly review things.
So I’ll tell you, tell a story about that. The New York Times wrote an article, it was on the front page of their, I can’t remember what section, and said the top five, I think it was five Oregon Pinot Noirs that you should try right now. And they listed our 2008 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in it.
And I had no idea that was happening. I don’t even know how Eric Asimov got a bottle of our wine. I have no idea how it happened. All I know is that for the next three days, my dad and I, all we did was answer the phone, get orders processed, because that was a really big bump for us.
Ute: Oh my gosh.
Jessica Mozeico: Sometimes it happens and I have no idea what the origin is. Generally speaking, a lot of times these reviewers will have a call for submissions. So by being part of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, I’ll see the call for submissions and know that those, they have called for, say, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir or willamette Valley Chardonnay. And then we will send in a set of samples for that. So that’s quite often how it happens.
Ali: I see. Yeah. It was actually one of those calls, I think, Jancis Robinson’s team last summer was looking for a, a certain vintage of whites from Oregon that she wanted to review.
And that’s when I, that’s when I learned like, oh, you submit for review. I get it now. But that’s, that’s so cool. Like what, what a moment to just one day realize that you are featured in the New York Times.
Ute: All right. Well, so to guide us back to our interview, as fun as this is. We are really curious, you know, we’re elevating women in the industry, of course, and we’re mainly talking to women. About 90% of our listeners are women. Thank you women. And, and we’d like to know from you, did you see, or do you see any hurdles, you know, as a woman in the industry? If you do, what are they and how do you overcome them?
Jessica Mozeico: First of all, I love that you are talking to women and that you’re elevating women because we have to celebrate what we wanna see until it’s normalized. And we don’t have to call it out. So I really appreciate what it is that you’re doing.
So I’m used to not being in a majority, and that’s partially because I was in science and then biotech and at business school where there weren’t. You know, where there, I mean, I’ll give you an example.
If my business school class had 30% women, so this is a long time ago, mind you. But anyway, and so I’m used to not necessarily being in a majority, I’m, I’m also biracial. I’m half Japanese, half Jewish. And so what being biracial means to me is that I can fit in in most places and belong nowhere. So, I’m, I’m pretty comfortable with not being in the majority.
What I would say about the wine industry is that it’s been extremely welcoming. I find that there’s quite a lot of access for women in our industry. Where I think there’s still work to be done is on the side of equity. So I, I think we, and inclusion as well, so we have created a more diverse culture in terms of the number of women owners we see, the number of women winemakers we see, et cetera.
That doesn’t mean it’s equal or it’s 50%, but it means that there’s significant inroads. And so I think we’ve, we’ve been very welcoming in access. However, there’s still work to be done in making sure that the advancement of women on both what kinds of positions are open to us and also how we are paid relative to men.
That’s still an area where we can’t take the foot off the pedal.
Ute: Yeah. Yeah. Totally agree. I do see that too when you’re, you know, looking at organizations like the Women in Wine Oregon that are all about ladies and, you know, you see them everywhere, which is wonderful.
And anytime that I walk into a winery, generally, you know, it is women I see there working in the tasting room, working, you know, in being tasting room managers and, and in those jobs. So it’s definitely nice to see that.
Jessica Mozeico: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s a, and, and what success looks like to me is not only do we see that, but that we see women at all levels of an organization and we see them being paid equitably.
That is what success looks like. You know, the McKinsey report that comes out, I think it’s every year on gender equity in the workplace, has identified that workplaces in general, this is not just wine, but workplaces in general have the broken rung of management, which means women are, relatively equal, I think it’s basically 50% of workplaces at entry levels, but those numbers decline as you get to the first management position. And if you’re not equitably making it to the first management position, then you’re not going to equitably get to the C-suite or executive level.
Ali: Right. Yeah. So between running your winery and being a mom, you have a lot on your plate, I would imagine.
