Like an amazing number of others who work in the wine business, Bret
Davenport, president and managing partner of Buttonwood Farm Winery,
didn't start out in life expecting to become a vintner. Of course he
enjoyed imbibing, but none of Bret's early vocational pursuits involved
wine. As a matter of fact, if you ask his friends and family to describe
him, they will tell you Bret's a car guy. Bret has loved cars his entire
life. We have it on good authority that his favorite childhood game was
playing used car salesman. And even now, slipped between the pages of
his Wine Spectator, you will probably find On Track or Automobile.
But not planning to be in the wine business doesn't mean that Bret
isn't good at it. In fact, you might say that his work with wine benefits
from having a rather eclectic background. After graduating with a degree
in theater arts, and a post college adventure in a theater commune, Bret
found himself working as what he calls a part time part time janitor.
Maybe that explains why he's so handy, and so dramatic. Since then he's
worked in fields as diverse as conventional and alternative energy, the
human potential movement, bicycle parts manufacturing, and real estate.
At one time he even managed musicians, which explains . . . well, it
just explains a lot. And then, of course, he raced cars!
Even though Bret's early goals in life weren't aimed at becoming a
vintner of fine wine, sometimes the most wonderful things in life come
about when we aren't looking for them. And it's not that Bret married
into an established wine business because he was here in the beginning
(1983) helping Betty plant the vineyard. No, Bret, as much as anyone
at Buttonwood, is responsible for the success of this family business.
Over the years, as we've grown steadily from our initial bottling of
562 cases in 1989 to our current level just over 8,000 cases per year,
it's Bret who's been in the driver's seat deftly steering Buttonwood's
growth and expansion, always willing to take advantage of an opening
and doing his best to avoid hazards along the way. You see, those racing
years really did prepare him for this job!