Winemaker Tod Hickman
Finding myself as a partner and winemaker in another wine venture doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is our location—a decommissioned naval base. I was born and raised in Sonoma County and enlisted in the Navy in 1987 where I became a graduate of the Navy Nuclear Power Program. I served as a Nuclear Power and Propulsion Plant Operator and also served as a Navy Diver. Now, twenty-something years later, I am back on a navy base!
After being honorably discharged, I returned to Sonoma and attended Sonoma State University. Graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies, I took every opportunity to learn about winemaking and intern whenever possible. In 2002, I bought property in the Sierra Foothills and relocated my family onto what has since become Hickman Family Vineyards. I have often considered myself a pioneer of sorts. I enjoy facilitating the growth of the wine business and exposing areas and communities to wine tasting (and drinking!) that aren’t your typical winery destinations. Alameda Point fits right into that. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and look forward to sharing wines that I have made from Sierra Foothill grapes.
Tod can’t believe he is back on a navy base? I can’t believe that I am back on Alameda’s navy base. Twenty-eight years ago, my husband served on the U.S.S. Enterprise, stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station, and had just returned home from a West Pac. It was on these docks of Alameda NAS where my husband first met our son, already 6 months old! I never thought my life would bring me full circle, to this base again.
A lot has happened in the past twenty-eight years. I myself served in the Air Force Reserves as a Surgical Service Specialist, owned and operated an accounting business for many years, and a few things in between. Tod and I met through mutual friends and shared a passion for wine and business. We decided to combine our passions and create Building 43 Winery. I look at this next phase of my life as the best part. I get to do something that I love, and share that love with each of you. Some call it a mid-life crisis; I call it enlightenment.
I love long walks on the beach… Oh wait, wrong bio.
While I was born on the East Coast, I grew up in California and consider myself a Cali Gal. I attended Cal State University Chico, and began my career as a paralegal in SF. In an attempt to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, I quit my job, sold my car, and backpacked through Southeast Asia for 5 months.
When I returned, I realized I didn’t want to grow up. So, I moved to NYC and worked and played hard of 3 1/2 years, then came back home.
Through all of it I drank wine – a lot of wine. So, when I was looking for a second job, while still working full time for the Alameda City Attorney’s office, I came across an ad for Building 43 Winery and it seemed like perfect match. I gained more than a job while working at Building 43 Winery, I gained an extended family. Now, Building 43 Winery is a place I’m proud to call home.
I grew up around Oroville, CA and am currently attending Cal State University Chico, completing a Construction Management degree.
For 7 years, I have been the Assistant Winemaker for Tod. Although winemaking was not something I initially thought I would pursue, I’ve learned a lot from Tod and have enjoyed my time in the industry. I hope to continue winemaking in the future.
When not in class or in the cellar, I like to spend time in the outdoors. One of my favorite pastimes is fishing.
Backpack? Only if it can carry a fishing pole.
I grew up in Cottonwood, and am currently attending Sonoma State University as a freshman. While still undecided on my major, I know my future lies in the wine industry. As the newest member of the team, I’m excited for the exposure to winemaking; and as I continue to learn at Building 43, I’m eager to find my passion.
I backpacked Yosemite with my mom – does that count?