Interview with the Founder, President and CEO: Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. (NASDAQ:WVVI)
Jim Bernau is the Founder, President and CEO of Willamette Valley Vineyards, Inc. (NASDAQ:WVVI and WVVIP). Willamette Valley Vineyards was established in 1983, when Mr. Bernau replaced an overgrown pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills with Pinot Noir, watering his vines with a garden hose the first year. Mr. Bernau has been recognized for environmentally responsible winegrowing by LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and received the Sustainable Standard-Setter award from the Rainforest Alliance for his use of FSC-certified natural cork. Mr. Bernau believes among the healthiest forms of business are those owned by the community. Willamette Valley Vineyards became the first community-funded business in the U.S. through the first successful Regulation A self-underwritten public offering in 1989. Mr. Bernau’s vision of organizing the support of wine enthusiasts to make world-class wines through shared ownership has resulted in more than 20,000 wine enthusiast owners. Profile
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TWST: Your history is fascinating. That’s a good place for us to start. Can we talk about what you do and how you got involved with the vineyard?