Experts

Akiko & Ken Freeman
Freeman Vineyard & Winery

Alex Ryan
President & Chief Executive Officer
Duckhorn Wine Company

Antoine Favero
Winemaker
Mazzocco Winery

Barry Waitte
Founder, Tamber Bey Vineyards

Bart & Barb O'Brien
Owners, O'Brien Estate Winery

Bill & Dawn Williamson
Owners, Williamson Wines

Bill Murphy
Owner, Clos LaChance Winery

Bill Pesonen
Owner, William Gordon Winery

Bob Biale
Founding Partner
Robert Biale Vineyards

Bob Williamson,
Ideology Cellars

Brooks Painter
Director of Winemaking
V.Sattui Winery

Bryan Toy
Director of Hospitality, Caldwell Vineyard

Christopher Carpenter
Winemaker
Mt. Brave & La Jota Vineyard Co.

Clay Mauritson
Owner/Winemaker
Mauritson

Cleo Pahlmeyer
President, Pahlmeyer

Dan Tudor
Winemaker & Owner, Tudor Wines

Dane Campbell
Brand Ambassador, Zaca Mesa

Darcey Fugman
Owner/General Manager
Woodward Canyon Winery

Darioush Khaledi
Proprietor

Dave Guffy
Director of Winemaking
The Hess Collectioin

Dave Pramuk
Founding Partner
Robert Biale Vineyards

David Amadia
President, Ridge Vineyards

David Gates
Vice President of Vineyards Operations
Ridge Vineyards

Diane Wilson
Winemaker
Wilson, deLorimier & Matrix Wineries

Dick Dore
Founder & Co-Owner, General & Sales Manager
FOXEN Vineyard & WInery

Dominic Foppoli
Co-Owner & CEO, Christopher Creek Winery

Don Hartford
President, Hartford Family Winery

Don LaBorde
Winemaker - Paraduxx

Dr. Faith Frankel
Owner, Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden

Ed Kurtzman
August West Wine

Elizabeth Pressler
President Elizabeth Spencer Winery

Elizabeth Vianna
Winemaker and General Manager
Chimney Rock Winery

Eric Luse
Owner / Winemaker, Eric Ross Winery

Eric Mohseni
Winemaker, Zaca Mesa

Florencia Palmaz
Cofounder and Partner
Palmaz Vineyards

Gabrielle Leonhard O'Connell
Vintner, O'Connell Family Wines

Gary Sitton
Director of Winemaking, Ravenswood

Guy Davis
Founder, Farmer, Winemaker
Davis Family Wine

Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray
Certified Wine Specialist

Heather Patz
Founder, Patz & Hall

Ivo Jeramaz
Vice President of Vineyards & Production
Grgich Hills Estate

Jacques Pepin
Culinary Director, Oceania Cruises

Jason Haas
Partner and General Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard

Jayson Pahlmeyer
Founder, Pahlmeyer

Jenny Williamson-Dore
Marketing and Sales
FOXEN Vineyard & Winery

Jim Hart
Winemaker, Hart Family Winery

Joanne Dunham
Founder, Managing Partner
Dunham Cellars

Joel Peterson
SVP & Founder, Ravenswood Winery

John Olney
Ridge Vineyards' Lytton Springs COO & Winemaker

Kelly McAuliffe
Sommelier and French Wine Expert

Kendall Carson
Wine Club/Events Manager
Halter Ranch Vineyard

Liam McCormick
Co-Owner & Head of Sales, Christopher Creek

Lloyd Davis
Owner, Corner 103

Mark McWilliams
Arista Winery

Mark Vernon
CEO, Ridge Vineyards

Martin Mackenzie
Winemaker, Petroni Vineyards

Miro Tcholakov
Trentadue Vice President & Direct of Winemaking Operations

Mitch Cosentino
Winemaker, pureCru Napa Valley

Neil Collins
Executive Winemaker & Vineyard Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard

Papapietro Perry Owners
Bruce & Renae Perry AND Yolanda & Ben Papapietro

Paul and Pat Hoover
Owners, Still Waters Vineyards

Paul Gregutt
Waitsburg Cellars

Randle G. Johnson
Artezin Winemaker & WineGrower

Randy & Robin Peters
Grower, Papapietro Perry

Reagan Blackwood
Sales & Marketing Support Manager
Rombauer Vineyards

Renee Ary
Winemaker, Duckhorn Wine Company

Rich and Amy Aurilia
Owners, Red Stitch Wines

Rich Parducci
Winemaker
McNab Ridge Vineyards

Rick Small
Owner/Director of Production
Woodward Canyon Winery

Ryan Beauregard
Winemaker, Beauregard Vineyards

Scott & Melanie Klann
Owners and Winemaker, Newsome Harlow Wines

Spencer Graham
Director of Winemaking, Elizabeth Spencer Winery

Steve Falk
Chief Executive Officer, Sonoma Media Investments

Steven Honig
Honig Vineyard & Winery

Thibaud Mandet
Winemaker, WillaKenzie Estate

Todd Anderson
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards

Tom Davies
President, V. Sattui Winery

Tom Gamble
Owner, Gamble Family Vineyards

Tondi Bolkan
Associate Winemaker, Frances Ford Coppola

Trey Busch
Partner and Winemaker
Sleight of Hand Cellars

Truman Prewitt
Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden

Akiko & Ken Freeman
Freeman Vineyard & Winery


AKIKO FREEMAN — WINEMAKER
At Freeman, the gifted palate of winemaker Akiko Freeman guides every wine, every vintage. When Akiko and Ken founded Freeman in 2001, Akiko dedicated herself to the ideals of a family-run winery, and a belief that a wine bearing the Freeman name should reflect the Freeman touch. To achieve this goal, Akiko immersed herself in the world of viticulture and winemaking, and apprenticed herself to renowned winemaker Ed Kurtzman. Today, Akiko oversees every aspect of Freeman’s winemaking program, from the organic farming of Freeman’s estate vineyards and the selection of grower partners to fermentations, racking, lot evaluations and blending. Her vision and refined palate have established Freeman as one of the great benchmarks for cool-climate New World winemaking, while also establishing Akiko as a winemaking talent in her own right.
 
Counting back her family tree 21 generations, Akiko grew up in Tokyo. Her grandfather was one of Japan’s leading academics, and his love for wine, literature and art was contagious, imbuing his granddaughter with a lifelong taste for the enigmatic beauty of great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the mid 1990s, after receiving her master’s degree in Italian Renaissance art history from Stanford, Akiko traveled widely throughout Europe and as far as South Africa to explore the great winemaking regions of the world. Returning to California in 1997, Akiko worked with Ken to realize their longstanding dream of establishing a small, family-run winery dedicated to crafting expressive cool-climate California Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. This dream was realized in 2001, when the couple founded Freeman Vineyard & Winery.
 
KEN FREEMAN
Ken fell under the thrall of wine’s mystery while growing up in Scarsdale, New York, amidst a wine loving family. He recalls venturing to Zachy’s with his mom and being fascinated by the wooden crates bearing the imprimaturs of Château Margaux and Domaine Romanée-Conti stacked high on the sidewalk in front of the store. Little did he know that one day his own Freeman wines would claim a coveted space on Zachy’s shelves.
 
In 1985, Ken met Akiko. After discovering a shared passion for a more sophisticated and eloquent style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they began preparing to found their own winery. After earning his M.B.A. from Kellogg, Ken worked for years establishing the Discovery Channel in Asia, which took him and Akiko to Singapore and Hong Kong. Whenever possible, the Freeman’s traveled to the world’s great winegrowing regions, including trips to many of the great wineries of France. In 1997, Ken took a position at CNET in California, and the Freeman’s winemaking dream began to crystallize into a plan to make cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They began searching for grower partners and vineyard properties in the coolest parts of the Russian River Valley and on the extreme Sonoma Coast. In 2001, Ken and Akiko acquired a small winery in the Russian River Valley town of Sebastopol where they established Freeman Vineyard & Winery. In 2005 they acquired an adjacent property, now the site of their Gloria Estate Vineyard; and in 2007 they purchased the Freeman Ranch further west in the Sonoma Coast appellation, where they planted their second vineyard, named ‘Yu-ki’.

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Alex Ryan
President & Chief Executive Officer
Duckhorn Wine Company


 
Since 1988, the visionary leadership of Alex Ryan has been instrumental in establishing and growing Duckhorn Wine Company into one of the most admired wine portfolios in North America. During his illustrious tenure, Duckhorn has grown from a modest 15,000 cases and a few million dollars in revenue to one of the most highly respected and fastest growing luxury wine companies in the industry. Having come up through the ranks in the vineyard and production side of the company, Alex has earned a reputation as a “winemaker’s president,” known for his unwavering commitment to quality from grape to glass. At the same time, Alex’s leadership has established excellence in every area, from the vineyards to operations, sales and marketing. The result is a company that has earned renown for its exceptional wines, world-class estate properties and industry-leading sales and marketing team, as well as for the diversity of its well-positioned portfolio, which spans multiple appellations, brands, price-points and styles.
 
Alex moved to St. Helena in 1976 where he became friends with the son of his future mentor, Daniel Duckhorn.  He began working at Duckhorn part time during high school, and joined the company full time after earning his degree in viticulture from California State University at Fresno in 1988. As Duckhorn’s vineyard manager throughout the early ‘90s, and later as its vice president of vineyard and winery operations, Alex played an integral role in the growth of the company’s estate program, which now encompasses seven vineyards and 175 vine acres in the Napa Valley, and four vineyards and more than 200 vines acres in the Anderson Valley.
 
In 2000, Alex was made general manager and chief operations officer of Duckhorn Wine Company, and in 2005 he was promoted to president, becoming the only person other than Dan Duckhorn to hold this position. Since becoming president, Alex has unveiled new, state-of-the-art wineries for both Paraduxx and Goldeneye, successfully launched the Migration brand, featuring the first Chardonnay in the company’s three-decade history, and rolled out an expanded Decoy line to great acclaim—all while achieving three-fold growth for Duckhorn Wine Company.
 
Today, as president and CEO, Alex oversees a dedicated staff of more than 150 employees. Working with his handpicked winemaking, vineyard development and executive teams, Alex is actively charting a course for the future of Duckhorn Wine Company that honors its history of excellence, while never resting on past laurels. His groundbreaking cross-industry partnerships and his vision for strategic and sustainable growth have opened new avenues, and set new standards, for trade and consumer engagement and satisfaction. Based on these, and other, accomplishments, Alex was recognized for his “visionary” leadership and impact on the wine business, when IntoWine.com honored him as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry” in 2013. While helping to pioneer the way successful modern wineries do business in the global marketplace, Alex has established Duckhorn Wine Company as America’s preeminent luxury wine brand, with a celebrated portfolio sold in 46 countries around the world.

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Antoine Favero
Winemaker
Mazzocco Winery


Winemaker Antoine Favero has a colorful personal history. He was born in the Champagne region of France, but at an early age moved with his family to a Peruvian coastal fishing village in South America. When Antoine was nine years old, he and his family relocated to Northern California’s wine country.

While attending the University of California at Davis, Antoine discovered enology and quickly developed a passion for the art and science of creating exceptional wines. He further honed his winemaking skills by working at several premier wineries, specializing in Bordeaux and Rhone varietals and Zinfandel. Over the last five years Antoine has made Mazzocco literally the talk of the town for his flavorful and unique Zinfandels. 

As a winemaker, Antoine believes wines are “nurtured” rather than “produced.” His wines express the unique varietal and terroir characteristics of each vineyard site.  There is no one more in tune with his Zinfandels, his wines than Antoine.  Each is a unique piece of work and tribute to the vineyard and grapes used to make the wine.  

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Barry Waitte
Founder, Tamber Bey Vineyards


Barry Waitte is a serial entrepreneur, leads by example, and follows his passions in his personal and professional pursuits.  Barry’s professional career started when he landed a job at a very young Apple Computer in 1980. He worked for Apple for 14 years.  After Apple, Barry helped launch more than a dozen companies over a 10-year period, and in one case founded and managed a company that was eventually sold to Microsoft in 2005. 

A native Northern Californian, developed his love of the wine country during visits and vacations to Napa Valley with his parents. Barry moved to Napa in 1999, and began making wine in 2001 under the Tamber Bey Vineyards label.  

Throughout his life, Barry has maintained a passion for sports. In the late 1990s, he started to compete in an Endurance Horse Racing, which is 50-100 mile single-day cross-county horse races on one horse.  Barry has competed all over the world, and won the Gold Medal at the North American Championship in 2004, and won the 100 Mile National Championship in 2005 in Montana. The name “Tamber Bey” is derived from his first two Arabian horses, Tamborina and Bayamo.

Barry is a graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and UC Berkeley (MBA), and later completed continued studies in viticulture and enology atUC Davis when entering the wine business. 

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Bart & Barb O'Brien
Owners, O'Brien Estate Winery


The romantic journey between Bart and Barb O’Brien began over 20 years ago. Early in their relationship Bart told Barb that he was an entrepreneur. Her response was, “I am going to have to marry you, because all my sisters are married to Irish entrepreneurs." Little did Barb realize that she had signed up for an unpredictable adventure when she chose Bart as her life partner.  After seven long years of living in rental properties that were constantly sold from underneath them, Bart's first software startup, RSA Data Security, was acquired by Security Dynamics for $250 million. Bart had sold most of the stock to finance their wedding, honeymoon, and to purchase their first house. They bought a house together in Piedmont when she became pregnant with their first child, Emily. The house was sold after Emily was born in order to finance their temporary Halloween theme park venture called “Scaregrounds.” After Scaregrounds fell short, Bart went back to his passion for high tech and founded Calico Commerce, a software company that configured computers for the new sales channel of the time, the internet.
 
Meanwhile, Barb was pregnant with her second child, and welcomed their son, Mason, into their lives. Calico Commerce eventually went public in 1999 at a valuation of $1.8 billion. Bart only sold a small portion of his stock, leaving enough for the down payment to purchase the 33 acre Costello Vineyard to make Barb's dream of owning land in Napa Valley come true. Nestled within the ethereal surroundings of Napa Valley, O’Brien Estate is the direct expression of Bart and Barb’s dream. Their wines tell a story about an ever-growing, romantic relationship between two people, and are fashioned to fascinate and seduce with every sip. Each bottle is also marked on the back label with poetry from the heart of Bart O’Brien. It is the ultimate Napa Valley destination filled with love, creativity, and most importantly, irresistible Bordeaux style wines.

