Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where did they end up?

Sometimes people are in the news so relentlessly, that we almost think of them as close acquaintances. The American media system is so hyperactive, that except for people who are famous for being famous, these people disappear from the media's radar screen and go back to their normal lives after a short while. However, sometimes they make a career change and end up in unexpected places. I am always surprised by high tech people ending up in epicurean posts.

For example, Lew Platt, an HP CEO who in 1999 was pushed out because he was growing his company only at 15% instead of the over 100% of .com companies of the time (most of whom are no longer around), ended up becoming the CEO of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, a vineyard and winery in Santa Rosa.

One of the HP BoD members with the most heat in the media was Walter Hewlett, during the battle for the merger with Compaq. So what became of him?

Together with his sister Eleanor, who is the widow of Jean-Paul Gimon, also a former member of HP's BoD, he planted olive trees on his sunny ranch southeast of Merced and started the olive oil company Owens Creek.

This year's olive crop in California is down 65% due to cool weather and little sun last summer in Napa and along the California coast. Walter Hewlett's ranch got lots of sun and thus he got a very good crop of olives.

The flavor profile of his Quartetto Classico blend this year is the best he has ever gotten. His Sicilian blend has always been excellent. The fall 2011 Sicilian blend is just now being bottled and will be available from his web site and at local stores very soon.

The current Owens Creek bottle labels were designed several years ago by graphic arts designer Jessica Taich and are printed using an HP Indigo press down at Landmark printing in San Jose. Web site and marketing are run by Robert Boehm.