Wilson Daniels Team Spotlight: Lea Jankowski

In our Wilson Daniels Team Spotlight, we take a look at the team members that make this biz what it is. Get to know Lea Jankowski, Southeast Regional Manager, who has been with the company since January of this year and brings a passion for wine to the South.

WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE WILSON DANIELS: I was with Frederick Wildman for 7 years and 3 years with EOS Winery out of Paso Robles. I worked for Lipman Brothers, International Wines, and Heidelberg distributors prior to being a supplier. I am going on 18 years in the wine business. Now I feel old.

IN THREE SENTENCES OR LESS, EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO: I spread joy with a wine bag all through the “Dirty South.” I cover the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky where many of our brands are just getting off the ground, so it has been fun learning about the wines and convincing the distributors how badly they need them. Challenging but fun.

WHAT GOT YOU INTO WINE? DID YOU ALWAYS HAVE A PASSION FOR IT? I discovered my love of wine while studying abroad in Italy. I was there to study government and law and really studied wine more than anything else, which is probably why I never made it to law school.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH WILSON DANIELS? I think my favorite experience so far has been the 40th anniversary tasting in Chicago. It was the first time I was able to taste several of our wines and meet the producers. I am consistently blown away with the quality of our portfolio and the passion from the producers.

WHO IS YOUR MENTOR? Eileen Hallmark – she is one of the most tenacious women I have ever met in this business and I have looked to her for advice since coming to the “supply” side in 2008, and perhaps even before when she was our Vineyard Brands rep when I worked for International Wines in Alabama back in 2003. I have known her a long time and value her integrity.

WHAT WOULD YOUR COLLEAGUES BE SURPRISED TO KNOW? I grew up all over the South living in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Pensacola, Florida all before I was 14 years old. I went to 8 different schools in 11 years, so my southern accent is very confused! I spent most of my summers in Mobile, Alabama, so it was always “home.” I have been in Nashville for the last 12 years and it’s my favorite city in the South!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WINE? WHY? Bruno Rocca’s Barbaresco Rabajà – I have always loved Barbaresco, and have been obsessed with Piedmont wines, so perhaps Elvio Cogno will be my new favorite!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DRINK THAT *ISN’T* WINE? Pisco Sour – with the egg white.

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT, YOU KNOW, WHEN NOT IN THE OFFICE? Amalfi Coast if I can choose anywhere; 30A is where we go almost every year though. It’s beautiful and quiet on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? I love being around my son Russell. Most of my free time is spent shuttling him to baseball, hockey, and football and I actually love every minute of it because I know I have a short window left in his life before he’s driving himself.

August 31, 2018
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August 31, 2018

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