Passion and Perseverance
Phifer Pavitt Wines have an inspired story full of passion and tenacity, where resilience illuminates a room and character rises above the tide.
It started in rural Ringgold, Georgia, when Suzanne Phifer left her hometown to embark on a cross-country road trip to California during her sophomore year in college. “The plan was to get a job for the summer. I was originally hired as a typist for Lockheed, where over time, my position grew,” said CEO & Founder of Phifer Pavitt Wines, Suzanne Phifer Pavitt. “Before I knew it, I was in the management program, and I transferred schools. After completing my Bachelors, I opted to stay and attend USC for my Master’s Degree.”
Subsequently, Suzanne took another high-tech position, traveling the world, exposing her to fine food and wine. It was during this period that she caught the ‘wine bug.’ “My mentor was selecting a bottle of wine during a business dinner, and I was so keenly aware of how he elevated the room. That was a skill set I wanted. So from that point on, I became a student of wine,” said Phifer Pavitt.
Fortuitously, Suzanne came across the love of her life, Shane Pavitt. Though both would agree that she shut down his initial advances, one dance would carry them for the next 24 years.
While still traveling extensively, Suzanne and Shane looked forward to their weekly “date night”, which became a place of ingenuity as the couple traveled together. From children, to their passion project of what is now Phifer Pavitt Wines, Suzanne and Shane knitted their love for food and wine into their life story.
In 1999, Suzanne came across a property in the Napa Valley. Boasting 23 acres of potential, the parcel was rich in history. After a “date night” decision, the couple had the original deed in hand and started building. During this time, Suzanne stood by the mantra, “surround yourself with creative and talented people and great things will happen.”
Great things did happen. Starting in 2001 and 2003, The Pavitt’s welcomed two sons, Jackson and Rhett. Then in 2005, they started building their dream home on the property and conducted their first harvest collaborating with Winemaker, Ted Osborne to craft the wines. In 2007, the Pavitt’s released their first wine. Four years later, Shane’s Father, Dr. Gary Warburton joined the team making the Sauvignon Blanc.
Today, Phifer Pavitt Wines embody family, collaboration and authenticity. Producing 2,500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, micro-production lots and sparkling wine, the “date night” inspired brand crafts premium Napa Valley wines and is 92% direct to consumer.
Affected by the 2020 Fires, the Pavitt’s lost their home, vineyards and a portion of the winery building. Though the loss was catastrophic, the family withstood the storm and persevered. Re-opening their doors on labor day 2021, Phifer Pavitt Wines has proven once again that great things do happen with talented people.
Story By: Valerie Owens
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