Norman Kiken ’64
Shifting from a successful career in finance, Norman Kiken '64 followed his interest-turned-passion in wine and winemaking to develop a line and legacy of award-winning wines.
Following his graduation from Bucknell, Kiken served in the Army 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam from 1964 to 1966. Following his service, he began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He was recalled to active military duty in 1968, earning the Distinguished Honor Graduate commendation during medical supply officer training. He served as chief of services at the Kenner Army Hospital in Fort Lee, Va., and was released as captain in 1970.
Kiken returned to Coopers & Lybrand for the next eight years and joined Leucadia National Corporation (now part of Jefferies Financial Group) as Chief Financial Officer in 1979. Over the course of that decade, Kiken developed an interest in wine that continued to evolve into a deep wealth of knowledge and passion for the art and business of winemaking.
In 1992, Kiken purchased a newly planted 40-acre vineyard on Diamond Mountain in the Napa Valley, from which he harvested his first crop of grapes and produced a small batch of wine under the label Daydream. In 1993, Kiken relocated to the northernmost part of the Napa Valley, started construction on a winery of his own, and in 1995, Reverie produced its first vintage wine.
That year, Wine Spectator picked Reverie, based on that first production of Daydream, as one of "Top 10 New Cabernet Producers." Recognizing an opportunity to share his trade with Bucknell students, Kiken set out to endow a wine education program at Bucknell.
Reverie continued to grow and thrive for the next two decades. It was featured on the front page of the New York Times business section and named several times as "Winery of the Year." Several of Kiken's wines were chosen as Wine Spectator's "Top 100 Wines of the Year." Kiken sold the property and Reverie trademark in 2016, but Reverie's legacy lives on through Reverie II, a historic winery estate following in the footsteps of its predecessor.
Throughout his time running the winery, Kiken returned to campus nearly every year to host a wine tasting for the Bucknell community. His endowed wine education program funds several wine tastings on campus each year, educating our students and employees on the finer points of wine production, selection and consumption. Kiken has also provided wine for many Bucknell events on campus and on the West Coast, as well as winery tour opportunities for alumni in the Northern California region.
Today, Kiken is enjoying his retirement, splitting time between San Francisco and Palm Desert with his wife, Suzi Donahue.