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Chris Corley
July 30, 2021 | Chris Corley

Founders Month | Happy Birthday Pop!

We're winding up Founder's Month here at the winery, and there is no better way to celebrate it than on our dad's birthday. Jay Corley was born on July 30, 1931, and today is his 90th birthday!

Happy Birthday Pop!

Of all of his interests, Jay was most driven by his love of Burgundian wines, which is what originally enticed him to Napa Valley in the late 1960s to establish our family winery in the Oak Knoll District. He had many other interests as well, and had a particular penchant for combining his interests with business. In business, he was a deeply strategic thinker; although on a personal level, he was a pretty straightforward guy, generally valuing simplicity over complexity. He had some simple pleasures in life, one in particular was enjoying a bowl of fresh popcorn.

With a strong business gene in his DNA, it was inevitable that Jay's enjoyment of popcorn would eventually manifest itself into some sort of business, and in the 1980s, the Napa Valley Popcorn Company was born. He procured gourmet kernels, and packaged them very elegantly in a flint burgundy bottle (of course, a burgundy bottle!). Capped with a gold capsule, and an image of a fully 'ripened' cluster of popcorn, these bottles were great additions to family movie night! Napa Valley Popcorn Company was based out of his old office at Vintage 1870, and I remember the popcorn bottle sitting on his desk for years as a kid. We would go with him to work plenty of times, and I spent a lot of time roaming around there, visiting the Connecticut Yankee, the toy store, having lunch at the Chutney Kitchen (now Bottega is in that space).

Even as a kid, I always admired how our dad seemed to find enjoyment in the things that he did and pursued. When I got older, I started to realize that he wasn't finding enjoyment, he was making it happen. That made me admire him even more. 

Those bottles of popcorn always tasted better to me because I knew who stood behind them, and I believe the same can be said for our wines. Popcorn and wine might seem like an unusual pairing, but the further I make my way through life, the more firmly I believe that its the 'unusual pairings', and the people that identify them, that actually make life interesting!

Today is our Pop's birthday, and to celebrate, we bought a classic popcorn cart to keep at the winery. We'll start serving up some complimentary popcorn on special occasions for our guests in celebration and honor of our Founder and Dear Ol' Dad.

Happy Birthday Pop!


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