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Bill & Dawn Williamson
Owners, Williamson Wines


In 1980, Dawn and Bill Williamson moved from Australia to San Francisco. After eight years in Silicon Valley building a successful software startup, they sold their company to pursue their dream of growing premium grapes and making fine wines in Dry Creek Valley.

This dream has taken over twenty-five years of planting grapes and producing highly acclaimed wines. Today Williamson Wines oversees growing of 14 varieties of grapes across 28 vineyards from which they make 45 different wines with total production of about 15,000 cases.

Their decision that the wines would only be sold direct-to-the-consumer has succeeded beyond expectation. With dozens of industry awards, the wines are sought after by knowledgeable wine lovers, receiving limited quantities via wine club membership.

Dawn’s continuing love of wine country lifestyle is demonstrated in the development of a U.S. wide distribution of small producer cheese and spice products. Working with her staff chefs, Dawn continually develops food and wine pairings as well as hundreds of new, easy-to-make recipes each paired with one of their wines.

Bill oversees the vineyard grape production and winemaking. A master at blending wines he has produced Californian wines which many believe to be amongst the finest examples of Bordeaux and Rhone style wines.

In addition Bill serves on the board of a two million case wine logistics company and is CEO of GrapeGears, a wine sales and marketing software company.

The couple travel extensively to wine regions around the globe hosting an Australian wine and food trip in March each year and a European trip in September.

Dawn and Bill live on their home ranch vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. They have three children and six grandchildren so Williamson Wines has a fine team of young talent to take it on into the future.
 

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Bill Murphy
Owner, Clos LaChance Winery


Bill Murphy is the CEO and co-founder of Clos LaChance Winery. He runs day-to day management operations in all aspects of the business. He retired in 2000 after 30 years in the high-tech business as Director of Internet Marketing at Hewlett-Packard. His passion for wine was invoked in his formative years after working part-time jobs at the local white-tablecloth restaurant in Lawrence, MA. A move to Northern California created the opportunity to make wine on a hobby level. Clos LaChance was born from this hobby “run amok,” and Bill’s true passion in life has been “unearthed”—to develop a successful family wine business.  Throughout both his careers in technology and the wine industry, Bill has been very active in industry and non-profit advisory boards. He currently resides as Chairman of the Board of Visitors and Fellows at U.C. Davis’ Department of Viticulture & Enology.

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Bill Pesonen
Owner, William Gordon Winery


Bill Pesonen learned about wine early... like really early before he was old enough to drink it and long before he even thought about making wine.

Bill's parents were early appreciators of wine and discovered Napa Valley when legendary characters like Louie Martini were still running their simple tasting rooms.  A master marketer as well Mr. Martini welcomed kids into his winery and gave them a little taste of diluted wine and sent them to run around the winery and barrel room while the parents tasted  - and bought - wine.

Bill recounts "I always remembered those smells, the ambiance, the aging fruit in casks and the cool cellar environment."  During his long career as a pilot, both in the Air Force and at American Airlines, bill honed his understanding of wine in preparation of becoming a grape farmer and winemaker.  Now, on his eighteen acres in the Asti/Cloverdale area, Bill grows ten acres of grapes and two acres of olives.

He bought the barren field in 1996 and remodeled an old farmhouse while initially planting five acres of Cabernet Sauvignon in his namesake Pesonen Vineyard in 1998 and then another two in 2007.  Three acres of Petite Sirah were planed in the Perry Vineyard Vineyard in 2006.  Two hundred fruiting olive trees round out this property of rolling hills and eastern facing slopes.  A pond for irrigation centers the property and the delight Bill has for his Alexander Valley oasis is evident in his voice as he describes his transition from flying to farming.  And he does it all from planting to pruning to picking.

The Pesonen winemaking philosophy is to plant hillside, low yielding red grape varietals and picking them at optimal ripeness.  These grapes are basically hand-raised and nurtured for absolute excellence.  Bill's efforts have been rewarded with a significant number of gold and double gold medals from the top California wine competitions.

Bill makes red wines and he makes the wines he lies.  Alexander Valley is known for excellent Cabernet Sauvignon and this is what you find in a bottle of William Gordon wine.  Although he sold grapes to outstanding wineries like Jordan, where longtime winemaker Rob Davis is a mentor, Silver Oak and St. Francis, Bill starting holding back a little fruit to make the wines he likes to drink.

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Bob Biale
Founding Partner
Robert Biale Vineyards


Bob Biale was born and raised in Napa and started driving a tractor at the age of seven. With his brothers and father Aldo, they together worked to maintain the family’s tradition of growing Zinfandel. A Founding Partner in Robert Biale Vineyards and an active member of the Napa County Farm Bureau, Bob is responsible for the Biale family vineyards, the Biale winery vineyards and the numerous other vineyards that the winery sources from in Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

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Bob Williamson,
Ideology Cellars


Just how did a custom homebuilder who never had a glass of wine until he was 25 years old, become the owner of a 10 acre vineyard and small winery in the heart of Napa Valley?
 
Born in Ohio where his family had been farmers, Bob moved to California at the age of five.  He grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula and spent 16 years in the aeronautics industry with United Air Lines.  For the next 20 years Bob turned to designing and building custom homes. Meanwhile he always felt an affinity to his farming heritage and along the way discovered his love for wonderful wines.
 
As Bob recalls, “I’m not sure exactly how or when it happened… whether it could be defined by a precise moment in time, or whether it was a gradual revelation - but it happened.  My wife Joni and I fell in love with the beauty of the Napa Valley, the warmth of the people, the lifestyle and the unforgettable experiences at small family wineries we sought out. We were hooked.”
 
From a second home in Napa Valley … to a 16 acre vineyard …  taking classes in viticulture  … to purchasing a winery and turning it into a multi-winery facility dubbed by Wine Spectator as “a hidden gem in the Napa Valley”, Bob and Joni’s love of wine seems to have driven them to their destiny. 
 
Today, Bob concentrates his efforts on his Ideology Estate. His second vintage received 95 points and was rewarded #57 in Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Wines of the World. Joining forces with their 100-point winemaker, Gustavo Gonzalez, the Williamsons move forward with excitement and anticipation of what is to come.
 
The limited production, primarily single-vineyard wines reflect Bob’s ideology: The world’s most spectacular wines are an expression of the land in which they grow. Now that the Ideology Vineyard has proven it can produce award winning wine, he moves forward on the design of a new winery – one specifically designed for Ideology Cellars – to house and showcase his vineyard and highly sought-after boutique wines.
 
“I am proud to have made the transition from custom homebuilder to  Napa Valley vintner. Creating world-class wines and living in Napa Valley is my dream come true.”

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Brooks Painter
Director of Winemaking
V.Sattui Winery



Brooks Painter has been the Director of Winemaking at V. Sattui Winery since 2005 and is responsible for the winery’s portfolio of 45 different wines as well for viticultural and grape growing operations, supervising 230 acres of estate vineyards as well as contracts/grower relations with outside growers. He is responsible for growing or sourcing ultra-premium varietal wines from throughout California, and the winery’s steady stream of accolades substantiates his expertise. 
 
Born in San Francisco, Brooks Painter grew up in northern California. He graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a double major in Chemistry and Biology. He went on to complete additional coursework and seminars in viticulture and winemaking.
 
Brooks has been called ‘the winemaker’s winemaker,’ because of his extensive expertise and prominence as a wine industry leader among his peers. He has been a winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, Leeward Winery in Ventura, CA and Felton-Empire Vineyards in Felton, CA. Brooks has served as President and Board Member for the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group and has been a technical reviewer for enology research proposals submitted to the American Vineyard Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by the wine industry to provide grant money for research and development projects. His research on biochemistry and sensory evaluation of wine has been published in The American Journal of Viticulture and Enology, Biochemistry, Practical Winery & Vineyard and Wines & Vines.  Brooks is a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture and a former chair of the Microbiology Committee for C.E.R.A. (California Enological Research Association). He has taught adult-education classes on wine and grape growing for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
 
Brooks and his wife Beth have lived in Napa for the past fifteen years. Their two grown children, Miles and Emily, are now enjoying the wine tasting and winery visits that used to bore them to tears! Brooks and Beth are involved in charitable organizations in Napa Valley as well as being active in local community and public planning issues. As a family, they enjoy traveling, skiing/snowboarding, sailing, hiking and cooking.

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Bryan Toy
Director of Hospitality, Caldwell Vineyard


 
Bryan’s journey to Caldwell Vineyard started when he was fresh out of high school and on his way to his family’s organic vineyard and farm on the Greek island of Corfu. He spent four years learning all he could about winemaking, farming, and hospitality. This unique start in the wine industry taught him not only the older than old world way of making wine, but of the responsibilities to the land and ensuring the pure story of that year’s vintage way conveyed into the bottle.  He detoured from wine for a few years working as a fireman in Washington DC, but he soon realized that vineyards had stolen his heart. He started out as the lowest guy working at a winery in Loudoun County in northern Virginia and after three years had worked his way up to become the G.M., making wine, managing the vineyard, building the winery, running hospitality.
 
While in Virginia he mentored under Lucie Morton, a well-known worldwide viticulturist and vineyard consultant. His education in the vineyards well underway, he found himself looking for a mentor in winemaking and set his sights on Chile. He flew to Chile and quickly landed a job as the Assistant Winemaker for Emiliana Winery, an award-winning biodynamic producer with 50,000 annual case production. 
 
A year later, Bryan decided that he would find what he was looking for in Napa Valley. His old mentor Lucie Morton told him he needed to talk to John and Joy Caldwell and made the introduction. He took a harvest position at Caldwell Vineyard and immediately just fit in at the winery and with John. As Caldwell’s Director of Hospitality, Bryan dedicates himself to delivering ultra-premium service to his clients by being available to them day or night and upholding the winery’s culture of integrity and having the highest caliber artisanal standards for winemaking. 

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Christopher Carpenter
Winemaker
Mt. Brave & La Jota Vineyard Co.


Chris Carpenter is winemaker for many of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries, including Cardinale, Lokoya, La Jota Vineyard Co., Mt. Brave, and most recently Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Over the past two decades, Chris has earned a reputation for taming Napa Valley’s mountain tannins and creating legendary Cabernet Sauvignon. He works closely with the vineyard team to nurture and then manifest the unique character of each vineyard block in elegant wines with great depth, mountain character and historic pedigree. He believes in maximum attention in the vineyards and minimal intervention in the winery to create the purest expression of place.
 
Chris grew up outside Chicago and developed a thirst for knowledge. With an intellect geared for science and a physique built for athletics, he earned an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, while playing Big Ten football. He went on to receive his MBA at the University of Illinois, Chicago, while selling medical products and bartending at an Irish Pub and later a music club. At the club, he was surrounded by musicians and artists, and together, they started exploring and discovering the great food and wine scene in Chicago.
 
During a visit to Napa Valley in 1993, Chris discovered a lifestyle that could challenge him both intellectually and creatively, while combining his love of science with his growing passion for culinary and wine pursuits. Soon after, he started studying at UC Davis, where he earned a master’s degree in both viticulture and enology. He studied further in Italy at the Tenute Antinori, Santa Cristina Estate, now known as Tignanello. There, he worked in the cellar and vineyard and was also hands-on in the lab. Chris credits his time in Italy with teaching him how wine, food and culture are all intertwined.  
 
In 1998, Chris ultimately found himself back in Napa Valley at the Cardinale Estate. In 2000, he was appointed winemaker for Lokoya, where he crafted stellar wines from the finest mountain fruit. He quickly went on to assume the same role for Cardinale a year later, and was named winemaker for La Jota in 2005 and for Mt. Brave in 2007 with the purchase of the vineyard properties on Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder.  In 2012, Chris commenced a new project, Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, in McLaren Vale with co-winemaker Charlie Seppelt.
 
The passions that Chris developed in his twenties and thirties continue to shape his personal and professional life. Chris and his wife, Tina, founded the Napa Valley chapter of Slow Food, and he served as chair for Slow Food USA, an organization dedicated to preserving regional foods and supporting small food purveyors, and to celebrating local farmers and chefs. He is the chair of the board of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony and is an avid concert-goer, and he occasionally plays the trombone. Chris continues his love affair with the restaurant business by bartending every Friday night at the Rutherford Grill where he “learns more about human nature and about life in general, behind the plank.”
 

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Clay Mauritson
Owner/Winemaker
Mauritson


Born and raised in the Dry Creek Valley, Clay is part of the sixth generation of a grape-growing
family. Pioneers from Sweden, they raised Merino sheep for the wool and planted their first
vines on land they settled in 1868, an area that now anchors the Rockpile AVA.
 
After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1997, Clay returned to Sonoma County,
where he worked at Kenwood Vineyards, and later honed his skills alongside winemakers at
Jordan Vineyards and Winery, Taft Street Winery and Dry Creek Vineyard. In 1998, the
Mauritson Family Winery was founded with the first bottling of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
 
Clay is committed to making wines that exemplify a sense of place, and his philosophy of
winemaking is simple: “You need exceptional fruit to make exceptional wine.” And his heritage
provides an advantage -- with more than 350 acres of family owned vineyards and strong
relationships built over decades with other growers, Clay has access to some of the best grapes in
Sonoma County.
 
Clay lives in Healdsburg with his wife Carrie, sons Brady and Davis, and daughter, Ella. He has
been President of both the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Rockpile Grape Growers
Association and served on the board of the Sonoma County Vintners Barrel Auction Committe.
Clay also is a founding board member of the Down Syndrome Association North Bay (DSANB).
The nonprofit raises awareness, promotes advocacy, furthers educational pursuits, and supports
research to improve the lives of people with Down Syndrome and their families. Along with his
wife, Carrie, and close friend, Chef Charlie Palmer, Clay launched “Project Zin” in 2012, and the
now annual event has raised more than $500,000 for DSANB.
 
