Look around for photos of Three Sticks Wines’ Chief Operating Officer Prema Behan: you’ll be hard pressed to find one in which she’s not open-mouthed smiling or laughing. To put it mildly, Behan, who’s first name (Prema) translates from Sanskrit to mean “giver of love,” is a joy to be around.
Behan began working for Three Sticks Wines founder Bill Price III in 2000 in an administrative position at Texas Pacific Group (TPG). She soon found herself working closely with Price, his family, and TPG’s Director of Operations. Her work there doubled as business school: she witnessed TPG’s rapid growth and global expansion, as well as from her experience closely assisting Price in his pursuits. Behan became an essential part of Price’s team, and began helping manage his winery operations. She has been involved in Three Sticks Wines from its founding, and has built relationships with the winery’s allocation list as it grew from Price’s friends and family to include a growing number of Pinot-savvy consumers.
“Bill [Price] is one of the most exciting and interesting human beings to be around,” says Behan. “To me, Three Sticks Wines is really the essence of him, from his love of the land to his relentless pursuit of excellence. So it’s an enormous honor to run it,” she adds.
While Behan notes that she wouldn’t be in the wine industry if it hadn’t been for Price, hospitality comes naturally to her. Raised in Marin by her mother, a GM of restaurants, and her stepfather, an executive chef, she learned early on that hard work and fun don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.
Behan was involved in the design and creation of Price’s other independent wine brands: Lutum Wines – a boutique Pinot and Chardonnay winery in Santa Barbara with Gavin Chanin and Head High – a lifestyle brand making delicious wines for adventure lovers. She oversaw the preservation efforts and design work that went into the acquisition and renovation of the Vallejo Casteñada Adobe, home to Three Sticks Wines hospitality in downtown Sonoma.
“I believe in authenticity, in balance, and inspiring those around you to perform to their absolute best,” she says. “It really is my goal to have our team fulfilling their jobs via their skills and talents and loving what they do. That will equal our success,” she adds.
The Sonoma resident and busy mother of two (she has a 19-year-old and a 6-year-old son) is the President of the Board of the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, a member of the Board of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance and a graduate of California State University Sonoma’s Executive MBA program (with Honors!).