It doesn’t take much to fall in love with the wine industry. For Olivia Ludke, one of the newest additions to the Frank Family Hospitality team, the world of wine captured her heart while working as a Tasting Room Manager for a small family winery and fruit orchard in Colorado. However, her curiosity for agriculture and ecosystems and what makes them tick began long before that. While attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Olivia studied Ecology and Environmental Biology – an area of expertise that has since allowed her to ask questions about soil types, grape varieties, microclimates and more. Over the years, her desire to know more about the wine in the bottle as well as the industry that surrounds it has grown bigger and bigger. Not before long, Napa Valley was calling her name.
Since making the move from Colorado in 2017, Olivia has worked as a harvest cellar intern and welcomed many guests to luxurious tasting rooms throughout the valley. Eventually joining the Frank Family team in July of 2020, Olivia has quickly become one of the many familiar faces that guests look forward to seeing when they visit our winery. If you’re lucky enough to have Olivia as your host, you’ll learn that she takes the time to tailor each guest experience to the individual person, getting to know where you’re visiting from and how wine is incorporated into your everyday life. “I strive to share particular wines and information each guest would find the most valuable to them,” she states. When she’s not busy hosting our fabulous tasting room guests, Olivia loves to travel and spend time outdoors. Most often you can catch her exploring local beaches or hiking paths around San Francisco with her Boston Terrier, Bubbi.
FF: What is your favorite part of your job?
OL: I get to share my passion for wine and incredible Frank Family Vineyards stories with people visiting from all over the world every day.
FF: What is your best wine serving tip?
OL: Serve and enjoy your wines in a stemmed glass whenever possible. This removes any interference your hand temperature might have with the wine, leaving longer time to swirl and savor.
FF: What is one of your favorite wines?
OL: Pinot Noir is one of my favorite varieties. It requires one’s full attention to fully appreciate all its subtle nuances. It’s a terroir driven variety, with comparisons often made between the Pinots of Burgundy and California. Although it can be a challenging grape to cultivate, it is rewarding to produce and enjoy.
FF: What is your favorite wine and food pairing for spring?
OL: Frank Family Sparkling Brut Rosé with oysters fried or on the half shell. The meaty oysters create a creamy, umami sensation with a splash of fresh salinity while the bubbles cleanse and refresh the palate, making for the perfect bite.