“I think it’s a perfect marriage,” said Jim McCormick, the Petaluma antiques dealer whose massive collection of wine industry memorabilia will become the foundation for the proposed California Wine Discovery Museum in the former AT&T Building in downtown Santa Rosa.
In July of 2012, the story of the collection and McCormick’s dream of a state wine museum was featured in the Sunday Towns section.
Lindsey Austin, the tech entrepreneur who’s heading the museum’s board, read the article and contacted McCormick. McCormick said Austin is also on the Sonoma County Museum board. Originally, he went on, the Sonoma County Museum was interested in an exhibit of the collection but the idea has morphed into the California Wine Discovery Museum.
McCormick spoke highly of Austin, saying, “He knows the wine business. I think he’ll be a great partner.”
McCormick said he’ll be involved “in an advisory capacity with the set-up and initial stuff that goes on … and making sure everything is delivered properly.”
The new museum, he said, will purchase his entire collection, “some for the museum and some for the gift shop – some things will be sold.” He’s pleased and excited because the planned museum will give the public a chance to see his collection in person, rather than on-line.
McCormick said because Austin is a “winery guy himself, he’ll make this into something bigger and more sophisticated than what I had in mind.” He had pictured showing the history of the California wine industry, the “journey and the struggle,” but said Austin will bring the story up-to-date, showing the latest techniques and modernization of the wine industry. McCormick was excited as well about the proposed wine pairing and wine tasting facility.
He cautioned this is still “step one,” that $2.5 million needs to be raised to acquire the exhibits and build the museum, but it’s “very promising.”