I wanted to share an excerpt from a letter I wrote to the Cakebread family this week upon hearing about the passing of Dolores Cakebread. As many of you know, I love wine, it’s truly remarkable how many different types, styles and flavors are to be experienced. With truly great wine you can taste the care and pride that goes into each bottle. Mrs. Cakebread was one of those people who inspired me to start Tahzoo. After you read this letter, remember that every conversation you have could change a life course.
Here is the letter:
I wanted to take a moment to share a conversation that I had with her that touched me and has been a fond memory of mine for many years. I was visiting the winery with my wife and a close friend back in the late nineties. We had wandered out into the vineyard and were walking around drinking our wine when we ran into a woman who I would later discover was Mrs. Cakebread.
She chatted with us about the vineyard, growing grapes, and many of the challenges of keeping a vineyard healthy. We spoke in detail about knowing when to harvest the grapes, the weather, the aging of the plants, and about a fungus that had been problematic a few years earlier. We finally got around to introducing ourselves, which was delightful. I thought it was so refreshing to spend time with someone who clearly had a passion for her business and family. She shared that her children were taking over more responsibly for the business and how proud she was of them.
We were living in Oakland at that time and heard her story about how she and her husband sold their auto repair business to become winemakers. Their old shop was not too far from our home at the time, and the idea that driving through Napa one day, they saw the vineyard for sale and just went for it seemed to be a remarkable leap of faith. I quizzed her a bit about this and was so struck by her courage, passion, and sense of family. We wound up talking for a least a couple of hours and just had the most wonderful time. It was the only time I ever spoke with her.
I have told this story many times over the years. Most poignantly for me, when I was mustering the courage to start my own business during the middle of the economic crisis in 2010, I was heartened, remembering my encounter with Mrs. Cakebread. That making choices with passion for what you do and a strong sense of family will carry you forward. My company just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, we help our clients improve their customer service and customer experience, this was a career change for me as well. My conversation with her, as brief as it was, had a huge impact on me and the many people in my life…
All of us have had countless conversations and interactions with people, never knowing the impact they may have. I wanted to make sure that I shared with each of you my story.
Let’s go be great,
In Loving Memory
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dolores Cakebread, co-founder of Cakebread Cellars, from natural causes. Yet it is with happy memories that we celebrate her remarkable 90 years of life.
When Dolores stepped back from winery operations 15 years ago, her legacy of warm hospitality lived on. To the wine community she will be remembered as a pioneer of wine & food education, cookbook author and certified Master Gardener. To our Cakebread Cellars winery team, she will be remembered as co-founder, mentor and friend. And to her family, she is remembered as a beloved wife of 70 years, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
We are incredibly grateful for your support and kind words; Dolores loved sharing her garden with you and welcoming so many into the Cakebread Cellars family. Please join us in raising a glass of her favorite wine, Sauvignon Blanc, to honor the life of Dolores.
The Cakebread Family