At the Helm
From a young age, Aaron Walker always remembers sailing as being a constant in his life. In his early years he remembers voyaging in his dad’s modest boat from Los Angeles to Catalina Island and how the activity formed an incredible bond between him and his father as well as the ocean. He also learned early on that sailing provides an incredible mental escape, “Sailing gives you a lot of time to reflect, ponder, and let your brain go. I remember even as a kid, spending many hours on the railing and staring off into the distance at the sea and getting into that meditative state.”
Aaron spent summers of his childhood as a Junior Lifeguard in Manhattan Beach, CA in the mornings and afternoons at the King Harbor yacht club in Redondo Beach, CA where he took sailing lessons and raced competitively. After high school, Aaron attended San Diego State where he was a sailing instructor at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center teaching youth programs, summer camps, college credit courses, and recreational classes for adults.
He speaks about how the competitiveness of sailing extends just beyond the traditional races, “There’s an element of sailing that’s not formally competitive, but you’re competitive with yourself, the ocean, and the elements. It gets pretty Zen-like, you become one with the boat and feel the connection with the boat and its relationship to its surroundings.”
Sailing and the mindset that it creates will always be a part of Aaron’s life and help him navigate the waters of life, winemaking, being a good husband, parenting, and whatever else the wind blows his way.
The ethos of sailing help Aaron in his wine career,
“Like sailing the conditions are always changing and you have to adapt to the conditions. Grape growing and winemaking aren’t a cookie cutter process where you can follow a recipe in a book. The best winemakers are thoughtful, pay attention to details, and dial in what they’re doing be that making decisions on whether to pick, or prune.”