Pam Walden
March 31, 2022 | Pam Walden

Being a woman

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking about what my life would be like at the turn of the millennium. I’d be 32 years old – ancient! I’d have a husband and two children, and that’s as far as my imagination got. I was your "typical" girl in the UK, wearing dresses and playing with dolls. My parents had three girls, and no boys, and when I asked my father if I could help him in his mechanics shop, so I could spend time with him, he said yes, and I got to learn how to fill in dents in cars. I don’t know that this one thing changed my expectations for my life, but it certainly showed me that I could do more than I perhaps thought I could.

Throughout my life, I’ve had many opportunities to explore how much I can do. Our small winery starting in 2000, when we made just four barrels of wine. My then husband was working a full-time job at Rex Hill winery, so I had to do all the punch downs and day to day stuff in the winery the first couple of years. I had no idea what I was doing and just did what he told me to do. We had a copper heat exchanger that we’d fabricated, and it broke a couple of times during harvest, and the only way to mend it in a hurry was to weld it myself, so I learned to weld, and so added welding to my skills list.

In 2011, I took over sole ownership of the business, started the “Willful” label, and became the winemaker. I crushed 54 tons for my first vintage as the winemaker. I had a lot of support, from my ex-husband and from friends in the industry, but it was indeed a trial by fire. And I learned to do all sorts of new things….

Twelve years later, I have finally moved in to my own production space, and the winery is going from strength to strength. I’m working with some fabulous vineyards and new varietals and couldn’t be happier. So .. thanks Dad.. for saying “yes” and opening up what I thought was possible for a girl.


Time Posted: Mar 31, 2022 at 2:33 PM Permalink to Being a woman Permalink