Both of our families have a rich agricultural heritage going back multiple generations, so it was only a matter of time before we were called back to our roots.
Yolanda Van Wingerden's family emigrated from The Netherlands (the world's flower growing capital) in the mid-1960s; they started the cut flower industry in Carpinteria, CA. Over the decades, they grew their business dramatically, to international acclaim, and their grandchildren continue in this avocation and tradition. The Van Wingerden family's name is synonymous with the world's highest quality flowers and they are known throughout the county as one of the most consistent and generous benefactors to environmental causes most important to locals.
John's family emigrated from Greece and Italy in the 1920s and began farming in Westminster, CA where they were known particularly for their berries, fruit and the (legal) production of wine during the Prohibition-era. Family lore has it that they not only supplied local officials with wine, but also supplied a unique variety of berry cuttings that were most-favored by Mrs. Cordelia Knott of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. Legend has it that the famous Knott's Berry Farm boysenberry jam and pies are directly linked to the early cuttings from the Callos farm. Curiously, John's Grandfather, Peter Callos, was listed as a "Fruit Merchant" on his marriage license, so clearly, these roots run deep.
In 1979 John asked Yolanda to the Carpinteria High School Prom. In 2017, Yolanda and John bought a small parcel of land in the wine country region of Santa Barbara County, CA. They produce their wine grapes, apples, lavenders, walnuts and small batch olive oil in the tiny hamlet of Los Olivos, CA (population about 900). Of note: Los Olivos, has no banks, no grocery stores, no gas stations, no ATM and no public restrooms; but the town does have about 40 wine tasting rooms!
Yolanda and John have radically-transformed their property into an all natural vineyard, apple orchard and bespoke olive grove. They recently built a modest winery for the production of their small block Chardonnay, Syrah and Grenache varietals; this wine will not be available to the public until all permits are obtained.
Because their production is of such high quality and so limited, they can only sell their Syrah and Grenache grapes and olive oil wholesale to the industry's most demanding vintners, caterers and finest dining establishments on the Central Coast.
When Yolanda isn't setting new sales records for her Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez real estate clients, she will likely be found on the hiking trails, running on the beach, exploring new wine tasting venues, attending concerts at the Santa Barbara bowl or planning our next (active) vacation.
When John isn't experimenting with his wood-fired pizza dough, fixing drip lines or (still) writing his book ("Observations and Lessons from a CEO Insider"), you'll likely find him traveling the country as one of the nation's leading management advisors to CEOs and their executive teams. John's quest is to reduce friction and improve the interpersonal dynamics of executive teams of some of the country's largest companies. Learn more here: www.ExecuBridge.com
Yolanda and John in the greenhouse of her Family's original home in The Netherlands.
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