Yates Family Vineyard

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Mike Yates the Man Behind the Wine

We thought it would be fun to get to know the Man Behind the Wine a little bit in August, as we are gear up for Harvest and celebrate his Birthday Month. 

What is your favorite memory about coming up to the vineyard as a kid?
When I was young, maybe 10 or so, my Grandmother Sybil (my Dad’s Mom) would send down a driver to pick up my brothers and sister and take us to Napa. We would drive up across the Golden Gate Bridge with the smells of summer.  She would have craft projects for us, snack time at 10am and I remember us having to sleep in the unfinished attic of the big white house.  The bats would fly in and we would scream and cover our heads with the sheets. I remember my Dad yelling up the stairs to get to sleep.
What is your favorite part of being a farmer?
I was always not afraid to get dirty and work up here on the property for the caretaker, Bill Beers. He took a liking to me and taught me what he knew about plants. He was my Granddad’s gardener in Pasadena when we purchased the ranch before I was born.  During the summers, I was digging holes for the vines alongside the crew, planting the vines and watching them grow. Trying to decipher his redneck attitude, stories about the war and wondering if anything he said had any resemblance of truth. We got along really well as long as I kept my head down and worked.  I learned more about plant life on the property and very little about how the world operated.
Besides farming, gardening, hanging with your family, what can we find you doing on a rare day off?
Well, weather you realize it or not, you live for your kids to have a place in the world.  I would say now I live for the next generation, my grandkids. Having conversations with them, Hannah (10), Colton (7), Reese (5) and Lillian (2) is a blessing!  Having them listen to me and me listening to them and really not sure who is teaching whom. Knowing that undying love is what matters. And if that’s not working, it’s back to their parents they go.
What is your least favorite food?
I never got the allure of broccoli and cauliflower.  Oh, but it’s so good for you.  How can that be when they’re only good when smothered with cheese sauce or hollandaise???
We know that many people say you don’t have a favorite child, but we know that each parent does, might we find out, who is your favorite daughter?
Good question? The only answer I have is, is this an even or odd year, which day of the week is this, is the moon in Aquarius, heads or tails, what did I get for Father’s Day?