I mean, we’ve talked about the, the stress of being one of, I think you had mentioned one and a half employees, or two and a half employees, but also being a single mom and wanting to be present and there for your daughter, you’re, you’re juggling quite a bit. What, what is it you do to release that stress?
What is your downtime activity?
Jessica Mozeico: Well, I’ll answer that in just a moment cuz what I want to say first is that it’s taken me a long time to find, I think I’m gonna use the word peace. To find peace with having… I’m gonna use the word balance, but I actually don’t mean balance. What I mean is work-life integration.
And I think that the reason it’s much easier for me now is because I’m very clear about my priorities. As I mentioned, I had my daughter very late in life, so she is extremely important to me. And so taking time away from her is very difficult and I don’t do it very often. So I revolve everything around maximizing for priority number one, which is time with my daughter.
And so I have a wacky work schedule. And I’m privileged because as the owner, I can set my own schedule. And because I do have an extended team that is fantastic, that allows me to set my own schedule. But as an example, I drop my daughter off at school at 7:50 every morning. I pick her up at 3:35 every afternoon, and I spend a few hours with her, and then I start working again after I put her to bed at night.
So I have flexibility because I’m very clear about what my priorities are. I really do not take conference calls in that kind of timeframe between picking her up from school and putting her to bed.
But to answer your question I do a lot of things. I mean, I, I spend a lot of time on boards and stuff that gives back to the community. And I think the reason I do that is, especially in the wine industry, is that I am aware that we have gotten to the point where we are as an industry today because of people volunteering their time and giving in a rather selfless way. I mean, when I started in 2003, we, when I would go out in market visits for distributor sales visits, accounts would ask, “Oregon? Willamette Valley? Oh, right, yeah. Uhhuh. Yeah. No, I only have Sonoma on the list, or I only have blah, blah, blah.”
And there wasn’t, I mean, there was a market, but it was much tougher. Whereas when I go out now, of course Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir, Uhhuh. Yep. And I expect to pay a bit more for it. And I need to have one by the glass.
So it’s a very different world and it has become that because of a lot of people working really hard. I also spend a fair amount of time on boards and giving back to organizations that are that have nothing to do with wine, but that just are aligned with my values. And I think that’s really important to me.
What do I do to like, totally relax, I guess I, I read, I really do try to exercise and meditate on a near daily basis. Not successful in doing either those things daily, but that’s kind of how I try to stay centered.
Ali: Nice. It sounds very, you have your boundaries and I know that that is something that people, especially in the last few years have really been trying to work on is setting your boundaries and sticking to them.
And it sounds like that is, that is a top practice for you and, and I could learn some lessons from you, I think.
Jessica Mozeico: Well, I think a lot of most people do. I think most people really struggle with boundaries and. I think I used to, I used to say yes and overcommit and then be resentful, and now I just don’t do that.
I mean, it’s really, it’s all about my daughter and my business. And, and so I have, I have to, because I would much rather miss an opportunity for a tasting or miss an opportunity for a social thing than have my daughter say to me, “you’re gonna leave? You’re not gonna be here? So for me, I’m very clear in saying no.
Ute: I love that. Well, so Ali was just saying how she thinks that she can learn a lot from you. Do you have a woman or women in the industry that you look up to and that really inspire you or maybe even like a dream collaborator?
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, I do. So first of all, I’m thinking Willamette Valley.
Eugenia Keegan is a tremendous mentor to me. Has like almost everyone on your, on any one of your guests said that? But she just has been a tremendous mentor to me in terms of listening, asking me what’s going on with the business, listening, thinking of creative suggestions or connections.
When I’m struggling with something, particularly on the winemaking side, Anna Matzinger, of Matzinger Davies is somebody that I have tremendous respect for, and whenever I’m stuck on wine making things, I call Anna and I trust her palate implicitly. I love tasting with her and getting her impressions when I’m working on a wine.
Morgen McLaughlin of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association has done so much for our industry and has pushed and advanced the vision of the Willamette Valley.
And so I am so inspired by, by the, those are the women that pop to the top of my mind.
