River City Six – Jim Shaw
Meet Jim Shaw, owner of Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing.
Tell us a little about your business.
Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing is a family-run business on the outskirts of Omaha. Just 40 minutes from downtown Lincoln and 25 from downtown Omaha, we sit on high hill overlooking the Platte River valley; the views are awesome. In addition to our award-winning wines and beers, we are a fantastic venue for concerts with seating up to 2,000, weddings with seating up to 200 under roof, and company or private parties.
How did you get started in the business?
I began making wine when I was 13 years old. After a forced hiatus, I renewed my wine and beer making in my twenties. The business started in 2001 with the purchase of our land.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
The weather has been a challenge for us at times, with wild swings in temperatures that can be hard on the grapevines.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Well, I have another full-time job as an airline captain. On that path in my career I worked in aviation safety on an international level. After investigating the SwissAir 111 accident I received the Presidential citation from the International Air Lines Pilots Association. A couple of the projects I worked on have helped give us the safest years on record recently in aviation.
Tell us a little about your family.
I’ve been married for 37 years to my wife Sharon. We have three adult children.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
When a girl I was dating asked me if I had any dreams. I told her I always wanted to fly. She suggested I take flying lessons and a few years later I was in the Air Force as a pilot.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
My past expertise as one of the world’s foremost experts on in-flight fires and aircraft wiring.
What are you the most proud of?
My kids’ good hearts.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Hearing George Washington Carver’s famous quote on being all you can be.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The power to heal.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
Musician or writer.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Easter Seals, and I’m also passionate about supporting organizations related to leukemia, as my grandfather died from it, and breast cancer, as I have a sister, three sisters-in-law, and one niece that have all had it.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?
Ben Franklin, my hero.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Through our website, www.soaringwingswine.com.