Pat Roney: Vintner
Although he was raised in California, Pat Roney got his start in wine as a student at Northwestern University in Illinois. To make ends meet, the young college student began working nights at Chicago's famous Pump Room restaurant as a sommelier. He remained there for three years and eventually was charged with procuring and maintaining one of America's most noteworthy wine cellars.
The taste of wine agreed with Pat, and soon after graduating from Northwestern, he signed on with the Seagram Wine Company, where he spent 8 years as an importer of fine wines. But the call of California led the importer to retool his focus to the wine country there. He moved back home to manage marketing for the Christian Brothers Winery. Eventually he took up the reins of two additional wineries: first as president of Chateau St. Jean, and later as president of Kunde, both in Sonoma Valley.
Where there is wine, there is food. Later, Pat took his management skills and wine knowledge to the renowned specialty food purveyor, Dean & Deluca, where as president, he helped grow the business from a small presence in New York and Washington DC to a national enterprise.
Then in 2000, Pat returned to his wine roots and became a managing partner and principal owner at Girard, where he has been instrumental in acquiring new vineyards and opening Girard's tasting room in Yountville. His dedication to quality has been apparent since the very beginning, and Girard is now regularly showered with praise from both the wine and food media.