Silver Oak has come a long way since Tim Duncan started working there as California sales manager in 1986. “I had a map and a car, and I just started calling on accounts,” says Tim. “I think I was about the 11th or 12th employee.” But Tim was no stranger to the winery. He and his twin brother Kevin had spent several summers there in their teens, rinsing barrels, working on the bottling line and moving case goods. His cellar experience was enough to convince him he wasn’t interested in the production side of wine, and he earned his business degree at Regis University in Colorado before returning to work full-time at Silver Oak in sales.
As one of Silver Oak’s earliest and longest-serving employees, Tim was and continues to be an integral part of Silver Oak’s growth and success, and has fostered close relationships with the winery’s restaurant and retail accounts that have lasted until today. While working full-time in the early 1990’s he completed the executive MBA program at St. Mary’s College, and in 1996 Tim was appointed National Sales Manager overseeing distribution to all 50 states and growing international markets.
Tim has also been involved in the evolution of his family’s vineyard and wine interests in both Napa and Sonoma, including the purchase of the Geyserville winery, the acquisition of vineyards in both counties, and the creation of Twomey Cellars, which produces Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2006, Tim was named Executive Vice President at Silver Oak and Managing Partner of Twomey Cellars, and today he is responsible for leading domestic and international marketing and sales efforts and refining business strategy at both properties. He works closely with his father, Ray, and his brother, David, adhering to the principle of continuous improvement and high standards of quality that have been the hallmark of the winery since the beginning.
“Our growth has been an on-going, organic process, a very natural progression,” he says. The construction of Silver Oak’s new winery in Oakville, which Tim helped to oversee, is another step along the way. “The ability to have ideas and see them come to fruition is very satisfying. There’s always something new to learn.”
But it is his relationships with people – with his own staff as well as restaurateurs, retailers, other winery people and individual customers – that really keep Tim enthused. Whether it’s pouring wine at a Lance Armstrong Foundation fundraiser, working one of the many charity events he’s involved in or meeting customers in the wineries’ tasting rooms, Tim is continually energized by the people around him. “You meet the most amazing people in this business,” he says. “Wine has a way of opening doors to friendships.”
Tim was Chairman of Premiere Napa Valley 2008 and has served as Member Services Chairman for the Napa Valley Vintners. He lives in St. Helena with his wife, Roo, and their five children.