At U of O, Clay earned a degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and
a minor in Finance. He also played outside linebacker for the Ducks, including in the 1995 Rose
Bowl and 1996 Cotton Bowl, exhibiting the intense drive, discipline and dedication to excellence
that continues to help him succeed today: “What inspires me is the challenge of making wine that
removes all outside influence, including ego, and creates the path of least resistance to allow a
specific vineyard site to live up to its full, unique potential,” he says. “That, to me, is the true
competitive spirit of making great wine and the essence of perfection!”

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Cleo Pahlmeyer
President, Pahlmeyer


Daughter of Jayson Pahlmeyer, Cleo grew up with the family business but never visualized herself actually joining the winery. Her education took her to the East Coast where she received her BA in Art History from the University of Virginia and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Connoisseurship of Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. After landing a job at Bonhams auction house in London, she discovered that it was not only the art auctions that interested her, but the wine auctions as well. “Seeing our wine in London auctions, I realized for the first time what a respected name Pahlmeyer is in the wine world,” she admits. “It was an awakening for me and I began to consider how I could help propel the company my father had built.” 

With Napa’s exceptional cuisine and world-class wines in her DNA, Cleo comes by her love of wine and the wine industry naturally. In 2008 Cleo joined the family business in sales and customer service, and with characteristic Pahlmeyer exuberance infused the winery with new energy. She moved on to manage direct to consumer sales and marketing, and later directed the company’s communications and public relations. Cleo was instrumental in the development and launch in 2014 of the 
Wayfarer Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay from their estate vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation, planted in 2000. In 2017, Cleo was appointed President. 

“My father’s vision and passion have driven our success for more than thirty years,” said Cleo Pahlmeyer. “With the support of an incredibly talented and dedicated team, I am honored to continue Pahlmeyer’s legacy of iconic wines and be a steward to our exceptional estate vineyards.”

A mother of two, Cleo is devoted to her family.  And when she has time, she is also an avid cook.  Cleo and her husband Jamie Watson love to entertain friends and family and spread the Pahlmeyer story all over the world. “I meet people everywhere who share wonderful experiences they have had with our wines, and often hilarious stories about my dad,” she says. “It has been an incredible journey so far but what really excites me is the future of Pahlmeyer."
 

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Dan Tudor
Winemaker & Owner, Tudor Wines


Every year, Dan's grandfather Tudor used to make wine for his friends and family in Croatia.  In the early 1900's the Tudors began growing grapes in California and continue to operate one of the largest table grape vineyards in the country.  

Dan Tudor first made wine in 1982 while working for cousin Louie Lucas, the founding and managing partner of Tepuesquet Vineyards in the Santa Maria valley.  There were 1700 acres of high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Riesling to choose from.  The 1982 and 1983 wines along with a 1983 sparkling wine all won 1st and 2nd place awards at the Santa Barbara County Fair and later at the Santa Cruz County Fair amateur wine competitions.  Dan, inspired and encourages, began his lifelong goal to start a winery and make world-class wine.

In 1997, Dan begin his quest and discovered Monterey County's potential as top-flight winegrowing region.  Its vast micro-climates and terroir allow for over 40 different grape varieties but it was Pinot Noir that Dan pursued.  Dan's first cousin Christian Tudor, committed to preserving the family tradition, teamed up with Dan to start Tudor Wines and create handcrafted wines.


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Dane Campbell
Brand Ambassador, Zaca Mesa


Dane Campbell born and raised in Chico, California but yearned for the Southern California living.  He began his journey in the wine industry in 2006 after graduating from University of California, Santa Barbara. His initial years were spent learning about local and international wines as the manager and buyer for Sterns Wharf Vintners Wine Bar, before feeling the urge to get some experience on the winemaking side.  
 
That itch led him to Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, where he began working in the tasting room before he was chosen to work as the lab and cellar intern for the 2008 harvest.  The knowledge gained during the 2008 harvest focused him towards a role within wine education and consumer direct sales at Zaca Mesa.  
 
Dane then buckled down and passed both the Intro and Certified Sommelier (CS) levels of the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) exam through the Society of Wine Educators.  From there his attention turned towards the wholesale side of the business, prompting him to leave Zaca Mesa for a hiatus as a Fine Wine Specialist with the Henry Wine Group covering Santa Barbara County. This experience gave him valuable street sales training and experience. He then brought that training back to Zaca Mesa where he now works as a supplier and wine educator for the Central Coast region of California as well as out of state. 
 
Dane geeks out about wine and soil, when he’s  not sharing his mass amount of knowledge on wine , you’ll find him at the beach riding Santa Barbara’s famous waves. 

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Darcey Fugman
Owner/General Manager
Woodward Canyon Winery


Darcey became General Manger of Woodward Canyon Winery in June of 2000.

Previously, she was employed by the Walla Walla County Regional Planning Department for twenty-two years, beginning as an Associate Planner and rising to Planning Director.  It was the job with the County that brought her to Walla Walla from the Pugent Sound in 1978.  With no intention of staying in Walla Walla, she met Rick and helped him bottle homemade chardonnay in his basement on their second date.  The die was cast and they married in 1980.

It was her background in planning that enabled her to prepare the original petition for the Walla Walla Valley appellation, along with Becky Hendricks, the then co-owner of Seven Hills Vineyard.

Darcey has been very involved in the community serving on a number of boards and advisory committees, including the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Walla Walla, the American Association of University Women, United Way of Walla Walla, the Carnegie Art Center Board of Trustees, several Walla Walla Public School District advisory committees and the Board of Directors of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.  She is currently serving as a Trustee for Walla Walla Community College.

When not in her office or in a meeting, she can be found in the winery garden which she designed and planted.

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Darioush Khaledi
Proprietor


Darioush Khaledi’s life story has inspired the creation of Darioush and continues to shape it today. Darioush is a man dedicated to wine and the ideals of the American dream – a deeply rooted belief in individualism and opportunity. Born and raised in Iran, trained as a civil engineer, and a lifelong entrepreneur, his fascination with wine was instilled at an early age by his father’s winemaking efforts and the cultural history of winemaking in Shiraz.

Darioush emigrated to the US seeking opportunity, reinventing his career by building what became at one point the largest family-owned grocery business in California through determination, experimentation and a commitment to pursue opportunities others overlook. Together with his wife Shahpar, he founded Darioush in 1997, and set out to produce wines that celebrate individualism and craftsmanship. The winery is Darioush’s realization of his American dream.

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Dave Guffy
Director of Winemaking
The Hess Collectioin


Dave Guffy first became interested in wine as a Food Science student at Cal Poly,
San Luis Obispo. He was working in restaurants where he had the opportunity
to sample a variety of different wines and wanted to learn more. This inspired
him to work a harvest at a small Santa Cruz Mountain winery, and he decided to
transfer to Fresno State to be part of the enology and viticulture program.
 
In 1999, Donald Hess hired Guffy as Director of Winemaking for The Hess
Collection. As a winemaker, Guffy places special emphasis on what happens in the
vineyards, where he spends time year-round. “I have a strong belief in making
wine in the vineyard, working each site to absolutely maximize flavors,” says Guffy.
“My goal is to make ripe fruit forward California style wines with both power and
elegance.”
 
A California native, Guffy spent many summers with his grandparents on their
500-acre Kansas farm. To this day, Guffy is fascinated by the agricultural elements
of winemaking. “The farming aspect of wine has a primal challenge about it, and
the same with winemaking,” says Guffy. “You can never know everything. Every
year the challenge is to do it better than the year before.”

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Dave Pramuk
Founding Partner
Robert Biale Vineyards


Dave Pramuk was born and raised in Napa in a medical family. After graduation from CSU Chico and newspaper work, he began a career working in sales and public relations at Napa Valley wineries. A Founding Partner in Robert Biale Vineyards and lifelong friend of Bob Biale all the way back to grammar school, Dave is a board member of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley and active in Appellation St. Helena, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers and Petite Sirah’s P.S. I Love You. Dave is responsible for the Biale winery’s marketing, sales, and communications.

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David Amadia
President, Ridge Vineyards


David is in his 13th year at Ridge, having joined in 2005.  He has worked as a member of the Executive Team for his entire tenure and was promoted to President in 2016.  David has worked diligently over his tenure at Ridge to cement the winery's international reputation as one of the world's highest quality producers of traditionally made, single vineyard wines.  

David leads all of Ridge Vineyards' sales and marketing efforts including international, Direct-to-Consumer sales, and the U.S. market.  He also leads the company's Finance, IT and Logistics functions.  David began his career in wine in 1990 as an Export Director and continues to directly manage Ridge's international distribution network that spans across 50 countries and 5 continents.

At Ridge, David is energized to be part of a team uniquely committed to making the highest quality single vineyard wines utilizing only traditional winemaking techniques.  Ridge remains committed to the original philosophies of the founders that were carried forward by Paul Draper for nearly 50 years and have been passed to the next generation to maintain unbuoyed by outside trends and fads. 

Prior to coming to Ridge, David worked between 1995-2001 as a Vice President for Australia's Southcorp Wines.  There he collaborated with legendary winemakers, John Duval and Peter Gago, and marketed celebrated wines like the Penfold's Grange Hermitage and Wynns John Riddoch.

 

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David Gates
Vice President of Vineyards Operations
Ridge Vineyards


David grew up on a hundred-and-sixty acre farm in central Minnesota, and decided to escape the cold winters by coming to California for school.  His love of plants and agriculture led him to UC Davis, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Viticulture.  After an obligatory stint in Napa Valley he made his way to Ridge in 1989 and is now helping Ridge with all aspect of viticulture, including managing the historic Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Whitten Ranch at Geyserville, and the Lytton Estate vineyards at Healdsburg.

 

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Diane Wilson
Winemaker
Wilson, deLorimier & Matrix Wineries


Diane first started winemaking in 1994, learning the art by hands-on training in Dry Creek Valley, and since then,has shot to the forefront of the Sonoma County wine industry by winning unprecedented back-to-back Sonoma County Harvest Fair Sweepstakes in 2005 and 2006, and then again in 2011. January, 2013 brought her another Sweepstakes winner at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for her Petite Sirah and in october 2015 at the Sonoma County Harvest fair for her Pinot Noir, showing that Zinfandel isn’t the only varietal getting top ratings. Honored as Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2011 and 2018 at the International Women’s Winemaker Competition, Diane has had a strong track record as an outstanding winemaker, capturing dozens of 90+ scores and over 100 Gold Medals. Diane was recognized as Best All Around Winery at the 2016 Houston International Wine Competition & Rodeo.  In addition to being the winemaker for Wilson Winery, she also makes wine for deLorimier and Matrix wineries. 

As a winemaker, Diane spends time honing her craft, learning from other esteemed winemakers, and researching methods to keep her au courant with the newest cellaring and winemaking practices.  Our vineyard locations range from the loamy valley floor of the Dry Creek Valley to the more rugged and remote hilltop elevations around 2400 feet. Diane and Ken have named their vineyards after family members based on the characteristics of each vineyard.  Each harvest brings something new for the small-lot, single-vineyard designate winemaker at Wilson Winery. 

Known in the area for her amazing Zinfandels, Diane Wilson has branched out into different varietals for the new boutique wineries that she and husband Ken have purchased in the past several years.  More than a home for Wilson wines, Wilson Winery is the homestead for their growing family of wineries they nurture and are proud to call Wilson Artisan Wineries.  Besides Wilson, deLorimier and Matrix Wineries also included in their portfolio are  Mazzocco Sonoma,  Pezzi King, Soda Rock, St. Anne's, Jaxon Keys, Greenwood Ridge and & Rockpile Vineyards.

Local to the North Bay, Diane is an avid runner, and accompanied by companion Molly, her Border Collie, she runs the local trails and paths of beauty in Sonoma County.  She enjoys her garden, using what she grows for her savory family meals.  Diane loves to discover how food flavors pair with wine, and is often found assessing flavors for varietal pairings, or creating recipes to serve at winery events. Diane is the mother of three adult children who are involved in the family business at Wilson Artisan Wines.

One thing is for sure; Diane will continue to add to her ever-growing wine accolades portfolio and produce some of the best wines coming out of Sonoma County, California.

Wilson Artisan Wines 2020 Tahiti Cruise - Read More

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Dick Dore
Founder & Co-Owner, General & Sales Manager
FOXEN Vineyard & WInery


Life has come full circle for Dick Doré. Born and raised on the family-owned Rancho Tinaquaic, this sixth generation Santa Barbara County resident returned to his roots in 1985 where he established FOXEN Vineyard & Winery with Bill Wathen.
 
After working as a banker in the late sixties and seventies, this University of California at Santa Barbara graduate gave up his nine-to-five job and moved his family to Europe. Over the next year and a half, Dick traveled the back roads of France, Italy and Spain, where he developed his love of wine. Dick returned to theRancho Tinaquaic in the late seventies, just as the Santa Barbara County wine industry was emerging. With his passion for great wines firmly established, he initially worked to support his family, which included working for the Tepusquet Mesa Vineyard. It was here that Dick and Bill’s paths crossed and a life-long friendship and partnership was established.
 
Dick makes his home in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he lives with his wife, Jenny. When he is not out “on the road” selling wine and hosting FOXEN events, his free time is spent nurturing his and Jenny’s seven-acre Williamson-Doré Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley and tending his vegetable garden and orchard. 

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Dominic Foppoli
Co-Owner & CEO, Christopher Creek Winery


Dominic Foppoli is the co-owner of Christopher Creek Winery. With over 100 years of grape growing in America and centuries of wine history in Italy, Dominic represents generations of family wine passion. He is one of only a handful of Americans to hold a Master’s Degree in the business of wine. Along with Christopher Creek, Dominic is also the founder and owner of Russian River wine producer Foppoli Wines, Napa producer Benevolo wines, and Sonoma County Beer producer Old Redwood Brewing Co. Dominic is an active leader in the Russian River Valley Millennial Council which represents the face and voice of the next generation of wine in Russian River. Dominic is also passionately involved in the youth service charity organization Active 20-30 and was recently elected Vice Mayor of Windsor, Ca.

