"Original" Partner Les Denend Joins as Chief Financial Officer
September 1 , 2003, St. Helena, CA
Leslie G. ("Les") Denend is assuming the role of chief financial officer at Long Meadow Ranch effective September 1. A highly accomplished former technology company CEO, Denend was owner Ted Hall's original amateur winemaking partner in 1971 when both were graduate students at Stanford University. Denend will serve as chief financial officer for each of the ranch's entities and will assist owners Ted and Laddie Hall in maintaining proper financial control of their highly diversified agricultural business, which includes grapes, olives, wine, oil, cattle, beef, horses, vegetables, firewood, and eggs.
"After watching from the sidelines for many years, I have been looking for a way to become more involved in the ranch and when Ted made this offer I jumped at it," said Denend. "We are returning to our original roots." A bottle of 1971 "Denend-Hall" amateur red wine - with the motto "Fine Wine Since 1971" boldly on the label - has graced the entry of the winery since it was completed in 1998.
"We are delighted to have a person of Les' talent and experience take responsibility for our financial management and reporting," said owner Ted Hall. "As one of my longest standing friends, this move is a completely natural one," he added. In the early '90s the Halls sold a 30-acre portion of their ranch to Les and wife, Judy, where they have built a home and planted an olive orchard. The Denend's olives, which provide a spicy component to the ranch's Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil, are already farmed by Long Meadow Ranch. "Les and Judy are truly part of the family and our farming operation. They already live - and now Les works - on the ranch," said Hall.
Over the past few years, the approximately 600-acre Long Meadow Ranch has added significantly to its business base with the introduction of grass-fed LMR Highland Beef and with the acquisition and reopening of Rutherford Gardens on Highway 29 in Rutherford. "Les' addition will add to our capability to sustain the high standards that we have set for ourselves," said Hall. In the past four weeks Long Meadow Ranch has also announced the additions of Ashley Heisey as Associate Winemaker, Jeanette Bowling as Trainer & Stable Manager, and Julianna Beard as Manager of Customer Relations & Marketing Support.
A decorated F-4 Phantom combat pilot, Denend was born in Hayward, California and attended the US Air Force Academy before serving in Viet Nam. Following his combat duty, Denend received MBA and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and taught economics at the Air Force Academy. While still in the Air Force, Denend was named a White House Fellow and he subsequently served in the White House under Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush.
After a stint as a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Washington and San Francisco, Denend went on to a highly successful career as a top executive in technology companies, ultimately becoming CEO of Network General in Santa Clara. A former resident of Palo Alto, he has served on the boards of a variety of public technology companies and not-for-profit organizations. "I look forward to becoming more involved in the Napa Valley community and to making a contribution here," said Denend.
Long Meadow Ranch has been known as such since 1872 when it was established as an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through Ted, Laddie and Christopher Hall's stewardship.
Long Meadow Ranch is an integrated farming system that relies on each part of the Ranch contributing to the health of the whole. The Halls continue to restore and preserve the historic olive groves, as well as add new plantings of olive trees and vineyard. They produce premium wine and olive oil, organic vegetables and eggs, plus free-range, grass-fed Highland beef. Appaloosa horse breeding and training, along with an extensive composting operation, round out the integrated activities at the Ranch.
"Excellence through responsible farming" is the motto of Long Meadow Ranch, bolstered by the belief that world-class products can be produced using simple sustainable farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and produced in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Contact: Monty J. Sander