Since 1988, the visionary leadership of Alex Ryan has been instrumental in establishing and growing Duckhorn Wine Company into one of the most admired wine portfolios in North America. During his illustrious tenure, Duckhorn has grown from a modest 15,000 cases and a few million dollars in revenue to one of the most highly respected and fastest growing luxury wine companies in the industry. Having come up through the ranks in the vineyard and production side of the company, Alex has earned a reputation as a “winemaker’s president,” known for his unwavering commitment to quality from grape to glass. At the same time, Alex’s leadership has established excellence in every area, from the vineyards to operations, sales and marketing. The result is a company that has earned renown for its exceptional wines, world-class estate properties and industry-leading sales and marketing team, as well as for the diversity of its well-positioned portfolio, which spans multiple appellations, brands, price-points and styles.
Alex moved to St. Helena in 1976 where he became friends with the son of his future mentor, Daniel Duckhorn. He began working at Duckhorn part time during high school, and joined the company full time after earning his degree in viticulture from California State University at Fresno in 1988. As Duckhorn’s vineyard manager throughout the early ‘90s, and later as its vice president of vineyard and winery operations, Alex played an integral role in the growth of the company’s estate program, which now encompasses seven vineyards and 175 vine acres in the Napa Valley, and four vineyards and more than 200 vines acres in the Anderson Valley.
In 2000, Alex was made general manager and chief operations officer of Duckhorn Wine Company, and in 2005 he was promoted to president, becoming the only person other than Dan Duckhorn to hold this position. Since becoming president, Alex has unveiled new, state-of-the-art wineries for both Paraduxx and Goldeneye, successfully launched the Migration brand, featuring the first Chardonnay in the company’s three-decade history, and rolled out an expanded Decoy line to great acclaim—all while achieving three-fold growth for Duckhorn Wine Company.
Today, as president and CEO, Alex oversees a dedicated staff of more than 150 employees. Working with his handpicked winemaking, vineyard development and executive teams, Alex is actively charting a course for the future of Duckhorn Wine Company that honors its history of excellence, while never resting on past laurels. His groundbreaking cross-industry partnerships and his vision for strategic and sustainable growth have opened new avenues, and set new standards, for trade and consumer engagement and satisfaction. Based on these, and other, accomplishments, Alex was recognized for his “visionary” leadership and impact on the wine business, when IntoWine.com honored him as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry” in 2013. While helping to pioneer the way successful modern wineries do business in the global marketplace, Alex has established Duckhorn Wine Company as America’s preeminent luxury wine brand, with a celebrated portfolio sold in 46 countries around the world.