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Don Hartford
President, Hartford Family Winery


Don Hartford grew up on a small strawberry farm in western Massachusetts, and later attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. To cover the cost of tuition and expenses, Don worked as a "straw boss" on a cigar wrapper tobacco farm, a degreaser in a bicycle factory, and a lifeguard at Congamond Lakes in Massachusetts.
 
After earning a B.A., Don spent a year teaching English-as-a-second-language in Spain and later taught Spanish for four years in Massachusetts. Don Hartford met his wife, Jennifer Jackson-Hartford, at Santa Clara University in Northern California in 1979. (Shortly thereafter, Jennifer's father, Jess, started a modest 16,000 case winery called Kendall-Jackson.) In 1982, he graduated from Santa Clara Law School. Don's legal career included a Tokyo law firm, a large San Francisco-based firm, Jess Jackson's practice of Constitutional law, and work at the California Supreme Court. He also was a partner in a small country law partnership, and served for a time as a winery general counsel and vice president.
 
For more than twenty-five years, Don has been immersed in winemaking and winery management. In the process, Don has returned to one of his first loves-the land and farming. In addition, he and Jenny personally own and lead the farming of the winery’s vineyards, including a small old vine zinfandel vineyard behind their home. As President and part owner of Hartford Family Wines (with Jennifer), Don works "hands on" at all levels of the business, including work in the vineyards, winery, marketing, hospitality and sales.

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Don LaBorde
Winemaker - Paraduxx


As the winemaker for Paraduxx, Don LaBorde is committed to the idea that the Napa Valley is capable of producing exceptional contemporary blends that showcase a uniquely Californian personality.  Don combines his mastery of multiple grape varieties, winemaking experience spanning two continents, and a love of blending to make wines acclaimed for their stature and sophistication.

Though born and raised in Louisiana, Don gained an international perspective on winemaking by earning his wine science degree from Australia's Charles Sturt University - one of the world's most respected viticulture and enology schools.  At Charles Sturt, Don was selected for the prestigious assistant research winemaker position at Australia's National Wine and Grape Industry Center, where he honed his skills with multiple grape varieties.

Don's experience working across the varietal spectrum continued at Napa Valley's Trefethen Family Vineyards, where Don was the enologist.  At Trefethen, Don worked with all five red Bordeaux grapes, as well as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Working with Trefethen's Bordeaux varieties, Don developed a barrel-by-barrel approach to blending.  Don further refined his approach to blending when he became the assistant winemaker at Francis Coppola Winery, in  2008, where he supervised winemaking activities at multiple facilities.  "Like Duckhorn Wine Company, Coppola offered the rare opportunity to work alongside several great winemakers," said Don, "I gained invaluable experience that allowed me to fine-tune a small-lot approach to achieving small-lot quality."

Don joined Duckhorn Wine Company in 2011 as the asssociate winemake for Sonoma County, overseeing Decoy.  Recognized for his exceptional palate and his phenomenal ability to work with an array of varieties, Don was soon named the winemaker for Decoy, where he played a key role in establishing it as one of the modern wine industry's great success stories.

In 2014, in recognition of his skill as a winemaker, and his masterful blending ability, Don was named winemaker for Paraduxx.  "Paraduxx is a winemaker's dream." said Don.  Working with legendary Napa Valley growers and our own phenomenal Estate Vineyards, I get to work with the finest fruit in the world, and make wines that are not limited to specific grape varieties, or varietal percentages.  We create our own benchmarks at Paraduxx.  This gives us remarkable freedom to create iconic and compelling blends that capture the rich diversity of Napa Valley.



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Dr. Faith Frankel
Owner, Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden


Faith joined her father on many a long walks around the vineyard, listening to his vision of a art and wine paradise in picturesque Paso Robles and talking about his day at his medical practice.  She followed in her father's footsteps attending medical school in Israel and completing residency at University of Southern California.  She then opened a medical practice in Paso Robles and yet still finds time to work in the winery. She loves to spend her time traveling and has well developed culinary skills with a talent for pairing wine and food.

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Ed Kurtzman
August West Wine


Ed's journey into winemaking began quite by accident, when he took a job at a wine shop during his undergrad studies at UMass Amherst.  It wasn't long before Ed realized that wine was more than a passing fancy.  He jettisoned his original career plans, moved to California to sell wine, and soon enrolled in the enology program at Fresno State.  After graduating, Ed embarked on an early career that included stints at some well-respected central coast wineries.  He started out in the cellar at Bernardus, under the tutelage of Don Blackburn and Kirby Anderson.  Next, he spent three harvests as assistant winemaker to Michael Michaud at Chalone before taking the reins as head winemaker for Rob and Diana Jensen's Testarossa Vineyards in Los Gatos.  It was at Testarossa that Ed's deft touch with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay started to gain widespread attention.  Before long, he found himself in demand as a consulting winemaker, taking on clients including Freeman, Fort Ross, ROAR and Mansfield-Dunne while becoming a partner in August West.  He also started his own label, Sandler, in 2003.

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Elizabeth Pressler
President Elizabeth Spencer Winery


Elizabeth grew up near Philadelphia in a modern house set in a colonial neighborhood. Her father owned an executive recruitment business, and her mother was a gifted gardener, cook and entertainer. “There was an independent and entrepreneurial spirit in our home,” she recalls. “I grew up with the tastes and smells of fresh tomatoes and raspberries.” An uncle introduced her to the joys of Italian wines.

Elizabeth worked in a restaurant as a waiter, hostess and sommelier, earning tuition for Post College on Long Island, where she majored in English and minored in art history. Back in Philadelphia, she first sold ad space, then worked in public relations, promoting first-run foreign cinema, regional art theater, dance, major department store special events and even launching a cosmetics company. Her father’s daughter, she soon hung out her own shingle.

She devoted free time to reading about wine, pairing wines with meals cooked for her friends and taking wine appreciation classes. In 1978, she drove cross country to the Napa Valley to work as a tour guide at Joseph Phelps Winery.

Soon she was managing hospitality and working beside Joe in the kitchen along with culinary luminaries like Madeline Kammen and Alice Waters, and meeting others like the “astounding” Elizabeth David. She also assisted Bruce Neyers with marketing, writing collateral materials, meeting with journalists and distributors, selling on the road.

Next she served as director of marketing for four years at Chalk Hill Winery, repackaging and repositioning the brand. Four more years as Hess Collection’s first director of marketing and public relations were spent setting up distribution and developing the new facility to showcase wine, food and art. Elizabeth relished designing the visual aspects and scripting a film exploration of the vineyards for the winery’s theater. “I was thrilled to work from scratch on an energetic, creative team with the resources for a high-end project.”

In 1991, once again she put out her shingle, offering marketing for the wine industry and specializing in launching new luxury brands. Napa Valley had become her home and her business grew by word of mouth. Elizabeth had lived on the celebrated Eisele Vineyard for nearly 15 years, getting to know the original owners and hiking every inch of the land. “I came back there to work with the Araujos when they bought it. I respect them as good stewards. They kept what was good and improved where they could.”

She realized her craft was to identify and express what is unique and authentic about her clients. “The best positioning comes out of being true to yourself,” she says. “I’ve had the great fortune to work with wineries that have gone on to become renowned. Their reputations are deserved because of the thoughtfulness and honesty with which they’ve put together their brands.”

Through working with Araujo, Dalla Valle, Etude, Franciscan, Harlan, Kamen, Seavey, Soter, Spottswoode, Viader and others, Elizabeth arrived at an almost inevitable point in her career. “Partnering with Spencer to make our own wines seemed such a natural evolution after selling and marketing so many others.”

First food, then wine careers put her and her husband on parallel paths, Elizabeth explains, and they entered the wine business precisely as California blossomed and gained acceptance. “We both grew along with the industry,” she says. “We did not make our fortune in another walk of life and come here to fulfill our dream. This always was our life, and we’ve been blessed to live our dream.”
 

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Elizabeth Vianna
Winemaker and General Manager
Chimney Rock Winery


Elizabeth Vianna attributes her career in winemaking to a glass of 1985 Sociando Mallet, which she enjoyed at a pre-auction tasting at Christie’s in New York. A biology major at Vassar College, Elizabeth was originally on the pre-medical school track. She fell in love with wine as a consumer while living in New York City, working as a clinical toxicologist at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Her strong science background and sudden infatuation with wine propelled her to apply to the University of California – Davis, and its renowned winemaking program instead of medical school.

Vianna first became familiar with the Chimney Rock winemaking program in 1999, working as a harvest intern while completing her Master’s degree in enology at U.C. Davis. Upon graduation, she became an enologist at Napa Wine Company and was soon named assistant winemaker there, where she worked directly with many of region’s top winemakers. Vianna was named to the position of assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock in 2002, and advanced to the position of winemaker in 2005.  In 2009 Vianna was honored by the University of California-Davis School of Graduate Studies when she was invited by the Dean of Graduate Studies to deliver the commencement speech. She was promoted to General Manager of Chimney Rock Winery in 2011 while continuing in her role as head winemaker at the Stags Leap District estate winery.   During her tenure she has consistently produced wines that have been highly rated among critics and highly valued among consumers.  

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Eric Luse
Owner / Winemaker, Eric Ross Winery


Eric Ross Winery began in the Heart of Russian River on the site of an old Italian winery.  Now located in the Heart of Sonoma Valley, crafting wines of nuance. Long cool growing seasons are crucial for the varietals Pinot Noir, Marsanne~Roussanne and Syrah.

 "The long, cool growing season, just above the fog line, keeps the vines temperate, yet there’s plenty of sun to ripen," Eric explains. "The cool-down at night prevents acids in the skins from dissipating resulting in wines of great flavor and structure.”

The philosophy of Eric Ross is the right varietal in the right micro-climate which is what has led to Pinot and Marsanne~Roussane from the Russian River Valley, Cabernet from Sonoma, Old Vine Zin and PORT from Dry Creek, Syrah from Mendocino, Albarino and Tempranillo from Lodi. As a very special 90 year old Italian neighbor once told me after properly following his instructions for growing, “Now you gonna have tomatoes!”

A winemakers place is not to interfere with the process it should be respecting the individual varietals with copious amounts of personal attention. "A beautiful Russian River Pinot needs to taste like Pinot with it's subtle unique nuances, not like a Syrah." 

Eric Luse continues with his two "career" passions, winemaking and photography. Eric Ross Winery does take the vast majority of my commitment but  wine and photography are both so visually stimulating I can't imagine just having one in my life!

A foodie at heart, Eric likens the wines to a beautiful meal: "If you start out with really good fresh ingredients, I mean really good, you have the fundamental components for something extraordinary." Taking advantage of this premium growing region, and by hand-crafting each vintage, Eric Ross Winery takes that same approach when producing our wines. " Taste The Vineyard" that's what the wine should reflect.

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Eric Mohseni
Winemaker, Zaca Mesa


Raised in Los Angeles, Eric graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a degree in food science and a minor in chemistry. His career began as a wine buyer at The Wine Country, a noted wine retailer in the Long Beach area. Mohseni aided in managing an extensive collection of wines while developing his knowledge of wine and the wine consumer. 
 
In 1997, Eric took a sabbatical from wine retail, to work a harvest at Edna Valley Vineyards. There, he had his first dose of winemaking. “I will never forget the aromas from barreling down new wine into a new oak barrel. It gave me goose bumps.” In 1999, he furthered his winemaking knowledge by serving as a member of the harvest crew of Esk Valley Estate in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s fifth largest vineyard. Eric credits both of these experiences with igniting his passion for hands-on winemaking. 

In 2001, Eric joined Zaca Mesa as Enologist. Over the years, he worked his way up to Assistant  Winemaker, then to Associate Winemaker and finally to Head Winemaker in July 2008. Since joining Zaca Mesa, he has helped fine-tune the wine quality, and has refined the winery’s style resulting in wines that have character, integrity, and a sense of place.
 
After becoming Head Winemaker in 2008, Eric took a special interest in replanting the vineyard. The first challenge presented itself in the Chapel G block which was planted in 2008 and then replanted with 3.5 acres of Mourvèdre and 14.3 acres of Syrah. This created the second high density plantings of Syrah for Zaca Mesa and the first high density block of Mourvèdre on the property. This planting also brought in 4 new clones of Syrah, and one new clone of Mourvèdre. Later in 2012, Eric continued to improve the quality of Zaca Mesa’s vineyards by planting the Mesa C block with 18.5 acres of high density Syrah.  
 
Eric lives in Orcutt with his rescue bulldog Ichi. When Eric is not thinking of wine (which is rare) he enjoys quail hunting, trap and range shooting, cooking, traveling, and collecting a wide variety of music and film. 

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Florencia Palmaz
Cofounder and Partner
Palmaz Vineyards


Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Florencia has a passion for food and wine that came to light when she was studying biology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. “I started cooking all the time to relax, and started a cooking group with my biology study partners,” she says. “The wine followed the food as a natural accompaniment.”
 
At Palmaz Vineyards, Florencia collaborates with the winemaking team to direct the style of the wines produced. “My years in the kitchen influence our wines, with each bottle designed to be shared with family and friends over a meal,” she says. In addition, she oversees the culinary program at Palmaz, where her laughter can be heard emanating from the kitchen.
 
Florencia’s interest in food and wine has led her to establish two culinary-related ventures with her mother, Amalia: Haute at Home, a national catalog company that offers gourmet foods for in-home dining; and GoodHeart Brand Specialty Foods Co., which produces top-quality prepared foods and meats. She is also the author of the forthcoming cookbook and entertaining guide PALMAZ VINEYARDS: At the Table and Around the Fire (New York City, Mad/Dash Press, winter 2015).
 
Florencia divides her time between Napa and San Antonio;her hobbies include sailing, cooking and rowing. Her son, Nicholas, is the first member of the third generation to roam the Palmaz vineyards.

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Gabrielle Leonhard O'Connell
Vintner, O'Connell Family Wines


Gabrielle Leonhard O’Connell, is vintner and Director of Winemaking of O’Connell Family Wines, known for boutique, handcrafted, gold metal 94 point Cabernet Sauvignon from the O’Connell Family Estate Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. Gabrielle specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, and makes 7 wines in the Gabrielle Collection, each a distinctive blend- blending is her specialty & passion. Her wines have a loyal following of fine wine collectors worldwide.
 
