Premium Membership: Kevin Barr Has Been Growing a Successful Business Since 1983
By Rachel LaFranchi, Farm News Editor; Photo By Rachel LaFranchi
Published May 1, 2015
|Kevin Barr stands beside one of the many green Redwood Empire Vineyard Management Trucks|
Kevin Barr started Redwood Empire Vineyard Management (REVM) in 1983. His wife, Linda joined him in 1991, and his partner, Tyler Klick joined them in 2006. He had the entrepreneurial spirit and knew he wanted to work in Sonoma County. Barr is a fourth generation Marin County resident while Linda is a fourth generation Sonoma County farmer and Tyler is a third generation Mendocino County resident.
Barr’s father was a dentist, but his family owned a sheep ranch in Yorkville where he spent summers and weekends. “As a young boy in the back of a station wagon, I just fell in love with the Sonoma County Landscape,” said Barr.
“I knew I probably couldn’t have made a living in the sheep business and didn’t want to work in the valley so I majored in vit,” said Barr, a UC Davis alumni. After receiving his degree he moved to Sonoma County and started working for his close friend Mel Sanchetti and then Patin Vineyard Management.
When Barr started REVM he owned one truck, a beat up 1961 Chevy pickup and had five employees. REVM now has more than 400 employees, and their green trucks can be seen all over the North Bay. They operate heavily in Sonoma County but also have customers in Marin, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Barr also raises alfalfa in Siskiyou County and has a cow-calf operation with his wife Linda.
Barr attributes his success to three things. First, his long term employees – most of the employees he’s started with still work for him. Second, Barr knows a lot of hard work contributed much to his success. And lastly, Barr had a lot of luck.
From turnkey vineyard development and management consulting to gardening and house cleaning, REMV offers their clients whatever they need. Barr says they even offer their clients rides to and from the airport, knowing that many of their customers aren’t local. “We’re they’re eyes and ears,” said Barr.
REVM was the first vineyard management company in Sonoma County to become certified sustainable. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Barr, “for the land, our future and our employees.”
“Water is so critical to success. We’re blessed with water in Sonoma County, so we have to be sustainable,” said Barr. “Ag gets a bad rap. People think we’re tremendous water users but we’re not. We’re very careful and conservative with water. People don’t understand the technology that we all use in our operations daily to conserve water.”
Barr believes it’s important to educate the public about the importance of Sonoma County agriculture. He knows that agriculturalists need to build stronger bridges between the ag community and the environmental community, because keeping agriculture in Sonoma County is critical.
“The Farm Bureau is phenomenal,” said Barr. “It’s a large and powerful organization with tremendous oversight and presence in Sacramento and Sonoma County to protect the presence of the famer. They do a wonderful job reaching out to all types of ag, and that’s important.”
REVM has sent many employees to the Farm Bureau’s labor seminars and this has greatly benefitted the company. Barr loves how the Farm Bureau gets back to their roots and works in the community to showcase both old families and new ones.
When Barr heard about the opportunity to sign on as a Premium Member, he had no hesitation. “Great! Let’s do it!” said Barr.
Barr likes to always have an open mind about the future. He tries to always surround himself with young bright people in an ever changing industry. Barr feels very blessed that he and Linda have had the opportunity to live in Sonoma County and run a vibrant and thriving business; he knows it’s important to support the Sonoma County agricultural industry.
“I love the landscape of Sonoma County – it’s spectacular,” said Barr. “We have a very viable and successful industry which creates a great place to live and countless jobs. It’s very important to give back and Premium Membership is a way to do that.”