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The Rensselaer Silicon Valley Network and Executive Council recently hosted an Exclusive Napa Valley Weekend which brought together more than 50 alumni and alumnae for a few days of networking, wine tasting, hiking and biking.

Rensselaer alumni hiking Napa Valley
Rensselaer Alumni and Alumnae at the trailhead at Bale Grist Mill State Park.

Saturday morning alumni and alumnae enjoyed a two-mile hiking trip at Bale Grist Mill State Park led by Rensselaer alum Peter Hart ’62, former President of Ricoh Innovations, Inc. and his wife Diane Hart, a textbook writer. Both are bird photographers and have birded in over 15 countries. The group enjoyed viewing sights within Bale Grist Mill and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park while learning about the various bird sightings along the way.

panelist for wine discussion Napa Valley
(left to right) Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with panelists Bill Hart ’62, Owner of Hart Vineyard; David Pearson ’94, CEO of Opus One Winery and Robert Biale, Co-Founder of Robert Biale Vineyards.

Following the hiking trip, Rensselaer alumni and alumnae attended an interactive presidential panel discussion with a lunch curated by a locally acclaimed chef with wine paired tastings at Robert Biale Vineyards. Attendees sat amongst wine barrels throughout the discussion on “The Premium Wine Business: More To It Than Meets The Palate,” which was moderated by Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, featuring panelists Bill Hart ’62, Owner of Hart Vineyard; Robert Biale, Co-Founder of Robert Biale Vineyards and David Pearson ’94, CEO of Opus One Winery. Topics the panel covered were the science and art of winemaking, the business behind it and the landscape of the Napa Valley wine industry.

Sunday morning began with a 12-mile bike ride led by Napa Valley Bike Tours. Bikers were able to take in the breathtaking Napa Valley views while stopping to look at wineries, the vast fields that harvest the finest wines in the region, learn about Napa Valley history and the vine to bottle process. Oakville Grocery served as the optimal stop for breakfast before continuing a short, downhill trek back to the starting point for the end of the tour.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this unique and memorable weekend!

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