Ms Leonhard O’Connell is active in the wine industry including: a board member of Women for WineSense where she served as National Board President; a judge at the Mendocino Fair Wine Competition and at the first National Women’s Wine Competition; honored as a leader in Sustainable Farming by Napa Valley Grape Growers.
 
She established the family estate CCOF Certified Organic vineyard and gardens to create a diverse eco-system to ensure overall vineyard health- one of only a few Napa Valley estate that is 100% organic. Gabrielle believes this complex environment sustains healthy organisms that maintain a naturally robust vineyard, which creates beautifully complex wines. The olive grove, orchard, lavender field, herb & vegetable garden produce culinary and lifestyle enhancing products, that embody the natural luxury of wine country living. These and innovative food & wine pairings will be featured for all to enjoy at their Napa downtown Tasting Boutique.
 
Gabrielle has another passion: Olive Oil. She has completed the certification curriculum at UC Davis to be an Olive Oil Taster; is founder of the Olive Oil Culinary Guild- a training program for chefs on olive oil sensory evaluation & quality; and of MOPREP- an organization to preserve the historic olive trees in California. She is currently authoring a The Ultimate Guide of American Olive Oil and grows historic Mission olives to produce GC Napa Valley Certified Organic Estate Extra Virgin Oil. 

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Gary Sitton
Director of Winemaking, Ravenswood


Gary Sitton grew up in the farming community of Tulare County, CA, where his family farms pistachios, oranges and clementines.  Far from Sonoma County, his first experiences in working the land did not lead him directly to winemaking.  Instead, after studying biology and chemistry in college, he moved to Europe when he was signed by a regional soccer team in Munich, Germany.  Sidelined by an injury after a year on the field, he came back to California, settling in Sonoma County, where he took a job at a family vineyard in the Alexander Valley.  Finding himself skilled and deeply impassioned by his introduction to winemaking, Gary returned to school to complete a Master's degree in winemaking at the University of California, Davis, During which time he gained experience helping the Ravenswood Winery cellar under the tutelage of legendary winemaker Joel Peterson.

The rest is history.  15 years before returning to Ravenswood as Director of Winemaking, Gary was promoted to Assistant Winemaker and soon advanced to become Associate Winemaker in 2003.  After 8 years - "the most exciting years of my career." according to Gary - he was offered the chance to become Director of Winemaking and General Manager of Blackston Sonoma at Kenwood Vineyards.  Most recently, Gary served in the same position for Clos du Bois.

Gary believes that the best winemaking begins with the vineyards, where he frequently spends hands-on time, and growers, with whom he is committed to forgoing strong relationships.  By selecting grapes that truly express the unique character of specific appellations, employing minimum winemaking, such native yeasts, small open top fermenters and aging in small oak casks, Gary crafts wines which  capture the unique expressions of Sonoma County's terroirs.

Gary credits his deep understanding of Sonoma winemaking with his early experience under Joel Peterson and beside Ravenswood's winemaking team, whose uncompromising standard for excellence inspire Gary's work to this day.  "I love and believe in Joel's vision for what wine should be: that it is about place, about history, and forRavenswood, that it is deeply about Sonoma itself," he says.  "It is an honor to be back home, continuing Joel's 40-year legacy of expressive, high quality Sonoma wines. I look forward to contributing to Ravenswood and its standing amount the icons of California winemaking."

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Guy Davis
Founder, Farmer, Winemaker
Davis Family Wine


Guy Davis' wine roots run deep, reaching back to the age of nineteen when he worked in a French restaurant in Seattle while pursuing an economics degree at the University of Washington. In 1984, Davis graduated from college with a degree in Management and Finance.

In 1988, he created an opportunity to work on some winery finance projects and by 1989 had moved to Sonoma County and started working as the wine buyer for a small mail order wine company specializing in wine from small, boutique wineries. Along the way, Guy's work brought him in contact with creative, artisan wine makers, many of whom possessed the passion of great artists. These small-production, hands-on winemakers became a real inspiration. Davis, determined to learn and master the craft of making wine himself, signed on to work the 1989 harvest at Sky Vineyards, a little winery atop Mount Veeder in Napa Valley. On the weekends, Davis labored and learned his craft, whether it was bottling, labeling, pruning or harvesting. He took every Viticulture and Enology class offered at Santa Rosa Junior College and pursued night and weekend courses in the winemaking program at the University of California, Davis.

It was after a stint as director of marketing at Kendall-Jackson that in 1994 he started Passport Wine Club: a mail order company that connected tiny wineries from all over the United States to consumers seeking rare, small-production wines. In 1995, Davis produced his first commercial vintage: 250 cases of old vine Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley. In 1996, he bought his own vineyard in Russian River Valley comprised of 100-year-old Zinfandel vines, and in 1997, crushed his first vintage under the Davis Family Vineyards label.

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Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray
Certified Wine Specialist


Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray is the daughter of Jennifer Jackson Hartford and Don Hartford and part of the Jackson Wine family that owns La Crema Winery. Hailey, Don, Jennifer, and Hailey’s brother MacLean are also sole owners of Hartford Family Winery.
 
 Hailey grew up with a small 8 acre, 100 year old Zinfandel Vineyard in her back yard. Some of her fondest memories are of playing hide and seek amongst the old vines as a child. As an adult, Hailey has worked harvests at Wineries on four Continents: in California, Bordeaux, France, Chile, and in Australia. She has a biology degree from Scripps College.  Prior to starting at Scripps, Hailey took a year off to work her first harvests in France and Chile, but always thought that she would attend Veterinary school after graduation. Instead, after graduation, Hailey, quickly fell in love with Wine and her future husband Max Murray while working a harvest at Hartford Family Winery in the Russian River Valley.
 
Bitten by the Wine bug, Hailey and Max have since traveled to McClaren Vale in South Australia to work the 2015 harvest. Different varietals in Australia and a totally new terroir proved fascinating to both Hailey and Max. Since then, Hailey has become a Certified Wine Specialist, and she and Max rounded out their oenological experiences with a second incredible harvest in Bordeaux, France. Excited to see what lies ahead, Hailey is now focusing on learning more about wine sales & marketing. 
 

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Heather Patz
Founder, Patz & Hall


Since the founding of Patz & Hall in 1988, Heather Patz has contributed her unique mix of style, skill and graciousness to the success of the winery. Her enthusiasm for sharing the culture of wine combined with her warm, hospitable nature has helped to define the personality of Patz & Hall, and its acclaimed approach to customer relations.
 
In the early years of Patz & Hall, Heather managed administrative and accounting responsibilities for the winery. In addition to overseeing the office, Heather contributed to the production process wherever possible, from sorting fruit to sampling grapes. A passionate spokesperson for Patz & Hall, Heather’s role soon evolved to include hospitality and consumer relations. In this capacity, she was
instrumental in establishing Patz & Hall’s Salon Society, thereby ensuring loyal customers access to the winery’s most sought-after releases. Building on the success of the Salon Society, Heather helped to design and establish the original Patz & Hall Tasting Salon with its focus on seated, private tastings of the winery’s acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. More recently, she contributed to the establishment of the Sonoma House at Patz & Hall, with its array of tasting and educational options.
 
From organizing and hosting club dinners, educational events, tastings and fundraisers to helping long-time customers plan trips to wine country, or personally making phone calls or writing thank-you notes to Salon Society members, Heather has always championed an intimate, hands-on approach to customer relations. This belief in the value of making real and lasting connections with customers
has come to define Patz & Hall and has played an integral role in its success. In 2017, after three decades of active involvement, Heather stepped back from her day-to-day role at the winery, and relocated to the Russian River Valley in order to spend more time with her family and to pursue her dream of a family vineyard.

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Ivo Jeramaz
Vice President of Vineyards & Production
Grgich Hills Estate


Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers and as boy he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. However, he didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker. Ivo earned a master’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Zagreb and dreamed of coming to California to work as an engineer.In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley decided on a career change. Mike immediately put him to work washing barrels. Ivo now has almost three decades experience at Grgich Hills and while he has taken enology and viticulture courses at University of California, Davis, Ivo says, “I’ve learned more working in the vineyards and in the winery with Mike.”, Ivo is responsible for the day-to-day operations in the cellar and the vineyard, including naturally farming Grgich Hills’ 366 acres without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

ZAP 2017 Croatia Winery Host - Read More

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Jacques Pepin
Culinary Director, Oceania Cruises


Jacques Pépin is one of America's best-known chefs, food columnists, cookbook authors, and cooking teachers. He has been the chef for three Presidents of France, as well as for some of the country's most prestigious hotels, and he has written more than 20 books. He is well known for his acclaimed French-cooking show and his many appearances with Julia Child.

Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. At age thirteen, he began his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L’Europe in his hometown. He subsequently worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin worked first at New York's historic Le Pavillon restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that taught him about mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food tastes. He studied at Columbia University during this period, ultimately earning an M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature in 1972. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the School of General Studies at Columbia, Pépin was honored with four other distinguished alumni of the School, each representing a different decade in its history.

Pépin shared the spotlight with Julia Child in an early PBS-TV series that still is shown occasionally on public television stations. This twenty-two show series, entitled "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home," was the winner of The James Beard Foundation’s Award for Best National Cooking Show—2001, and the duo received a 2001 Daytime Emmy Award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. There is a companion cookbook to the series he did with Child and also to two earlier public television series he co-hosted with his daughter: Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Encore with Claudine (1998) and Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine (1998).

A former columnist for The New York Times, Pépin writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine. He also participates regularly in that magazine’s prestigious Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and at other culinary festivals and fund-raising events worldwide. In addition, he is a popular guest programs such as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Today Show, and Good Morning America.

Pépin is the recipient of two of the French government’s highest honors: he is a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1992). The Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute (New York), he also is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University. He is a founder of The American Institute of Wine and Food, a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and is on the board of trustees of James Beard Foundation. He and his wife, Gloria, live in Madison, Connecticut.

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Jason Haas
Partner and General Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard


Jason Haas, the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder and renowned importer Robert Haas, learned the wine business at an early age, accompanying his family on yearly European wine-buying trips and spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel.
 
After obtaining a Master's Degree in Archaeology from Cornell and spending a four-year stint managing a tech company in Washington, DC, Jason moved to California to join Tablas Creek in April of 2002.  At Tablas Creek, he oversees the business operations, is a member of the winemaking committee and directs the vineyard’s local and national marketing efforts.
 
In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, a past president of the Rhone Rangers, and a former board member of the Family Winemakers of California. His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Wine Industry Network and Zester Daily, and he is the principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, which has been a finalist at the Wine Blog Awards for Best Winery Blog seven times since 2008, winning in 2008 and 2011.
 
In recognition of his contributions to the Paso Robles wine community, he was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year and 2017 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Person of the Year. He manages the day to day operations at Tablas Creek.

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Jayson Pahlmeyer
Founder, Pahlmeyer


Raised in what he calls the “grimy industrial city of Oakland - home of the Hells Angels, the Black Panthers and the law office of Haas & Pahlmeyer,”  Jayson Pahlmeyer’s earliest dream was to become a lawyer. “I loved everything about it,” he says. With an advanced law degree (LLM) from George Washington University, Jayson focused on trial law – fitting for a larger- than- life man who thrives in the spotlight.
 
His fascination with wine began in 1963. “I was completely enthralled by the idea that you could take a grape and create these unbelievable colors, aromas, flavors. And the differences from vintage to vintage – amazing!”
 
“There were very few California wines available, but I managed to get a Beaulieu Vineyards Pinot Noir to compare to another Pinot Noir in a blind tasting. I was very methodical. Once I determined that I preferred one over the other, I got another bottle of the winning wine and a different bottle to compare to it, and kept on going. I knew what I loved.
 
Jayson started a wine tasting club at law school and kept meticulous tasting notes in binders including where he was when he conducted the tasting, the date, whom he was with, predictions of when the wine would peak. “I’m sure I hit that 10,000 hour rule Malcolm Gladwell says makes a master. In a blind tasting, if I’d had the wine before, I could tell you exactly what wine and vintage it was.”
 
He kept tabs on everything happening in Northern California wine and bought 12 cases of magnums of Robert Mondavi’s inaugural wine – 1966 Cabernet Sauvignon. (When Mondavi launched Opus One with Baron Philippe Rothschild, he came to Jayson for reserves of the ’66 Cab.)
 
“My epiphany moment was in 1980. It was a 1952 Cheval Blanc in a big Riedel glass. The aroma alone was unbelievable - you didn't even need to drink it, it had such depth of character.”
 
It wasn’t a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot or a Cabernet Franc, he asserts. “It was the synergistic effect of the classic Bordeaux varietals. That stayed with me. And years later, that's how I knew what to plant in the vineyard.” Obsessed, Jayson studied every book about wine he could find. He read everything he could about German wines, South African wines – and never took a single class. 
 
“When our first wine was finally blended, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven,” he says.
 
Today Jayson remains the winery’s visionary, yet sees in his daughter, sons and son-in-law, the same devotion and passion to wine that compelled him to start Pahlmeyer. “One of my proudest moments as a vintner and father was when, after 2 years working at the winery, my very talented daughter Cleo
came to me and said, ‘Dad, when it comes to the future of Pahlmeyer, I am all in!’”

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Jenny Williamson-Dore
Marketing and Sales
FOXEN Vineyard & Winery


Jenny has been involved in the Santa Barbara County wine industry for nearly twenty years in public relations, marketing and sales. In 2001, she decided to step back from her position as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Cambria Winery to devote her full time and energy to Foxen’s marketing and California and Florida wine sales.
 
Jenny and Dick are settled in the Santa Ynez Valley where they enjoy life as vineyard owners and new “empty-nesters”, now that her youngest is away at college. When she’s not out selling Foxen wines in Florida or California, or volunteering as a Board member of World of Pinot Noir, Jenny can be found in the Williamson-Doré Vineyard looking for pesky gophers. 

