Published: 1 years 199 days ago
Steve Kline has a reverence for tradition and experience. But he’s no stranger to new technologies and innovation. He’s a partner of Buena Tierra Vineyard Management Corporation in Yountville, California. It’s a company that his ex-father-in-law’s father-in-law founded in 1954.
“I’ve been in involved since 1992, and I’ve seen a lot of changes,” Kline said. “Everything that I’m doing combines a respect for the oldschool values of farming with a newer, scientific approach to innovation.” His enormous 2007 Ford pickup with custom suspension dwarfs a 1949 Chevrolet truck that he affectionately calls “Green” and still uses during busy times in the vineyards. In fact, he maintains a barn full of classic pickups, many that were given to him by retired farmers who know that he will keep them in mint condition.
Kline values his long-time employees even more than his classic trucks. “Jose Chavez has been with us for 45 years,” he said. “I’m his third boss. His brother has been working with us for 33 years. You can’t beat that kind of experience. They have knowledge that you just can’t replace.”
Teamwork has always been important to Kline, who played basketball and baseball in college. “My whole philosophy in everything I do is team-oriented,” he explained. “I don’t know if that’s from my background in sports, but it’s key. If we all do our part, it makes everything go a lot smoother.”
He related a story about rewarding a good team effort. In many of the vineyards his company established years ago, his predecessors placed a vine of sweet table grapes at the end of each row. That way, when the pickers got to the end of the row, they could reward themselves with something good to eat.
These days Kline is proud to run a company that produces some of the best organic fruit in Napa Valley. He works handin- hand with clients to meet their needs, whether they practice organic, biodynamic, or sustainable farming techniques.