A native of Lake County, Tanner took a degree in chemistry from San Jose State University in 1976.
She worked for a few years in the air pollution industry.
My new career was born."Given that beginning, it is no surprise that Tanner has consistently taken the road less traveled, or maybe the road not even on the map.
After working for a few years at Firestone Winery in Santa Barbara County, she started her own company in 1984.
Hanzell owns 42 acres of vines and all wines are grown, produced and bottled on the property, a rare example of a completely estate winery in the European sense of the word.
Asked what particular issues with viticulture and wine production come with the territory of being a boutique producer, Arnold said: "The issues with viticulture and production with our size is that everything is done either by hand or in small-production scale.The 'Hanzell Way' is a long-term, slow-to-change, careful observation-over-generations approach.I have inherited this approach here, and also the absolute commitment to quality at the highest level for growing flavorful grapes and exquisite winemaking.The common wisdom in the wine industry these days is that the big producers are going to keep getting bigger by gulping down the mid-size producers.But if you are a small producer and do it right, it's possible to survive and even thrive in the wine market.Some call them artisan, but the most commonly used term is boutique.The question of size, in terms of case production, also comes up. There are other considerations, of course, such as whether or not the owner is directly involved in the winemaking and marketing process and where the grapes are sourced.So costs are very high for the intensive needlepoint farming vine-by-vine, to winemaking block-by-block to barrel-by-barrel lot." On the issue of costs, Arnold said if one has a short-term view of gross profit margins or short-term return on investment, he should get out of the business."We have a very long-term approach adopted by our young owner with support of his business trustees.That ended in 1980, when she found herself stationed in Glendive, Mont. Back in Lake County, she took a "temp" job on the bottling line at Konocti Winery.When they found out she was a chemist, they asked her to do some lab work.