Linda Wetzel balances the life of living and working at Alexander Valley Vineyards effortlessly. She met Hank, at UC – Davis and was quickly drafted into working her first bottling line at one of the Wetzel family home bottling parties. After graduating with a degree in Political Science she and Hank married, then founded Alexander Valley Vineyards. As winery construction commenced in 1975, Linda set up AVV’s accounting system. They were the only employees at the time, so Linda also helped with the first harvest later that year. Hank made the wine for the fledgling operation while Linda set up the books and handled all the finances, as well as the occasional wine hose. In those early years she did whatever job needed to be done. When it came time to sell their wine, they hit the road together. Crisscrossing the state in a blue van, the pair would stop at restaurants and wine shops, offering samples of those early releases and taking orders.
Living only a few hundred yards from the winery, business and family were always pleasantly jumbled together on a daily basis. Over the years, Linda assumed double duties, raising four children while working full time at the growing family business. As wine became more and more important in Sonoma County, Linda worked with Sonoma County Vintners Association, serving on their board and chairing the charity event, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. She is also past president of the Sonoma County Vintners Co-op, a facility now used by hundreds of wineries in Sonoma County to store and ship wine around the world.
Linda’s responsibilities have expanded as the winery has grown over the past forty two years. Today, Linda continues to run the office, she is still entertaining customers and represents AVV at tastings and seminars. Hank’s eyes still glow with pride when he reflects on the work she has done and the business they built together. Needless to say their venture was a success and their family business is continuing with the next generation.