Ute: I love it.
Ali: Mm-hmm. Those are some strong women you’re naming there.
Do you have any advice for our female listeners that you would like to leave with them today?
Jessica Mozeico: Yeah. I mean, first, follow your passion. If you’re passionate about wine, just start tasting wines, writing things down, asking questions. Just follow your passion.
The second is know your why, and your why will inform your how. So what I mean by that is, you know, for my dad and I, our why was we just wanted to make wine. And we were not interested in having any bosses. We were not interested in outside investors or board members. We were interested in running, making the wine we wanted to make and running the business how we wanted to make it.
And that informed our choices. You know, there were a lot of, we had to grow very slowly with very limited funds. But our why informed our how. And I think being really clear about why you wanna do something, whether it’s in wine or not, will inform the options that are available to you.
And having said that, I also think that we have to be open to serendipity. And that only happens when you quiet the voices around you and within you and can listen. I will tell you, I actually believe in manifesting things. And I believe I can give you a couple of examples that have happened even in the past few months where I’ve been very thoughtful about what is my biggest business problem? The number one bottleneck, what is, what am I really struggling with?
And be clear on it. And then articulate what the solution would look like, but not how I get it. Not say I want X, Y, or Z, but what are the parameters? And then I can really be open to listening for those opportunities because you’ve gotten clear with yourself and you’ve cleared out all the clutter and all the noise of all the things that are on your mind.
Ute: Dang. Oh, I have to do some introspection.
Ali: I know. I’m definitely writing down like all these little nuggets today. I feel like there’s been so many little pearls of wisdom dropped. I’m really enjoying it.
Ute: Yeah, me too. So, and we are reaching the end of our episode, but we are of course, always very curious if you have a favorite wine region that you like to travel to, or wines that you really enjoy drinking.
Jessica Mozeico: Oh my gosh. Wines that I enjoy drinking. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And yes. Wine, wine regions that I, so when I’m not drinking Willamette Valley Wines, which I will admit… I could drink Willamette Valley Wines. The end of discovery is nowhere in sight. There’s always so much more to discover.
So I will admit that in the pie chart of what I drink, it’s a fairly large percentage, but I too, Ali love bubbles. So I drink a lot of grower champagne and bubbles from other regions to try. I drink a lot of Rhone wines. And I, when I can afford it, I like to drink Piedmont Reds, Barolos and Barbarescos.
Ali: Very nice. I, we can cut this if I’m misremembering. I believe you were on a, a podcast I think it was Heidi Moore’s Wine Crush podcast. Was it, was it your story that your dad got a birth year champagne for your daughter when she was born?
Jessica Mozeico: So actually, no… but there’s two birth year stories.
Jessica Mozeico: This birth year story is that one of the reasons why I fell into wine was for my 21st birthday I was studying in semester in college in Italy, and my parents met me there and we went to Burgundy for my 21st birthday. And on my 21st birthday, we had dinner at Clos de Vougeot. And my dad found a birth year, a, a bottle from my birth year, and it was one of the most magical experiences of my life.
I have the cork still. My dad has–
Ali: Oh, I love it.
Jessica Mozeico: –Bottle. And so now I have the bottle and it was just absolutely magical. Like if you don’t fall in love with Pinot Noir after celebrating your 21st birthday in Burgundy with your parents, I don’t know when you would and the second–
Ute: All right, parents, you know what to do if you’re a parent from the Willamette Valley. Take your child to Burgundy for the 21st birthday.
Jessica Mozeico: It was a very. It was quite a privilege and I recognized that it was quite a privilege.
The second is that for my when my daughter was born, so my daughter was born two months prematurely and so she and I lived in the NICU together for the first month of her life. And my dad came to visit and he said, “Hey, what do you think of adopting the French tradition of laying down a wine for a child’s 21st birthday? Why don’t we create a wine for,” my daughter’s name is Gabriela “for Gabriella’s birth year?” And I said, “That’s a great idea. Take this piece of paper and write down all the things that you would do to create a wine that’s meant to age.” I did the same. We switched lists and it was the exact same. So I, stayed in the NICU and my dad went to go make this wine.
