A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
– John C. Maxwell
In part 2 of this leadership interview, Aussie winemaker Jen Pfeiffer shares about mentorship, reading, her morning routine and how her wines’ cool labels came about…
Part one can be found here
JE ; Your “Rock It Like A Redhead” brand has some really cool labels with the flowing ginger mane and David Bowie references. Tell us the story behind this.
JF: As a flaming redhead, I believe my red hair contributes to my passion for wine and my drive to succeed in the industry, so the red hair was something I wanted to express of my label. I was searching the net one night for “images of redheads” and I found an image of a woman with flaming, flowing red hair. I thought to myself, that’s it! That’s what I want. I immediately sent the image to my graphic designer who asked me if I had asked permission from the artist to use the image. Not having done that, I contacted the artist – Riccardo Bessa – who promptly told me that no, I couldn’t use that image as it was an image of Florence, from Florence and the Machine. Dejected, as I had loved that picture of Florence, I moped around the winery for a few days, until I thought, why don’t I ask Riccardo if he can produce an image for my label. Fortunately he said yes, and the rest is history as they say……
In terms of the Bowie references, I was struggling to come up with names to differentiate the three different tiers within my range. My friend Kylie said why don’t I just name them after some of my favourite Bowie songs…..so the Rebel, the Hero and the Diamond were all born.
JE: What does a typical first hour of the day look like for Jen Pfeiffer?
JF: I like to get to work around an hour before any of my team start, so I can plan and prepare for the day. I like to be organized for my staff. I think that’s really important in management. We start with a team meeting each morning outlining what we need to achieve each day, then we set about doing it.
JE: Do you have a personal growth plan? Read non-fiction books?
JF: I don’t have a personal growth plan – although this question is making me think I might need one!
I read more for escapism, so I prefer to read fiction or biographies on some of my favourite musicians (Bowie is of course at the top of that list!).
JE: Are you mentoring young winemakers? if so tell us about this experience or judging wines (and providing feedback)
JF: I certainly do mentor young winemakers – each year, we take on 4 young winemakers from Australia and abroad to work at the winery for vintage. Depending on the stage of the professional development, some are just looking to gain more experience and make their own conclusions about why I make wine in the way I do, others are wanting more structured learning course with definite questions that require answers, for example – what happens if you don’t refrigerate a tank when it is fermenting? And some have a lot of theoretical knowledge but no practical experience, so need to learn how to operate pumps, clean tanks, etc. ‘
I have found that I have become a lot better at this as I’ve gotten older – I have more patience, empathy and understanding of what they are going through, as I have been there myself. There is no better feeling than seeing someone come out of the vintage a changed person, as they have grown both personally and professionally. It’s very rewarding.
JE: Whats your favourite non-wine drink?
JF: Water during the day, and gin and tonic when the sun goes down.
To find out more or connect with Jen Pfeiffer check out her website