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Jim Hart
Winemaker, Hart Family Winery


A fourth generation native to Southern California, Jim grew up in the beach town of Carlsbad California.  The son of Temecula pioneer winemaker Joe Hart, Jim is a 2nd generation winemaker.  A graduate of California State University, San Marcos with a post grad certificate in winemaking from U.C. Davis, Jim has been the head winemaker at his families winery, Hart Winery in Temecula since 2008.  In addition to Hart Winery, Jim is co-owner/winemaker of Volcan Mountain Winery in Julian, Ca. and teaches winemaking and viticulture at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Ca.

Jim judges wine in numerious international wine competitions throughout the state of California as well as in Baja California.  Jim has won best of class, best of show as well as numerous double golds, gold and silver medals for his wines at Hart Winery and Volcan Mountain Winery, as well for the wines he made while at Milagro Farm Winery in Ramona.

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Joanne Dunham
Founder, Managing Partner
Dunham Cellars


Joanne is a native of Walla Walla and her family has farmed near the Lowden area for over 2 generations. She is the winery retail sales manager. 
 
If you have ever visited the winery, then you are familiar with the fruits of her creative genius. She is the brains behind the winery’s classic décor and landscaping, and also the impressive and magnificent ornamentation assembled together for our unforgettable special events. 

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Joel Peterson
SVP & Founder, Ravenswood Winery


Joel Peterson is one of the wine industry's best-known figures — and also, one of its most popular. Joel studied biochemistry and microbiology at Oregon State University and became a wine writer and consultant while supporting himself as both a Research Immunologist and Medical Laboratory Scientist. After apprenticing in the art of Old World winemaking with the late Joseph Swan (one of California’s outstanding craftsmen of fine Zinfandel), he founded Ravenswood in 1976. Since then, Joel has shepherded the Sonoma-based winery from a one-man garage operation to the #1 producer of Zinfandel worldwide. Joel is a passionate and friendly Zinfandel ambassador and was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2011.  

ZAP Croatia 2017 Winery Host - Read More

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John Olney
Ridge Vineyards' Lytton Springs COO & Winemaker


John Olney is Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker at Lytton Springs in Sonoma County. John began traveling to Europe at an early age where he was introduced to the culture of wine in France and Italy. He frequently visited the south of France where he spent time with his uncle, Richard Olney, the celebrated food and wine writer. Through his uncle’s relationships, John learned first hand many of the great European winemaking methods and traditions. Later, while attending a language exchange program in Provence, he chose to pursue wine as a career and, in 1994, enrolled in enological studies at the Lycée Viticole in Burgundy to learn the craft of winemaking in greater depth. Before coming to Ridge Vineyards, John worked at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant as well as with several European winemakers including Gerard Chave in the Rhone, Lucien Peyraud at Domaine Tempier and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

In 1996, John began work at Ridge’s Monte Bello Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1999, he was put in charge of the Lytton Springs Winery where he oversaw the construction of the innovative 17,000 sq. ft. straw bale winery.

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Kelly McAuliffe
Sommelier and French Wine Expert


Kelly Mc Auliffe has been the only American sommelier working in France for the past 17 years. Not an easy task for someone from the land of Coca Cola® and McDonalds®. Before he became a sommelier he had spent 10 years living and working around the world in fashion to where he developed his love for wine and food. He began studying wine through the University of Berkeley and then moved to Avignon and continued studying wine at the Université du Vin near by. After doing an internship in Alain Ducasse's 3-star Michelin restaurant in Paris Kelly was asked to run his new chic restaurant in Monaco which was filled with international celebrities. Eventually he was asked by the chef to run his uber successful restaurant back in Paris called Spoon. 
 
He left Chef Ducasse to be the head sommelier at Christian Etienne in Avignon to be closer to his wife and family. This also allowed Kelly to meet and befriend the best wine makers in the Rhone. He is now a specialist of the Rhone and instructs professionals from around the world about its wonderful wines. After 6 years in Avignon Chef Ducasse convinced Kelly to run his hugely successful restaurant in Las Vegas called Mix at the top of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
 
Kelly was then offered the French Wine Specialist position at Southern Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas. On a daily basis he would work with with the best sommeliers and Master sommeliers of Las Vegas. 
 
For the past few years Kelly has been leading the French Wine Society's Rhone education program and working with the different appellations promoting the great wines of the Rhone. He also gives private wine tours to professionals and tourists throughout France. 

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Kendall Carson
Wine Club/Events Manager
Halter Ranch Vineyard


Kendall's passion for the hospitality world spans 30+ years including private country clubs, LPGA major golf tournaments and spending the last 15 years in the wine industry -  which lead her to Halter Ranch Vineyard where she has been the wine club and events manager for 5.5 years. 

As Kendall says "I love my role here at Halter Ranch, meeting new people and making life long friends along the way"  Travel and food and wine are her favorite pastimes along with her "other" passion - shopping!

Historic Halter Ranch is a vineyard and winery located in the heart of the Paso Robles' Westide Adelaida District and dates back to the 1880's!  The 100% estate-grown wines are sustainably farmed on westside limestone soils, producing world-class Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines of the highest quality.

 

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Liam McCormick
Co-Owner & Head of Sales, Christopher Creek


Liam McCormick is a lifelong Sonoma County resident. Being the eldest of ten from a large Irish family, Liam appreciates the value of gaining and maintaining close-knit relationships within the local community. After following his passion for rock and roll music for ten years, Liam decided to pursue his other passion of producing wine. He is also a member of the Active 20-30 Club and frequently travels the country for charity events. He maintains his love of family, music, and wine today by sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with all who visit the winery.

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Lloyd Davis
Owner, Corner 103


Lloyd Davis, Owner, grew up in a family that regularly enjoyed wine with meals.   He spent over 30 years in the financial services world before getting bit by the wine bug and taking control of Viansa Winery in 2008.  Since he always had a passion for wine and food, owning Viansa gave him the best of both worlds.  He built Viansa into a very profitable company and under his leadership, Viansa wines won over 500 wine competition medals, many for “Best in Class”.  He sold Viansa in 2013 and founded Corner 103 as a result of his passion for wine and recognizing that most people are intimidated by it. 
 
Corner 103 is all about creating a unique educational experience where wine is explored and discussed in a friendly, seated, relaxed and fun environment.  During the tasting experience, guests will explore seven wines from different American Viticulture Area’s (AVA’s) in Sonoma County.  Guests will learn about that AVA and what varietals grow best there.  Corner 103 wines highlight the best of each AVA.  In addition, guests will learn how to taste wine, what glass it should be serve in, the correct temperature in which it should be served and how wine and food work together to bring out distinct flavor characteristics.
 
Lloyd is committed to making Corner 103 a “must visit” for all wine lovers, whether expert or novice, coming to Sonoma Valley. When you finish this tasting experience, you will become a “fan” and be able to impress your friends with the depth of your wine knowledge!

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Mark McWilliams
Arista Winery


Mark McWilliams, born and raised in Texarkana, Texas, is the son of Al and Janis McWilliams. He has been involved in Arista winery and vineyard operations of Sonoma County for the past 10 years.

After graduating from the University of Texas - Austin with a degree in Corporate Communications, Mark took his first job out of college working for Kendall Jackson Wine Estates. What started as a temporary summer job developed into a passion as Mark enrolled in UC Davis Wine and Viticulture courses, tasting groups, and annoyed his winemaker friends with endless questions. During his time with Kendall Jackson, Mark held various positions encompassing vineyard operations, harvest logistics, and cellar work. Following his time at Kendall-Jackson, Mark continued his passion for wine and pursuit of industry knowledge by working as a wine consultant for a wine and spirits distributor based in Dallas, Texas.

In the fall of 2003 Mark married Jennifer Habecker, a native of Dallas. Shortly thereafter, Mark and Jennifer returned to Healdsburg, California to be fully involved with Arista. Mark manages the day to day operations at the winery. Mark and Jennifer live in Healdsburg, California with their sons Jake and Pierce and their daughters Macie and Maggie and their Maltese "Lucy". 

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Mark Vernon
CEO, Ridge Vineyards


Mark has been with Ridge Vineyards since 1998 and is responsible for the company's day-to-day operations.  Working with the executive team, Mark is focused on insuring Ridge continues its tradition of producing exceptional single vineyard wines while at the same time insuring its financial success.  Mark is Vice President of ZAP and has served on the ZAP Board since 2008. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley where he earned a B.A. in Economics.  After graduating from Berkeley he continued on to MIT and earned an M.S. in Management from the school's Sloan School of Management.

Prior to joining Ridge, Mark was CEO of two successful silicon Valley software companies.  A native Carlifornian, Mark grew up in Palo Alto and became passionate about fine wine as a young adult.  He ill always remember his first trip up Monte Bello road to taste wine at Ridge and enjoy a picnic lunch there with friends on a beautiful summer afternoon.

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Martin Mackenzie
Winemaker, Petroni Vineyards


Born and raised in New Zealand, Martin Mackenzie found his passion for wines and destiny to be a winemaker in his late twenties.  Convinced that his future lay in wine production, he shut down his carpentry business and moved from Auckland to Hawkes Bay where he was able to study Viticulture and Oenology at the Eastern Institute of Technology.  Martin completed his first year as the top student and served his year-end internship at Stonyridge Vineyard, the iconic, organic red wine producer of New Zealand, based on beautiful Waiheke island.  At the end of his internship he was offered the position of Assistant Winemaker.  Martin worked at Stonyridge from 1999 through to late 2008 quickly assuming responsibility for all aspects of wine production, having become Winemaker in 2002, and finally Winemaker/General Manager in 2007.

In his ten years at Stonyridge, Martin carved a reputation of consistent excellence producing world-renowned Bordeaux blends, most notably Stonyridge Larose, as well as some of the country's best Syrah and Malbec.  The 2008 vintage, Martins last a Stonyridge, resulted in a 95 point wine in Wine Advocate, a stunning result for a New Zealand Cabernet.

While at Sonyridge, Martin met his future wife, a California sweetheart who proved to be the catalyst for their move to California.  Martin had long considered California to be the most exciting red wine region in the world.  Having now completed three vintages at Petroni Vineyards, his passion and commitment to quality are ideally suited to the continued production and improvement of the outstanding red wines of Petroni Vineyards.

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Miro Tcholakov
Trentadue Vice President & Direct of Winemaking Operations


Miro Tcholakov is our Vice President and Director of Winemaking Operations, overseeing all aspects of winemaking, including custom crush and bottling.  Chiefly responsible for reinvigorating the Trentadue brand when he cam aboard in 1999, Miro has worked tirelessly to take our wines to a new level of quality and prestige.

Born and raised in northern Bulgaria, a region with many millennia of winemaking history, he was exposed to wine and winemaking at a very early age.  At his grandfather's side, he learned how to make wine in the traditioin of the generations that came before him.  The combination of Miro's early exposure to winemaking, years of study and experience, and passion for the art makes him a vital part of our winery family.

"Making wine has been a lifelong dream of mine.  After completing my studies in 1990 at the higher Institute of Agriculture in Bulgaria in Agronomy/Viticulture, I traveled to California on an Exchange program in wine business.  I continued my education by attending Santa Rosa Junior College and UC Davis, focusing on specific courses in Winemaking and management.  My internship started at Dry Creek Vineyards in the summer of 1990 and in nine years of employment, I transition through the ranks of Cell Master and Assistant Winemaker.  It was during this time that I fell in love with two distinctively California varietals, Zinfandel and especially Petite Sirah.  

I decided to move on and start my career as a head winemaker, accepting an offer from Trentadue Winery in 1999 to take over their winemaking operation.  That new opportunity added to my excitement about ZInfandel and Petite Sirah, which have been two long standing staple varietals of Trentadue".

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Mitch Cosentino
Winemaker, pureCru Napa Valley


Mitch Cosentino began making wine in small lots in Modesto, California in 1980.  Ten years later he moved the Cosentino Winery operation to the Napa Valley, where he continued to make many award-winning varietal and blended wines.

Cosentino has a gift for identifying fruit sources and is highly skilled and artistic in determining blends.  He's a big believer in the hands-on, old world use of punched cap fermentation, a labor-intensive, hand-crafted method of winemaking.  When it comes to the small lots Cosentino puts into his pureCru blends, this "micro" approach to winemaking allows him to better control the delicate process from the vineyard to the bottle.

Mitch is one of the longest term winemakers in Napa Valley and in addition to his own brands, has continued to assist in starting numerous other wineries.  Today he continues to consult with others.

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Neil Collins
Executive Winemaker & Vineyard Manager
Tablas Creek Vineyard


Neil was born and raised in Bristol, England. Trained as a chef, he moved into winemaking with stints with John Munch at Adelaida Cellars and Ken Volk at Wild Horse. At Adelaida, Neil met Robert Haas and the Perrins of Chateau de Beaucastel when they were just beginning the search for Tablas Creek. Neil was so intrigued by the project that he offered his services, and spent a year working and learning at Château de Beaucastel.
 
Before the year was finished, Neil was offered the winemaker position at Tablas Creek, and he has overseen both the organic vineyard and the winery since 1998.  His philosophy is that great wines can only come from great grapes, and that the art of winemaking is founded on starting out with the very best grapes and bringing their juice through fermentation as naturally as possible.

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Papapietro Perry Owners
Bruce & Renae Perry AND Yolanda & Ben Papapietro


Papapietro Perry winery began in a garage in San Francisco with friends Bruce Perry and Ben Papapietro who took up winemaking as a hobby. Along with their wives, Renae and Yolanda, they shared a love of Pinot Noir and wanted to be able to drink it every day. The only way they could afford to do that was to make it themselves. And so the adventure began.

Ben and Bruce had both made wine with their grandfathers, and like them, they had a talent for it. After retiring from their day jobs, they succumbed to the appeals from family and friends to start a winery. Renae and Yolanda joined and made it a family affair. Renae runs Winery Operations and Yolanda handles our distributors.

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Paul and Pat Hoover
Owners, Still Waters Vineyards


Paul Hoover was born and raised in Bakersfield, California.  Born the youngest of the Hoover siblings, early on Paul had an entrepreneurial spirit.  As a kid he would collect seeds off of the flowers growing amount the neighborhood and sell them in envelopes to his neighbors.  He cultivated vegetable gardens (and obviously tried to sell those as well) as well as rabbits, fish, etc.  When he was 16, his mother invited him to bring his boat to help supplement the water ski club at West High in Bakersfield.  It was there that he met his partner in crime, Patricia. S he was 15 and throwing ropes in Paul's boat.  And the rest, they say is history.

