Pooling the Iacocca Talent, Lee Makes Lia Head of His Winery

updated 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

If you want something done right, the saying goes, do it yourself. If you're too busy, Lee lacocca might add, call up one of your kids. Two years ago the Chrysler chairman recruited his daughter Kathi, 28, to head the philanthropic lacocca Foundation. This summer Lia lacocca, 23, has taken the helm at her dad's latest enterprise, the Michigan-based Villa Nicola wine company.

Villa Nicola's three red wines, made from grapes grown on the family's estate in Tuscany, Italy, and other nearby vineyards and priced from $9 to $28, are already selling to fancy restaurants and specialty shops. Father lacocca's signature on the label, his name on the cork and the lacocca daughter's role could, of course, be helping. But Lia, the youngest in the family, insists that the company's wines, olive oil and vinegar are succeeding on their own. "The name may get me in the door," she says, "but people in the wine business want the best product at the best price."

A 1986 Oakland University grad, Lia was marketing director of a small dress-design firm before going into wine. On Sept. 18 she will marry her high school sweetheart, landscape architect Jim Nagy, 24, and then it will be back to work. "My favorite part of the job is introducing the wines," says Lia. "The hard part is securing the order." But she's used to hard labor. Growing up, she says, "We got an allowance but we had to work for it. I remember hearing over and over, 'Money doesn't grow on trees.' " Possibly vines, though.

From Our Partners