Former CEO Pete Seghesio sees the sale of his family's winery and his role change there as a blessing

  • (From left) Members of the Seghesio family include Cathy, her son,
    Will, 8, her husband, Pete, and her son, Joey, 12, in the basement of
    their home, where they they are making their own wine. Photo taken on
    Thursday, July 28, 2011, in Healdsburg, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/
    The Press Democrat)

From the time Pete Seghesio was 5 years old, he was spellbound by the grapes.

He watched as his family life revolved around them and before long he did his part to groom them.

"It was so special to be a living part of the season," Seghesio said, "seeing the seasons change with the vine and the steps that go with each part of the year."

The former CEO of Seghesio Family Vineyards, clad in khaki shorts and a casual shirt, has had a mid-life change of ambition. Seghesio, 47, said the recent sale of the winery to Crimson Wine Group was the best move for the entire family and, for himself, a saving grace.

"I believe this move probably saved my life somewhat," he said. "To be successful in this business it takes everything one has. ... I was a workaholic. I think all the Seghesios share that gene!"

The job was difficult to turn off, Seghesio said.

"I was always thinking about work and what we need to do better," he said. "I was one of those guys that would wake up at 4 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. and start thinking about work and then couldn't go back to sleep."

Seghesio continues to work at the Healdsburg winery, but now he has the less taxing title of winegrower.

"I am gladly just the brand ambassador and grape guy," he said. "Being the CEO of a small winery where everything rests on the success of the family business is a huge responsibility. ... Many people look to the wine business as a rich man's hobby, but for us it was what put bread on the table. Everything rested on its success."

Seghesio said the sale was also a blessing for the family.

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