Paul and Pat came to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the late seventies.  Paul graduated with a degree in Ag Business and Mechanized Ag.  While completing his last years at Poly, Paul started tending at the San Luis Bay Inn in Avila Beach.  While his love was Agriculture, the career opportunities in the Hospitality industry were very attractive.  Soon after graduating from Cal Poly, Paul was promoted to General Manager of the 76 room hotel, restaurant and golf course.  With very fast growth of Laral Hotel Group, he soon would be named executive vice president and oversee the management of 10 hotels several restaurants across the western United States.  He worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years.  Paul developed both a strong knowledge and love of the retail side of wine industry from the hotel & restaurant business.

In 1998 a career opportunity presented itself which meant much less travel than required with the hospitality industry.  He was offered a position in the field of Health Benefit sales at Morris and Garritano Insurance in San Luis Obispo.  He eventually would be named CEO of Morris and Garritano Insurance.  Throughout both of these demanding careers, Paul still managed to stay connected to his love of the land, whether planting large vegetable gardens or being a 4H leader for various animal groups.  Paul and Pat raised two children, Ben and Stephanie, in Atascadero who participated in all of the agricultural ventures as well as every sport that was offered to them.

As an amateur wine maker during the 1990's, Paul continued to keep his hands in agriculture.  In 1995, the Hoovers began experimenting with their own small vineyard.  When the kids would be competing at the Mid State Fair with their animals, Paul would enter his homemade wine into the competitions and slowly, he started winning awards!  When the kids moved on to become Cal Poly students themselves, Paul decided it was time to invest in a larger vineyard and started to develop the winery and tasting room that is now known as Still Waters.  Although "Hoover" could have been an entirely appropriate name, "Still Waters Vineyards" was anointed when daughter, Stephanie, designed the label reflecting the family's favorite pastime of water-skiing and always looking for the perfect "still water".  The original label is a picture that Pat took of their son, Ben, fishing on a quiet lake of still water above Lake Tahoe.

Still Waters Vineyards is the realization of a lifelong dream for the Hoover family.  After many years of running large hotels, restaurants and insurance companies, Paul's motto and company goal for Still Waters is to stay small, have fun and focus on quality.  Paul can be found in the tasting room most days, (unless of course the fish are biting), and loves entertaining the guests with both lovely wines and lively stories.  Above all, Paul and Pat know they would not be where they are without the amazing longtime staff that supports them and is responsible for the success of Still Waters.  Fifteen years later, Paul is constantly working with the whole team to find ways to improve the wines and vineyard practices.  He is proud of the long standing direct to consumer policy in the tasting room and the successful relationships wit the wineries and home winemakers that the vineyard supports.  Through it all, there is still plenty of time to focus on quality and continue to have FUN!

For many years Paul participated with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance as an associate member.  Then with the opening of Still Waters Vineyards and Winery, he had an opportunity to serve 6 years on the Board of Directors of the PRWCA.  In 2016, Paul was names Wine Industry Person of the Year by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.  He currently serves the industry on the San Luis Obispo County's Ag Preserve Committee.  He also is currently a member of the California Polytechnic State University Corporation Board.

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Paul Gregutt
Waitsburg Cellars


 
Paul Gregutt is the best-known, full-time, independent journalist covering the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Over the past 25 years, he has written thousands of articles and reviews for newspapers, magazines and trade journals, as well as an award-winning blog.
 
He is frequently sought after for contributions to the Northwest pages of wine books, most recently to the newest (7th) edition of Jancis Robinson/Hugh Johnson’s ‘The World Atlas of Wine.’ He is also the sole author of two critically acclaimed editions of ‘Washington Wines & Wineries – The Essential Guide’, published by the University of California Press.
 
Since 1998 Gregutt has been the Northwest editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, and a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel. For the past two years he has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People In the Wine Business. His most recent project is Waitsburg Cellars, a boutique wine studio, focused on aromatic, old vine white wines and innovative red blends showcasing the hidden strengths of Washington state viticulture. He lives with his wife Karen and his rescue dog Cookie – a terrier/chihuahua (a genuine terr-hua!) – in Waitsburg, Washington. In his spare time he writes songs, plays guitar and sings in his band, Hat No Hat.

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Randle G. Johnson
Artezin Winemaker & WineGrower


Randle attended the University of California at Davies, graduating with a M. S. in Viticulture in 1974. As a viticulturist of the original Souveraine Winery in Napa Valley, he gained first-hand knowledge of grape and wine characteristics. In 1975 he became the assistant to Souveraine's winemaker, Phil Baxter. Randle then began Calafia Cellars, in parallel with his professional career and in 1983, after two years as the first winemaker at Stags' Leap Winery, Randle joined Hess as Winemaker. In 2001 Hess purchased Bodega Colomé in northern Argentina with Randle became Director of Winemaking. They then crated a new brand, Artezin, dedicated to the heritage varietals of California, and appointed Randle as winegrower and winemaker. 


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Randy & Robin Peters
Grower, Papapietro Perry


Randy Peters is a 4th generation farmer in Dry Creek Valley. He met his wife, Robin, through mutual friends. They were married in 1974 and moved to Healdsburg. Robin grew up in Sebastopol on the ranch that produces the grapes for the Peters and the Mukaida Pinot Noir.  In the early 80s, Randy convinced Robin’s father, Tom Mukaida that there was a future in grapes and encouraged him to convert his apple orchards into vineyards. Randy’s vineyard expertise, coupled with Tom’s finely honed farming skills and this ideal vineyard location results in exceptional grapes.
 
Randy grew up on Pauline’s Vineyard, named after his late mother, in the heart of Dry Creek. The vineyards Randy farms include Peters, Timber Crest, and Pauline's Vineyard.  Timber Crest Vineyard has been farmed by Randy for 40 years and is the home of our winery on Dry Creek Road.  Farming fruit in three different appellations, Randy's expertise in the vineyard is the perfect complement to our award winning wines. 

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Reagan Blackwood
Sales & Marketing Support Manager
Rombauer Vineyards


The granddaughter of Koerner and daughter of Sheana Rombauer, Reagan grew up in the Napa Valley and, like her mother before her, spent a good portion of her youth working at the family-owned winery. Her early experience at Rombauer included assisting with special events and the wine club, and jobs in the accounting department and the tasting room.  A graduate of Boise State University, Reagan worked as a licensed real estate agent in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She joined the winery in 2016 as Assistant Regional Sales Representative and was promoted to Sales & Marketing Support Manager in 2017.  In her current role, Reagan conducts sales presentations and assists with sales program development; represents the winery at industry conferences, promotional and philanthropic events; and assists in identifying strategic market opportunities, including exports.

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Renee Ary
Winemaker, Duckhorn Wine Company


 
Renee Ary became the fourth winemaker in the four-decade history of Duckhorn Vineyards in 2014. Her promotion came after 11 years as an integral member of the winemaking team—including roles as assistant and associate winemaker. Like the two acclaimed winemakers before her, Renee spent years working alongside her predecessors, honing her craft, refining her gifted palate and mastering the Duckhorn Vineyards style. Today, with an approach that balances artistry, science and a deep respect for the viticultural side of winemaking, Renee guides the entire Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio, crafting wines that offer structure and sophistication, as well as a deep and purposeful sense of place.

Born and raised on the East Coast, Renee moved to California to attend Saint Mary’s College, where she earned a degree in chemistry and art. Fascinated by the intersection between science and an art, winemaking quickly became Renee’s passion, career and way of life. She started in the laboratory of Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, where she spent four years working closely with winemaking luminaries Genevieve Janssens, Steve Leveque and Richard Sowalsky. While Renee gained this invaluable hands-on experience, she augmented her scholarly understanding of winemaking and viticulture with classes at UC Davis and Napa Valley College.
 
In August of 2003, Renee joined the Duckhorn Vineyards team under then winemaker, Mark Beringer. From Mark, Renee gained a much deeper knowledge of farming, viticulture and the intricacies of Duckhorn’s diverse and storied Estate program. She also refined her blending skills, embracing the intuitive artistry of the blend, and the counterpoint it offered to the more scientific aspects of winemaking. Throughout her first decade at Duckhorn Vineyards, Renee learned every detail of production moving from lab manager to enologist to assistant winemaker to associate winemaker in charge of Duckhorn’s Sauvignon Blanc and Monitor Ledge Vineyard wines.

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Rich and Amy Aurilia
Owners, Red Stitch Wines


Rich was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  He attended St. John' s University and was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1992.  Rich played for the San Francisco Giants for 11 of his 15 years in the big leagues.  He also played for the Seattle Mariners, the San Diego Padres, and the Cincinnati Reds.  In 2001, he won a Silver Slugger award and started the All Star Game.  he was inducted into the Giants' Hall of Fame in 2010.  Rich played an active role in the community with the Bay Area Make A Wish Foundation and is now a Baseball Analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area.

Amy was raised in New Jersey and graduated from Lehigh University.  As a business consultant with PriceWaterhouse, she traveled around the country and the world, eventually settling in San Francisco.  She is now an Associate Partner with IBM Business Consulting Services.  Amy enjoys hiking, running, scuba diving and skiing.

Living in the Bay Area and traveling to the wine country for so many years gave Rich and Amy a wonderful love and appreciation for fine wine.  In addition to Red Stitch, they enjoy traveling and cooking for family and friends - always sharing a favorite bottle of wine.

Rich and Amy have a home in Sonoma County, but spend most of their time in Phoenix with sons, Chaz and Gavin, and their mini labradoodle, Maggie.  They are expecting their third child this fall.

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Rich Parducci
Winemaker
McNab Ridge Vineyards


Rich is a fourth-generation winemaker. His great grandfather Adolph Parducci founded Parducci Winery in 1932 and with him, Rich worked in almost every facet of the industry, from bottling, vineyard, laboratory to cellar. A 1992 graduate of California State University Fresno in Enology, Rich brings a cutting edge approach which compliments his heritage and the previous generation’s traditional winemaking style. An award-winning winemaker, he makes wines in his own unique style and finds a way to honor his grandfather’s history at the same time.

 

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Rick Small
Owner/Director of Production
Woodward Canyon Winery


Agricultural interests come naturally to Rick Small, raised as part of an Eastern Washington wheat farming family.  He attended Washington State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from that institution as well as studying in the school of Architecture, before returning to Walla Walla and the family business.  Beginning in the mid-70's he developed a personal interest in winemaking with his friend Gary Figgins who was to found Leonetti Cellar.

In 1976, Rick began planting vines on former wheat ground on the family farm in Woodward Canyon.  he and his wife Darcey Fugman-Small founded Woodward Canyon Winery in 1981.  Rick is essentially a self-taught winemaker, reading numerous texts and learning by doing.  His approach to winemaking is that of artisan and he believes that the key to even higher quality lies in the vineyard.  With Kevin Mott's employment as Winemaker in 2003, Rick has turned his primary attention to hands-on oversight of viticultural techniques at the Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard, as well as Champoux Vineyard in which the family is a partner, as well as long term contracted vineyards.

Rick was President of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Growers Association, the precursor to the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, when the growers petitioned and received approval from the federal government for the Walla Walla Valley appellation which was granted in 1984.  Rick has served on the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation Board of Directors as well as the Washington Wine Institute and the Washington Wine Commissions.  He is currently chair of Walla Walla Valley VINEA, the Winegrowers Sustainable Trust.  Anyone who has attended Holiday Barrel Tasting knows that Rick is an avid baker.  He is also a bike rider and enjoys making the summer commute to the winery.

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Ryan Beauregard
Winemaker, Beauregard Vineyards


I discovered a love for making wine at a very young age.  I grew up at the Beauregard Ranch (the original vineyard purchased by my great-grandfather in 1949) and played as a child among the vines.  Different places in the vineyards have different soil types and different smells-sandy loam topsoils with underlaying limestone surrounded by redwood tress on one end and chaparral at the other-and those smells are ingrained into my earliest memories.  To this day I can smell a wine in the cellar and know specifically where it came from on the home ranch.  Later in life, I had opportunities to travel to Europe and see how the French make wine.  I was instantly ready to put modern style winemaking by the wayside and employ old world techniques in my own cellar practices.

My first emphasis in winemaking is to produce wines that show the flavor of the land, which the French call Terroir.  Secondly I choose to make wines that show Typicity, wines that are varietally correct in character ie; how much a Pinot Noir tastes like a Pinot Noir.  The combination of these two philosophies is the backbone for Beauregard wines.

My technique to accomplish this valued combination starts with the absence of chemical manipulation from the crush pad to the bottling line.  Instead of using commercially manufactured yeasts that my impart flavors from other areas of the world, I use yeasts that are present in our vineyard and cellar.  All wines are aged sur lees, creating vintages of notable minerality, expressive of our coastal mountain terroir. 

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Scott & Melanie Klann
Owners and Winemaker, Newsome Harlow Wines


Scott and Melanie Klann share a love for great wine and great food, so at Newsome Harlow, the two are married . . .  both philosophically and literally.  The interplay between food and wine is supremely important to both partners — Scott focusing on the grapes and Melanie on the gastronomy. After two decades in the winery business, dedicated to sustainable practices and their respective crafts, the couple has helped put Calaveras County on the map with Melanie’s culinary creativity and Scott’s expertly crafted artisan wines.
 
Together, the couple’s talents come together in a sensual, symbiotic pairing that embodies Bacchanalian hedonism at its finest — the kind that brings together wine, food, friends and copious amounts of laughter. In this spirit, the pair began their own label, Newsome Harlow, in 2000 with a couple of partners and a small batch of wines crafted from premium Calaveras County grapes.  The name Newsome Harlow is the combination of the maiden names of Scott and his original partner, Mark Skenfield, a long time Calaveras resident and vineyard manager.  Their first vintage — a mere 150 cases — was sold exclusively to those on the winery’s mailing list. Nearly 20 years later, Newsome Harlow is recognized as having some of the best wines in Calaveras, and produces over 5,000 cases of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and five signature Zinfandels that sell out each year.
 
