Rob grew up all over the place as the oldest of four children – his father worked for IBM (I’ve Been Moved), so Rob lived for varying 2–3-year stints in Maryland, Virginia, New York, California, Germany, and finally, California again. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Sports Journalism, but realized after a year working for a newspaper that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his days covering high school sports on Friday night.
A dear friend was working in the Clos du Bois tasting room in Healdsburg at the time, and suggested he apply there. “I know nothing about wine,” he said. “That’s alright, you know how to talk to people,” she said.
So, Rob took that job at Clos du Bois – over 30 years ago! – and has been learning and growing as part of the wine business ever since. He has worked at big wine companies in Napa Valley, and small, family-owned wineries in Sonoma County, and everything in between. At every stop along the way, his passion for connecting with people was the common thread in the positions he occupied.
And now he has landed at Talisman as the Director of DTC Sales & Marketing. “I’m at a point in my career where being around great people who make great wine is more important than anything else. Being part of small, passionate, fun organization is really all I could ask for. I can’t wait to spend time in the cellar during harvest for years to come, and to see every visitor who walks through our door leave with a smile on their face and wine in their hands.”
Grayson is a Southern boy at heart. He grew up in Marietta, Georgia and attended college at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music, Classical Guitar Performance. After many visits to Sonoma County to spend time with friends, he decided to make the move permanent. Grayson has called Sonoma County home since 2003.
While he has had careers ranging from working on movie sets, carpentry, and a five year stint in the corporate world, he found a passion for Pinot Noir. He started working with Talisman sharing his musical talents at special events and working a couple days a month in the tasting room just to help out.
He took a step back to observe his surroundings a little more closely and decided to see where the universe would take him. Grayson quickly became a huge and vital part of the Talisman family where he took on his primary rolls of Shipping Manager & Guest Educator as well as spending each harvest working as an accomplished Cellar Rat. “The time spent working crush has been such a fascinating and educational experience. I learn more with every harvest and as exhausting as each one is, I’m always excited for the arrival of the next”.
With love and gratitude for Pinot & People – Grayson Happyman Steele.