Two insurance guys walk into a vineyard …
For Tim Perr and Scott Knight, this is not the start of a joke, it’s the beginning of their business, Pali Wine Co.
Perr and Knight opened their insurance firm, Perr & Knight Inc. in Pacific Palisades about 18 years ago. On a trip to Napa in 2004, they walked into a vineyard, loved it and began talking about starting a winery, too.
The result: Pali Wine, named in honor of the original headquarters’ site, Pacific Palisades. The company specializes in Pinot Noir, using grapes from several West Coast vineyards. Most bottles sell for about $20, with some of the finer varieties going for $50 at Gelson’s Markets and Whole Foods Market.
Do insurance and winemaking have anything in common?
“Any business is similar in that you have revenue and expenses,” said Perr. “You can run any business as long as you understand the sector.”
Pali, now based in Santa Monica, started very small and for three years outsourced the production. In 2008, it moved into a winery the company built in Lompoc. Pali buys the grapes it needs, but that may change soon. The partners are about to close on a 20-acre vineyard in Sonoma County and a 50-acre one in Santa Barbara County. The winemaking operation now employs 17.
Pali recently launched label Tower 15, and will open two tasting rooms this year and next in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.
Perr said there’s a certain added satisfaction in making something tangible compared to offering insurance services.
“You drink it and have it and look at it,” he said. “It is cool to make a product.”