My guest for this episode is Diana Snowden Seysses. Diana studied Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis, and went on to work in both California and French cellars with Robert Mondavi Winery, Mumm Napa, the Araujo Estate, Château La Fleur de Boüard, Domaine Leflaive and Ramey Wine Cellars. And also for the last 20 years, Diana has been an enologist and part of the family at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, and consultant at Domaine de Triennes in Provence; and she is also winemaker at Snowden Vineyards in Napa.
In addition to this enviable resume of incredible winemaking experience, Diana is one of the leading experts on carbon capture and reuse in the wine industry, and strategies for reducing the massive carbon impact of glass wine bottles. So, while I would have loved to spend this hour asking her about making wine in Burgundy, those questions took a back seat to discussing the urgent story she discovered there.
Because it was Diana’s experience of working with the natural world and tracking data in Burgundy that led her to the inescapable reality of the urgency and severity of climate change and altered the direction of what she is doing with wine.
It should come across rather quickly that Diana is a brilliant mind and bright spirit. So it makes the things that she says about the reality we’re facing all the more forceful, and, frankly, sobering. We talk very openly about the challenges of maintaining mental health and keeping courage in the face of what we know.
When I started this podcast I said I wanted it to bring hope. In a very real way, this interview with Diana is about moving beyond hope that things will get better, and yet finding the strength to continue to do the work that our planet needs us to do anyway. I personally find the inspiration for this strength in the natural world itself, in everyone I get to interview for this podcast, and in every one of you who listens. I’m extremely grateful for you, and please don’t underestimate the influence you can have on each other’s spirits and lives.
I recently came across this quote by Howard Zinn:
"The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
I hope you find Diana’s defiance as inspiring as I did.