I am the hands-on owner and farmer of MANDEVILLE VINEYARDS. I had a vision for the vineyard when I was up the impassible, and almost impossible to get up hill, behind our house. I was going up the hill to cut weed vines that were growing up to the canopy of our 40 foot tall trees and starting to kill them. I cut the vines and made my way further up the hill, using a machete to carve my way. I thought maybe I could put a few rows of vines on the hill, and proceeded to cut a horizontal path from one end of the property to another, with a chain saw, to see what was there.
I am an actor and director, for 44 years and have won awards for directing THE ZOO STORY, with Woody Harrelson and Brad Blaisdell. I have performed and directed in NY, LA, Vancouver and have been on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off – Off Broadway, regional theater, television and movies. I have been in over 40 commercials, 50 plays, almost 2 dozen movies, over 30 TV shows, and directed over 35 plays, radio recordings, and co-directed 2 movies.
I also lead workshops on Self Expression, Creativity, Leadership, Out Of The Box Thinking, Authenticity, Discovering Your True Self, Corporate Presentation, How To Message Your Message For The Media, Best Practices Delivering Presentations, Coach and part time plumber, electrician, gardener, problem solver, fixer, and believer in possibilities.
This is a description of who I am. I have a vision, a possibility shown to me, and I usually go for it. I am a pilot, a motorcycle rider ( preference is Harley Davidson ), a scuba diver, a sailor who had his own 24 foot sailboat for 15 years, an actor, an award winning director, producer, partner and dog owner. I have traveled much of the world with an eye toward discovery and a penchant for not being a tourist, but a visitor who might live there. I go to the usual places, and the off the track places that only locals might know. That I attempt to experience each place I visit.
I have a passion for life and to be in my life, rather than watching it. I always wanted to be
self- sufficient and taught myself or went to someone who could teach me about power tools, finish detail with wood, cement and other materials. Learned how to tear apart a 1200 cc engine, was a licensed emergency medic, am on the team for earthquake emergencies, etc. for my local neighborhood.
I have been with my partner, Donna Mills, for almost 18years, and we have raised a daughter and many dogs, and aquarium fish, along the way. We have together a penchant for wines, and travel, and theater, movies, adventures, and continue to grow with each other as our journeys take us.
I have been in class at UCLA, to discover the history of wines, which goes along with the history of the world, … to educate my palate and to expand my horizons of other farmers, vintners, and what exists in this amazing world. I started, not knowing the half of which I needed to know, like many things I do, and am learning on the way. The most important part is to start, to be in the middle of my passion, and not figure it all out. To experience the journey. I have met wine people from Australia, France, Thailand, Japan, Taipei, China, America, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Italy and continue to discover more wine people of this world.
Donna and I, ( with the help of friends and professionals ), tend to the vines with a hands-on approach. From fertilizing each plant individually, to tucking the vines, to clipping, netting, harvesting, walking the rows and talking to them.
I have planted lavender along the rows. We have Olive Trees around us, fragrant roses, orange trees, avocados, all to enhance the environment around the vines. We put hay on the vineyard each year to sweeten and hold the soil, and prevent erosion. And with the weeds that we cut down many times each year, and leave on the rows, to provide extra nitrogen for the soil as well as provides natural composting.
We play music, mostly classical, and occasionally rock and roll, to have the vibrations surround the plants, to allow them to be as happy as we are, listening to the music. We have a picnic table at the bottom to eat amongst the vines to add our energy, aliveness, and good will to the vineyard. Above all, we treat the vines as living organisms, and the more interaction with us, the happier and healthier they seem to be. This allows the vines to produce to their greatest level.
The more we talk and are excited about our wine, … and wear our sweatshirts and T-shirts, the more we meet and talk with people who are interested in what we are doing. Wine enthusiasts and enjoyers, encompass every career, ethnicity, and religion and come from every corner of the earth….. and they all have wine as part of their tradition, rituals, and to mark milestones in their lives.
What adventurers and risk takers and creators, these farmers are. With no guarantee of success to follow their passion, and this goes for me also. I will make the best wine, with the most hands-on, and the best grapes, that the climate and soil will allow me. I hope you enjoy this journey with me and us.