Scott’s Story
 
His reputation as a Rock Star in both wine making, merry making and music is immediately apparent upon meeting him.  Always ready with a quick wit, an obscure song lyric and intimate details about the wines he is pouring and often drinking, Scott is a zeitgeist in the Sierra Foothills wine world. Scott’s dedication to sustainable agricultural practices and viticultural excellence is reflected in the artisan wines he produces Newsome Harlow.
 
Melanie’s Story
“Local,” “organic,” and “sustainable” may be buzz words to some, but they’ve always been a part of Melanie Klann’s vocabulary. Melanie brings a raw and luscious earthiness into her kitchen while imbuing her creations with her love of eastern cultures and her southern heritage.  After starting her career on the service side of the food industry, Melanie worked her way to the back of the house, where she discovered her passion for creating exquisite creations in the kitchen. For years, Melanie has employed a “slow food” philosophy at Dragonlady Catering, Alchemy gourmet market and wine bar, and as owner of Biga Murphys, the first fresh bread bakery to open in Murphys in nearly 100 years. Widely recognized as one of the most creative chefs in the Calaveras region, you’ll often find her in the NH Tasting Room and heads up the food program, designing pairing dinners that incorporate fresh, local ingredients to highlight her husband’s artisan wines.
 

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Spencer Graham
Director of Winemaking, Elizabeth Spencer Winery


His father came from Burrton, Kansas, and his mother, South Pasadena, California. His parents served in the Foreign Service from 1944 until 1970. Spencer was born in Vienna, Austria, and spent his boyhood in Brazil.

He worked as a waiter and sommelier in a “serious” restaurant for three years. “No one realized what was on our wine list,” he recalls. “We had 1969 Echézeaux and Romanée-Conti for $18 and $45 and 1962 Chateau d’Yquem for $25. I tasted a lot of great wine.” Intrigued by food, in 1977 he decided to investigate the vanguard restaurants of France and learn to cook. “I wanted to see if they were all they were cracked up to be. I was soon convinced.”While riding a horse on a family vacation in the state of Rio Grande del Sul, Spencer came upon a catch of unfermented grape juice cooling in a mountain stream. The memory of that taste stayed with him. After his parents were posted stateside in 1965, Spencer attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Maryland) High School and won a basketball scholarship to the University of Virginia, where he earned a degree in religious studies.

Spencer returned to his former restaurant, this time as its chef de cuisine, until 1982 when he invested a small inheritance in his own wine wholesale and import business. Eventually Spencer added five salespeople, expanded into D.C. and West Virginia, and specialized in great artisanal producers from California, France, Italy and Spain. Asked once how he could possibly sell so much Ojai wine, Spencer replied, “Either it’s good or it’s not. If it’s good, it pretty well sells itself.”

Early in 1993, during a visit to Viader Vineyards & Winery, he met the winery’s marketing consultant, Elizabeth Pressler. Later, she would recommend the wines of several of her Napa Valley clients to Spencer. As a result, he was the first Mid-Atlantic distributor of so-called cult wine producers like Araujo and Harlan Estate.

In July, 1994, he met with Elizabeth on business, and then accompanied her to dinner at the newly re-opened French Laundry. “We had a great time and afterwards ended up just sitting in her backyard on lawn chairs, talking and watching shooting stars.” Spencer returned home, but a three-year long-distance romance had begun. In 1997, the couple married.

Spencer had sold his business in 1996, but agreed to stay on as a consultant. So Elizabeth moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, commuting to Napa Valley every other month to meet with her clientele. One day just over a year later, Spencer declared that they should move to California, and Elizabeth agreed.

They settled in St. Helena and Spencer began his new trade as a winemaker. “He has an excellent palate,” Elizabeth says, “no doubt enhanced by his cooking experience. His palate memory is terrific, and his blending ability seems to be innate.”

As Spencer began establishing relationships with top-notch grapegrowers, Elizabeth was visualizing their winery concept and describing the label she would soon design. Elizabeth Spencer released its first wines from the 1998 vintage.
 

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Steve Falk
Chief Executive Officer, Sonoma Media Investments


Falk, a former publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle, served as president and chief executive of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2012. Before joining the Chamber in 2005, Falk had extensive experience in the newspaper industry. Born in Lancaster, PA, he began his newspaper career with Lancaster Newspapers. He worked for newspapers in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before joining Gannett Westchester Rockland Newspapers, NY, in 1982 where he planned and directed the startup of USA Today in the northern suburbs of New York City. He joined the San Francisco Chronicle in 1987 and held several key positions including circulation director and vice president/sales and marketing. In 1996 he was named President/CEO of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, associate publisher in November 2000, and publisher and president of the San Francisco Chronicle in March 2003.

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Steven Honig
Honig Vineyard & Winery


Steven Honig was raised in San Francisco and enjoyed weekends with his brothers and family in Napa Valley riding mini bikes and tractors at the vineyard.  In 1986, he graduated from the Colorado University and went to work for the fledgling family winery as a sales rep in Los Angeles.  After a year, he decided to move to Sweden, where he ran a bike messenger company, imported mountain bikes and  parts and raced mountain bikes on an international level.

In 1994, Steven returned to San Francisco, remaining in the mountain biking industry serving as Director of Sales and Promotions for a sports marketing company, which organized world class cycling festivals.  Returning to the family winery in 2000, he has turned his skills towards sales and business development.  When he's not delivering wine to his account, or hosting a wine dinner, Steven can often be found walking with his wife Miriam and his children, Annika and Gavin, in the vineyards with their dog Buzz.

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Thibaud Mandet
Winemaker, WillaKenzie Estate


WillaKenzie Estate's winemaker Thibaud Mandet was born in Auvergne, France, a land of mostly extinct volcanoes, great cheeses, and world-famous rubber treads (Michelin tires) but not much local wine! He earned a degree in chemistry, then moved on to study the more interesting field of wine chemistry in Bordeaux where he completed his graduate diploma from the Faculté d’Oenologie de Bordeaux. He then moved on for more chemistry and a postgraduate degree in bubbly wine making from Reims in Champagne. So, he learned how to make red wine, sparkling wine, and eat cheese, then traveled to Corsica and Texas to see if he could help make wine to accompany stinky cheese, before landing at WillaKenzie Estate in the Spring of 2000. Thibaud is inspired by Pinot Noir and is a perfectionist about balance, aromas, and mouthfeel in wines. 

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Todd Anderson
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards


TODD ANDERSON has been making world-renowned wines in Napa Valley for almost three decades. Having grown up on a farm and driving tractors and train engines by 8, his love of the land grew at an early age. Todd graduated from UOP as a Geologist. His extensive background as a geophysicst makes him one of the most unique and qualified winemakers as his knowledge of soil and micro-climates gives him the edge up on others. Todd develops the land, pounds the posts, plants the vines, cares for the grapes, all before he even starts the bottling process.
 
An avid adventurer, Todd also loves hanging out with people who share his passion for great wine and great times. Whether it's marlin fishing in San Jose del Cabo Mexico, ski racing in Taos, golfing at Pebble Beach, or simply hanging out by a roaring fire surrounded by family and friends. Now you can join Todd in living the lifestyle.

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Tom Davies
President, V. Sattui Winery


A native of Palm Springs, California, Tom Davies graduated from Chico State University in 1979 with a degree in Business Management. He was so committed to getting into the wine business, he slept in a tent at the State Park in the Napa Valley to save money while searching for work.  Impressed with his attitude and enthusiasm, Dario Sattui hired him in the summer of 1980 at $5 an hour to work in V. Sattui Winery’s tasting room and cellar.  Tom was among the first 10 employees hired at V. Sattui.  His great business sense and knowledge of the wine industry propelled him to the top at V. Sattui.  Tom is President and Part-Owner of V. Sattui Winery.

During Tom’s 30-year tenure at V. Sattui, the winery pioneered the direct-to-consumer wine business model.  V. Sattui started the second wine club in the Napa Valley and was one of the first wineries in the nation to ship wine directly to consumer’s homes and to host wine club events, dinners and weddings.  V. Sattui has also been highly recognized for their wines, winning the most Gold Medals in a year in national and international wine competitions, and has won “Winery of the Year” at the California State Fair three times in the last 10 years, along with numerous high scores and ratings from the Wine Spectator, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines and The Wine Enthusiast.  Today, Tom is utilizing social media to expand consumer awareness of V. Sattui Wines and is the star of V. Sattui’s Wine Guys, an on-line video feature. Recently the winery released the very first iphone App for a Napa Valley winery. 
 
Tom has been married to his wife, Cara for the past 28 years. They have a daughter Michaela who is attending her senior year of high school at St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island.   Tom and Cara have traveled extensively in Europe, and have made Italy their favorite home away from the Napa Valley, spending time there every summer since the early eighties.

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Tom Gamble
Owner, Gamble Family Vineyards


Gamble Family Vineyards is a small production, family owned winery located in the heart of the Napa Valley. The private winery is tucked away from the St. Helena Highway, surrounded by century old barns and sweeping vistas. While their style is reminiscent of Bordeaux, the Winemaker Jim Close continually produces elegant, well balanced wines that stay true to the Napa Valley terroir. The Gamble family has been farming the Napa Valley since 1916 and every wine they produce is crafted with their dedication to the land in mind.

Napa native Tom Gamble is a farmer first.  "My most lasting memory of childhood is dirt.  Playing in dirt.  Walking in dust behind the tractor.  Wearing out our jean seats sliding down shale hillsides.  Wandering aimlessly on foot, horseback and mini-bike all summer long, enjoying everything the dirt and our climate gives to life."  His boyhood days often began before sunrise herding cattle, working irrigation lines and emulating older ranchers and farmers.

Tom has always held fast to his Napa roots, where the Gamble family arrived, four generations ago.  Tom continued the family farming legacy, planting his first vineyard in 1981 and continues to farm to this day.  Gamble Family Vineyards is an opportunity to share with future generations, the hard work of generations past.

Tom Gamble is a farmer first, which is fitting.  Good wine begins on the vine.

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Tondi Bolkan
Associate Winemaker, Frances Ford Coppola


Winemaking is Tondi Bolkan's passion, but she fell into that career by unusual circumstances.  Determined to join her family's legacy of medical professionals. Tondi enrolled in the University of California, Davis.  After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, she took a medical internship in Sacramento.  It was while watching her first procedure that Tondi passed out cold on the operating room floor.

After recovering, she turned her enthusiasm for the medical and scientific field into something that would capture some of her own interests as well.  Combining her organic chemistry and biology background with her artistic side, she turned her attention to winegrowing - a profession that allowed her to express her creative side through science and craftsmanship, keeping her in the vineyard instead of the ER.

Launching into her career in the winemaking industry, Bolkan set her sights on Napa Valley, joining the winemaking team at Pine Ridge Winery as a lab technician in 1999.  After a couple of years mastering the analytical and systematic approach to wine quality, she joined what was then called Niebaum-Coppola Winery (now known as Inglenook Winery) as an enologist, helping craft the estate's critically acclaimed wines.  Under her direction, she led the winemaking team in a new scientific wine testing technique called the Adams-Harbertson Assay, an inexpensive, reliable and accessible measuremen tof a wine's tannins, anthocyanin levels and total phenols - - all imporant characteristics that contribute to a wine's flavor profile.

Over the next seven years, Bolkan demonstrated a talent for balancing the technical side of the lab with the visionary aspect of wine production.  She was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2005, creating some of the winery's single-vineyard small production wines.  During that time, winery owner Francis Ford Coppola started his eponymous Sonoma County winery in Geyserville.  Recognizing her skills would be a valuable asset to the new winery, Director of Winemaking Corey Beck promoted Bolkan to associate winemaker, joining her colleagues at the Sonoma County destination winery in 2008.

Today, Bolkan is a regular speaker at some of the area's most groundbreaking conventions including American Society for Enology & Viticulture National Conference and Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, and she often lends her expertise as a guest instructor for the renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust examination.

In her spare time, Bolkan enjoys spending time with husband Cem, daughters Anita and Leyla and experiencing the world through traveling, especially to her ancestral home of the Philippines.

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Trey Busch
Partner and Winemaker
Sleight of Hand Cellars



Working in Atlanta as clothing buyer at Nordstrom and having no training or education in winemaking, Trey Busch life took a drastic change in direction when he was offered the opportunity to move to Walla Walla and apprentice under winemaker Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars. He continued his wine education working independently at another Washington winery, Basel Cellars. Then in 2002 he met Jerry Solomon at the Sun Valley Wine Auction's trade tasting, who shared his passion for outstanding wine, rock and roll, and fun. Trey, Jerry, and the winery's third partner, Sandy Solomon, started doing annual wine dinners in Sun Valley until in 2006 when Trey finally convinced Sandy and Jerry to come to Walla Walla for a visit.

That visit proved to be another life-changing moment for Trey. In less than 24 hours after their arrival, the Solomons had not only fallen in love with Walla Walla and its unique charm, but a deal had been struck to start the winery. In June of 2007 the winery officially opened its doors with a small storefront tasting room in Downtown Walla Walla, while renting space at another winery for production purposes.

Today, Trey’s wine acumen is well-documented by some of the industry’s top wine writers and publications, including Steven Tanzer, Robert Parker, The Rhone Report, Wine Spectator, and virtually every other wine critic who’s had the pleasure of tasting the wines of Sleight of Hand  A cursory examination of those four sites produces 20 90+ wines already in the very brief history of the winery, topping out with the 95 points that Wine Spectator bestowed upon his ’08 “Illusionist” Cabernet.

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Truman Prewitt
Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden


A Chicago transplant who first learned about wine for business dinners and quickly grew to find the hidden treasures that wine has to offer.  Truman Prewitt is co-founder of Maxima PR and Social Media where he uses over 17 yeras experience in branding, market research and analysis, business development, product management, sales, market positioning and strategic planning, and communications to assist with creating strategic programs designed for maximum returns for clients.  When he is not thinking about work he can be found sailing, surfing, playing Rugby, or traveling to the many wine areas of California.

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