The Proust Questionnaire: Mary Maher

For the past 17 years, Mary Maher has managed some of the Napa Valley’s most coveted vineyard sites. Today she focuses her efforts on the conscientious and meticulous farming of the Harlan Estate and Promontory vineyards. Maher is considered one of the nation’s leading vineyard managers, but this Sacramento native, born into a farming family, remains straightforward and unpretentious. She’s done a pretty thorough job pruning her own ego. Here Maher talks road trips, Michelle Obama, and the occasional lie she tells her dogs.


Photo by Matt Morris

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

The little quiet moments in life.  Sunday mornings at home with my husband and dogs. 

What is your greatest fear?

Being too busy to notice when someone is in need.

Which living person do you most admire?  

Michelle Obama.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  

My monkey brain.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?  

Intentional cruelty.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Hikes in the forest with husband and dogs.

What is your favorite journey?

 Road trips anywhere.

On what occasion do you lie?

To our dogs. I tell each they are my favorite. (Thankfully they can’t read this). 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Lately it’s been f*&k. Not sure why this one is surfacing lately.

What is your greatest regret?

Not being with my mother when she died.

What is your current state of mind?


If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

That they all weren’t Republicans.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Less intense at times.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

That I stumbled into this career path that has been rewarding on so many levels.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 

Definitely a soaring bird.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Lisbeth Salander.

What characteristics do you most like in a man?

Sense of humor.

What characteristics do you most like in a woman? 

Sense of humor.

How would you like to die? 


What is the greatest love of your life?


What talent do you wish you possessed? 

Speak multiple languages fluently.

What is your motto?

A merry heart doeth good like medicine.