Interviews Denis Mackenzie

Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Brandon H


Denis Mackenzie

Denis Mackenzie is the Chief Operations Officer of an international marketing company. He also owns a winery in the Lake Erie wine growing region of Pennsylvania. He has been producing wine since 2001. At first, the winery was just a hobby. As the winery received local acclaim, he became more involved with the production.

Mackenzie started his marketing career in a small firm. As he gained experience, he was given his own accounts. He received a job offer from an international marketing firm and decided to go abroad. He learned French and Italian in an effort to make himself more valuable to his company. He was based in Paris and spent time in the countryside visiting wineries. This gave him the dream of opening his own winery.

After 10 years spent in Europe, Denis Mackenzie moved back to the United States where he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of his company. Denis Mackenzie is a dynamic young executive with a great deal to offer the world of international marketing. He mentors younger members of his firm and supports them in their career development.

Today, Mackenzie enjoys giving tours of his winery. He holds regular tasting events. As part of his commitment to community service, he hosts charitable events like sip and paint nights. The winery can be relied on to donate to local causes.

What are your favorite books?

My favorite book is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It is one of the classics of American literature. It’s set during World War II. I first read it in high school and I keep returning to it.

My second favorite book is Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. She is a restaurant critic and chef. I love cooking and food, so this book is fascinating. She spent years as an undercover critic. Her stories of keeping her identity secret from the restaurant owners and servers make me laugh. The book is so descriptive, it makes you hungry just reading it.

I also love everything by Tom Wolfe. The Bonfire of the Vanities is a portrait of New York City in the 1980s.

What’s your favorite type of food?

Greek food is my favorite. A lamb souvlaki with all the side dishes is my idea of a great meal. I have spent a lot of time in Greece, and I love the food culture there. Every little hole in the wall restaurant has a different specialty. The seafood restaurants by the harbors have the best octopus.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My father told me that I shouldn’t give up on my dream of owning my own winery. When we started, I had many doubts. I wasn’t sure that our winery would be able to survive. I hired a great vintner and turned the wine production over to him. After the first few years of trial and error, we started turning out a product that people enjoy.

I grew up close to the location of my winery, so I am able to share the place with my friends and family. It’s great to be able to host family events like weddings.

What’s your favorite thing about working in your industry?

I love to travel. Some people find travel stressful, but I find it rewarding. Exploring a new city is fun for me. I speak French and Italian, and I am learning Greek.

Speaking the language gets me around a new city easily. I always ask the staff at the company I’m visiting about the hot spots in town. If I have time on the weekends, I like to do a bike tour of the area and get to know it firsthand.

What was your first job?

My first job as a teenager was in a car wash. Washing and detailing cars by hand is not easy work. My parents felt like having a demanding summer job was the best way to teach me the value of money and hard work. I kept the tricks of the trade so I keep my cars very clean to this day.

My first job out of college was as a marketing assistant at a small company. I started at the bottom, making coffee and running errands. In a few years’ time, I was given my own accounts to work on. I feel like my first job gave me valuable experience.


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