John Bucher is the owner and operator of Bucher Farms, an organic family-run farm with 700 dairy cows in Healdsburg. He also owns Bucher Vineyard, which grows and provides Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes to several notable Sonoma County wineries. Bucher is a North Bay native who’s had three different addresses in his life—all on Westside Road in Healdsburg, where he currently lives on the Bucher family farm with his wife, Diane, and three of their five children.
What’s the best and worst part about living and working on the farm?
The best part is the very short commute. The worst part is that it’s much harder to “turn off” work because it’s right outside the door.
What’s your most treasured heirloom?
A hand-carved wooden cow that my godmother in Switzerland gave to me when I was a young boy.
What’s your favorite indulgence?
Drinking great wines and trying different wines when possible. Diane and I are planning a trip to Europe in the near future, and hope to visit the Burgundy region in France.
What are you doing when you’re not working?
Relaxing on our patio with family and friends. I also like watching and attending sporting events, especially football and baseball.
What’s your favorite summer activity to enjoy with family and friends?
Getting away to Tahoe. I love the mountains.
What animal scares you?
I have always loved animals, but reptiles, especially snakes, are not my favorite. They aren’t much fun to play fetch with.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Hands down, chocolate chip cookie dough. I always loved eating raw cookie dough as a kid. When I first saw cookie dough ice cream in the store as an adult, I thought, Why didn’t someone think of that sooner?
Who’s your favorite comedian?
Steve Martin. I had all of his albums as a child, such as Let’s Get Small. I love his off-the-wall sense of humor. It’s been fun watching his career evolve from comedy, to acting, and now as an acclaimed musician. I’m always amazed at people who can play the banjo well.
If you had to choose the single most valuable thing you ever learned, what would it be?
Learning a second language was the most valuable. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. I took Spanish in high school because I thought it would be the easiest to learn and I could fulfill the language requirement for college. Now, running a farming operation with mostly Hispanic workers, there are days when I speak more Spanish than English during the workday. Learning a second language also helps you understand different world cultures and allows you to get to know people you never would have had the opportunity to meet.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a dad and stepdad. I raised three children, Elizabeth, Hannah and Jack, by myself after my first wife, Tory, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2004. After Diane and I married in 2007, I’ve had the privilege of being stepdad to Tony and Hannah Klisura. Yes, we have two Hannah’s!
What do you love to do outside of work?
I follow Bay Area sports teams and attend games with Diane and our kids. We’re 49ers season ticket holders, and attend as many games as our busy schedule allows. We also try and catch as many San Francisco Giants and Warriors games as we can.
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