Most kids fantasize about cool jobs theyll do as grownups. Few of us ever become astronauts or artists.
Sharon Fenchak is doing today just what she told her parents shed be doing when she was nine. More unusual still was her childhood career pick: Winemaker.
I announced at a holiday dinner that I was going to be a winemaker, she recalls at a recent lunchtime tasting of her Biltmore Estate wines. Her first vintage — Welchs grape juice and yeast — served to her parents that night, was pretty disgusting, she says with a laugh.
An early fascination with science, particularly chemical reactions of yeast, pointed either to fermentation or distillation.
Degrees in food science, along with a hitch as a satellite technology specialist in the U.S. Army (what can I tell you, shes as interesting as she is lovely), led to winemaking gigs at small wineries in Georgia. Soon she was tapped to become winemaker at Biltmore Estate, then known mostly as the Vanderbilt familys home, which at 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms, makes New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeters soon-to-be-completed Davis Islands mega-McMansion seem restrained.