IT Gal on a Mission...

Other than an occasional glass of wine at a restaurant, I had absolutely no knowledge or experience with wine when I came to Dry Creek Vineyard, back in 1994.  After a long career in business management, I had gone back to school to study computer/web programming, and related subjects.  Much to my surprise, I found that I loved the structure and organization of the computer world, which I came to find, was the antithesis of the ethereal world of wine.

Back in '94, DCV had an AS400 monster server, a few terminals, and one MAC used by the PR gal. There were no computers or voice mail.  When I started, the winery needed serious assistance with data entry and the running of their 800-member wine club.  The difficulties running the wine club had a great deal to do with lack of systems and software to get the job done.  With my newly acquired computer skills, I set about to develop systems to efficiently manage the club.  Kim and her staff still did much of the work by hand!  After years of running the club via queries on the AS400, I decided to write wine club software in 1996, and purchased the winery's first computer to run the software.  By then I was managing the wine club and thrown headlong into the world of wine – sort of a trial by fire, learn as you go situation. 

Eventually, I did learn about wine, and the wine club grew exponentially.  Meanwhile, the winery itself was growing and changing with the influence of the world of technology, including the purchase of computers and software.  To my delight, they now needed someone to take care of the computers, software, web site, and all things technical.  While I learned a lot and enjoyed running the wine club and the many relationships I developed with its members, it was NOT what I had re-trained to do.  I retrained to move away from business management!  So, when Don and Kim came to me to ask if I would take over IT services here, I was thrilled.

There were so many things I wanted to do to bring the winery into the new millennium, but little did I know it would be an uphill battle…  As a venerable family winery, many here (principals included) pre-dated the computer age, while technology was growing by leaps and bounds.  The saying, “be careful what you ask for” kept running through my head.  Convincing folks that technology was their friend was not an easy sell!  Some of the things I wanted to do took years of lobbying.  I still remember the look on Kim's face when I tried to explain why we needed software to run the wine club…

The good news is that I've had the opportunity to do ground-breaking stuff here at the winery: write wine club software before any existed, develop a system of email communications with our distributors and consumers before there were email blasting services/software, build a comprehensive web site and develop a distributor section with all the materials they could ever need at their fingertips, develop an online store, and incorporate a FAQ and customer reviews functionality on our web site and in our online store.  And, then, with the support of our PR director, we were able to convince Kim (still kicking and screaming) to do this blog.  Now, we even have a Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter account.

Bad news is that people's eyes still glaze over when I try to explain how or why something works.  And routinely I get calls about strange things their computer is doing, followed by an explanation, “I didn't do anything… It just started doing that.”  OR, “An error message popped up on my screen…. I don't remember what it said.”  OR, “My computer screen is upside down… I don't know how it happened.”  However, I'm on a new mission: in-house computer classes.  My goal is to bring everyone here into the twenty-first century!!  So, Dry Creek Vineyard staff, be prepared to bond with your computer… a new day is dawning here at DCV. 

Lynda Abbott, Director of IT Services

| | Comments (4)


CheyanneJordan Author Profile Page said:
April 21, 2010 3:40 PM

Great blog, Lynda! Remember it was me who called you because my screen was upside down! I think I clicked too quickly with my mouse or something. That was fun figuring out how to flip it back!

Lynda Abbott Author Profile Page said:
April 21, 2010 3:45 PM

Thanks, Cheyanne. YES, that was fun. If you remember, I couldn't operate (aim) the mouse upside down and had to literally put the monitor on its head to be able to navigate and fix the problem! LOL

JohnLopresti Author Profile Page said:
April 22, 2010 10:00 AM

It is nice to have advanced IT guidance close-by. Upgrades are difficult rhetorical and fiscal issues in medium size business. Stay current in the literature; attend trade shows; keep writing code, or have a close relationship with someone who does; or, simply rely on the best shrinkwrapped software, so all you write are macros. Still, efficiency requires acumen and a firm work ethic.

I have served as impromptu IT in many mid size firms. In a winery, however, it would mystify me if a display was inverted, or if the lees were floating. I would advise, rack the lees off the wine, in that instance. I think simply turning the barrel upsidedown would be unlikely to solve the problem, unless the barrel is a Macintosh, or the grapes petta sira.

Lynda Abbott Author Profile Page said:
April 22, 2010 11:09 AM

John, "...unless the barrel is a Macintosh."

Now that's FUNNY!!!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynda Abbott published on April 21, 2010 2:12 PM.

The Romance of Winemaking was the previous entry in this blog.

Are Tasting Room Hours to Blame? is the next entry in this blog.

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