A Winemaker at Heart | Mike Reynolds

A Winemaker at Heart | Mike Reynolds

Mike Reynolds

President of HALL Wines

Mike Reynolds, President of HALL Wines, is an industry veteran and has been hailed as a winemaker at heart. This year, Mike is celebrating an impressive 20 years at HALL Wines. His initial role as a winemaker began in 2002, but he was quickly promoted to President in 2006. “There was a sense of shared values that were clear with Mike from the beginning,” Kathryn Walt Hall, proprietor of HALL Wines and WALT Wines, shared with Very Napa Valley’s Melissa Vogt. As she reminisced about the early days with Mike, she continued, “He’s a winemaker in his heart, always. And I think that is part of why he is so ideally suited to running a winery. His knowledge goes to the very core of what we do.”

Mike Reynolds has deep ties to the community built over the last 30 years. He is married to a local schoolteacher, Jenny Reynolds, and they have three children. Beyond the commitment to his family, Mike has demonstrated a genuine sense of care for those around him. In 2017 and again in 2020, during wildfires in Napa, “a lot of our employees were evacuated,” states the steadfast leader. 

“We were able to put them up in hotels for an extended period of time and really make sure that they were safe and had a roof over their heads.” And when COVID forced many local businesses to temporarily close their doors and lay off employees, HALL Wines retained all of its full-time employees. “We found something for everyone to do that would keep a steady paycheck in their pocket,” he explained. “We wanted to keep people employed through those difficult times.”

Undoubtedly, his concern and care for his team comes from the core ethos of HALL Wines. “One of the things that we have really tried to work on over a long period of time is having a strong culture built around doing the right thing,” Mike elucidates. This much is evident through Mike’s actions in the face of adversity, his willingness to show up for his employees, and his commitment to always doing the right thing. “I think Hall’s culture has been a cornerstone of our success. To that end, I meet personally with new employees to review our company’s core values – the first of which is ‘Be Responsible.’ In doing so, I hope to align our goals and expectations with each employee as they enter the company and provide a tangible framework to make decisions in their jobs in the future.”

A True Leader

Some of the people Mike has most looked up to over his career have been those that are not afraid to embrace, engage, and experiment in all aspects of the business. Those who do so understand the challenges and opportunities their team faces. Further, he believes that true leaders must encourage innovation and fresh thinking to move forward. “I try to encourage and empower our internal leaders to try new things, experiment, and test our assumptions. Only through experimentation and trying new things do we continue to move ahead and lead the pack. As Wayne Gretzy once said—You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

HALL has faced more than its fair share of challenges in wine country in the last decade that they have had to respond to (fires, earthquakes, smoke, pandemic). “Our priority has been the health and safety of our employees, families and partners, and we have made sure all of them are taken care of through each crisis,” says Mike. “Then, we work on solving every problem that faces us – I have been blessed with some key members of my team who have been willing to be present with me through the most challenging times.”

Taking Wine to New Heights

At HALL, they have built two high-quality wine brands – HALL and WALT – from nothing, and the BACA brand, which is off to a great start. We asked Mike what moment stands out over his tenure. “It’s easy to forget that as recently as 15 years ago, very few people in the wine world had ever heard of us. There isn’t a single moment of success that stands out, but I embrace the journey I have been on with Craig and Kathryn Hall and so many of the key players on our team that make it happen. We’re a true team.”

HALL has a saying at the winery – ‘No shortcuts, No excuses’ – which embodies their philosophy to go to great lengths to pursue exceptional wines. To that end, HALL wines have always been a pure expression of the vineyard and where each wine is grown. Mike and his team also believe that sustainable agriculture helps steward the land for further generations and their Estate Vineyards throughout California are either Organically or Sustainably Farmed.

Towards the Future

Mike’s authenticity and good-hearted nature overflow into every aspect of the business at HALL Wines – from how much his team respects him to his ability to run a successful winery to his hands-on involvement at every level. Mike’s storied experience includes 11 years – eight of which were as a winemaker – at Schramsberg. As his first degree was in Enology from UC Davis, it’s no surprise that his deep connection to winemaking allows him to oversee a winery with a strong passion and commitment to quality.

“One of the reasons why I was attracted to working with Craig and Kathryn Hall is that we had a shared vision that this was a long-term business. We knew we weren’t going to take shortcuts in terms of the production and development of the wines,” Mike says. “Wine quality is always at the core of what we do.”

Under his leadership, Mike has guided HALL to endless praise and countless high scores from world-renowned wine critics. HALL specializes in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, producing 18 unique wines from special vineyards and regions. The wine’s quality and diversity are on display through a variety of elevated experiences at the winery – most of which include high-end wine education led by experts who are certified in wine knowledge.

HALL is a robust, modern wine brand looking to grow at all touchpoints. Mike is always looking to develop in new and exciting ways, whether vineyards, expanding its portfolio, scouting location room spaces, and expanding unique experiences for its guests and club members. “That’s what makes the journey fun – nothing is off the table. At the moment, we plan to open a new Tasting Room in Palm Springs at the end of 2022, and we’ll see what else happens.”

Leaders like Mike are a rare and exciting find – they understand, appreciate, and take the time to learn every aspect of the business at every touchpoint. His ability to scale – and kudos during times of uncertainty – has exposed his diverse skillset as one that is unmatched. His impact on the wine industry is significant, with no signs of changing that momentum.

Miranda Mapleton Award

"I think Hall’s culture has been a cornerstone of our success. To that end, I meet personally with new employees to review our company’s core values – the first of which is ‘Be Responsible’."

Mike Reynolds

President of HALL Wines

The Corporate Magazine Business Leader April 2022 Edition
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