In the business world, it sometimes seems as if every second person seated at a conference table is a consultant. Indeed, the profession is so populous, it's difficult to imagine that there are enough nonconsultants left over to benefit from all that counsel. In the world of wine, it's an altogether different matter: only a few very accomplished winemakers ever earn the right to call themselves consultants. Mia Klein is among those few. In fact, Klein belongs to an even smaller professional constituency: she is one of a handful of top female winemaking consultants in America.
Klein's portfolio of Napa Valley clients reads like a collector's wish list of great American wineries. She is the consultant to Araujo Estate, Spottswoode and Viader, as well as the full-time winemaker at the vaunted Dalla Valle and the proprietor of Selene, where she produces three highly regarded wines, two Merlots and a Sauvignon Blanc.
Although any of these properties would be prize enough for most winemakers, the 37-year-old Klein, who is married to a Napa-based veterinarian, relishes the multiple responsibilities of a consultant, which can include everything from vineyard inspections to grape selection to bottling-machine repair. As she says, "The job fits my personality. It's extremely stimulating and I like the fact that it's work that will never be done. The wines can always be improved."