Wine & Spirits Spoken Here Announces the Retirement of Long-Time Wine Industry PR Veteran Rusty Eddy

When Rusty Eddy started in the wine business in 1982, Heublein-owned Italian Swiss Colony, daily newspapers still employed staff wine writers, and people knew what a "C-prompt" was.

When Eddy retires this month at 62, he'll leave behind 40 years of wine industry friendships and public relations experiences, starting in the cellar and ending in a Covid-necessitated home office. Owner Tim McDonald,  

Since 2016, Eddy has worked with wine industry veteran Tim McDonald at Wine & Spirits Spoken Here. "We were essentially friends and colleagues for 25 years and he'll be missed," said McDonald, "we each brought our own skillset to the business." McDonald started out as a distributor salesperson. Eddy started out as a cellar rat fresh out of UC Davis.

From cellar and harvest jobs in Germany, Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties, Eddy's first PR job was at Fetzer Vineyards in Mendocino County in 1985. He stayed with the Fetzer family until early 1991 when he was recruited to Glen Ellen Winery in Sonoma. The Fetzer sold their family winery to Brown-Forman three months later.

His Glen Ellen/Benziger Family Winery position lasted until the Benziger family sold their company to Heublein in 1994. Eddy's replacement at Glen Ellen happened to be Tim McDonald, the first time the two future business partners met.

Eddy went on to start his own PR business in Sonoma, moved it to Mendocino County in 1998, then went to work for Vintage New World wine marketing in Washington State. Eddy eventually went back to small-shop public relations, then teamed up in 2016 with Tim McDonald at Wine & Spirits Spoken Here, collaborating on Aquilini Wines, Purple Brands, Mettler Family Vineyards and Vintage Wine Estates among others.

In between the winery jobs and client management, Eddy directed the Rhone Rangers organization for three years, directed the Leadership Mendocino program for two years, as well as the Mendocino County Vintners Association, coordinated a youth exchange program for the local Rotary Club, spoke on panels at industry gatherings, and taught a UC Davis Extension class, "Public Relations for Small Wineries," for 20 years.

Eddy keeps his private pilot's license current for weekend "retirement adventures" and plans to catch up on his reading over the next year. "Wine & Spirits Spoken Here got me reconnected to Robert Larsen, who I first met in 1992 and who subcontracts for Tim, and the three of us figured out how to make Zoom work for PR in the best possible way. Travel was curtailed early on, but we kept in touch with many of our media friends because of Zoom," he says. "What I'll likely miss most about retiring: finding new solutions to issues that threaten communicating in the most effective way."

Contact:  Tim McDonald, Wine & Spirits Spoken Here

tim@wineandspiritsspokenhere.com

Source: Wine & Spirits Spoken Here

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Categories: Wine

Tags: DISTILLERY, WINE SPIRITS COMMUNICATIONS, WINERY