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Veteran Winery Worker Celebrates 90th Birthday
Temecula | CA

TEMECULA, Calif. --- When Vivienne Flesher first went to work for Mount Palomar Winery in 1978 there were more sheep in Temecula than people.

It was only a part-time job, but the mother of two enjoyed the hands-on work, be it running Wine Country's first tasting bar, conducting tours, putting labels on wine or bottling the latest vintage.

Today, nearly three decades after being hired by Mount Palomar founder John Poole, Flesher shows no signs of slowing down.

On Oct. 24, Flesher celebrates her 90th birthday, making her one of the oldest employees in Wine Country.

She attributes her longevity to positive thinking, good genes and staying active.

Most people think 'why do it - why not'?" she said. "It keeps me going."

To celebrate her birthday, the adventurous Flesher plans to take her first cruise with her daughter and granddaughter to the Mexican Riviera. On her 80th birthday she went snorkeling for the first time in Hawaii.

"I haven't done any parachute jumping yet," she said. "But I don't know if I could do that now.

While she rues the growth that has changed the Temecula Valley, she said the winery still retains a rustic ambience that harkens to a less hectic period.

She is amazed those winery visitors still recall John Poole's informative and enthusiastic tours and that customers come from all over the world. "I am amazed they can find us," she said.

John Poole died last year, but his son, Peter, still manages the winery, which was sold to new owners who are making plans to expand the facilitiy.

"It's nice to know that people like Vivienne Flesher exist and continue to share their knowledge and joy of life with winery visitors," said Peter. "Everyone at the winery wishes her a happy birthday and looks forward to celebrating her 100th."

Over the years, Flesher was a docent at the Temecula Valley Museum and an active member of the Rancho California Music Association, which put on the local musical comedy, "Temeculi, Temecula." Flesher played several roles, but was best known as one of the church-going "Cookie Ladies", who try to reform the notorious Temecula speakeasy, Joe Winkles Saloon, that is until they are graciously offered some of Joe's best "punch".

"You've got to be curious about life," she says. "I always want to know what the next day is going to bring."


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