So we called it the Gabriella Pinot Noir, and it was really only meant to just be one, a one-time thing to commemorate her birth year. And we only made enough for our family and our club members and that was it.
Then my dad died and so I two, a month after he died, I was standing in the cellar, looking at our 2016 Pinots. My daughter was born in 2015. So we had the 2015 Gabriella, and I’m standing in the cellar looking at our 2016 Pinots, and I felt that there were three lots that stood out as being the best of the seller, but they needed a long time to age. And so I realized at that point that each year the Gabriella Pinot Noir would be kind of our best foot forward, the grand cru, so to speak, with a wine that is meant to age. And so we do that every year now. We also give a portion of proceeds of all wine sales of the Gabriella Pinot Noir to the NICU where Gabriella was. And we’re still engaged and actively involved with that NICU.
Ute: Okay. Can I just say I’m sitting over here grinning ear to ear, and I’m like, oh, this is so beautiful.
Jessica Mozeico: Well, you know what? I think that out of every experience, whether that experience is positive or negative, you have an opportunity to do something positive with it. And for me, I mean, I worked in biotechnology, so I was working on bringing cancer and immunology products to the market.
So when I left to join, you know, to start the winery, there was a part of me that thought, oh, but that’s so important. I mean, you’re really thinking about unmet medical needs for patients. And what I’ve come to realize is it’s not so much what we do, it’s how we do it. And you can use your experience to bring awareness and funds for things that you care about.
So we have a couple of programs, three different programs that we do that with specific wines. And I just think it’s an opportunity to expand. You know, maybe my consumers might not know much about prematurity, but they do after they meet me and after they see what we’re doing with, with some of our wines.
Ali: Yeah. That story was even more beautiful than I remembered it being. Thank you for sharing that.
We will wrap up with our final question then. It’s a surprise question. It was not included on the list of questions we sent you, but it is pretty easy and I think you’ve already answered it, but, Ute and I have a fun little rivalry going on.
Would you claim you are Team Red Wine or Team Bubbles?
Jessica Mozeico: I knew you were gonna ask me that because I listened to your other interviews, and I was thinking, “If they ask me, I’m never gonna, that’s gonna be the hardest question. I’m gonna, I know you’re gonna not like this, but I’m gonna claim that I have to be on both teams.
Ali: We’ll, we’ll allow it. We do have the secret Team Don’t Make Me Choose.
Ute: Yes. Well, I love that answer.
Ali: Well, this has been an absolutely amazing conversation. I am so glad that you were able to join us today. Jessica, thank you so much for coming on.
Jessica Mozeico: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Ali: Can you, just real quick, let our listeners know the best places to find you online, get in touch with you?
Jessica Mozeico: Yes, absolutely. So we’re on social, on Instagram, Facebook, kind of Twitter, but I don’t check that very often. And so you can find us @etfillewines, so it’s at ETFILLEWINES and we’re online at EtFilleWines.com. So same spelling, and you can find all of our wines there. I manage all of our stuff, so if you send an email in through the contact us, it comes to me.
So let me know if you have any questions.
Ali: Perfect. Thank you so much. We will have all of that information down in the show notes for everyone. We’ll link it there and we, I think Ute and I definitely need to come out for a tasting sometime soon.
Jessica Mozeico: I would love to host you. I would love to do that.
Ali: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully we’ll get to see you soon then.
Jessica Mozeico: Sounds good. I’ll look forward to it.
Ali: All right. Listeners, don’t forget to check out our Patreon, which we just recently launched, our first Patreon exclusive episode will air May 1st and reminder, this is a video episode and it is just for our Patreon subscribers.
The info will be of course, down in the show notes along with a topic request form and our printouts. Pretty much everything you need to get in touch with us, get in touch with Jessica, and with all of that, all we have left to say is Sante!