Vintners

Vintners 2020




Katie Griesbeck

National Sales & Marketing Director
Cakebread Cellars - Rutherford, CA
Katie Griesbeck joined the Cakebread Cellars team in 2017 as the National Sales and Marketing Director.  Katie brings more than 15 years of marketing experience and a deep passion for wine to the team.  Originally born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Katie has since called many areas of the country home.  After earning her undergraduate degree in Communication at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Katie moved to Washington, DC where she worked in public relations for the technology industry, including America Online where she even held the title of AOL Sommelier, providing wine and food pairing recommendations to newspapers and radio stations across the country.  It was this love of wine, first discovered during her studies abroad in the Burgundy region of France, that led Katie back to graduate school to hone her business and marketing skills before entering the wine industry full-time.

Upon graduating from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business with her MBA, Katie joined E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, California where she helped build such wine brands as Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Apothic, as well as helped expand Gallo's portfolio of spirits brands.  After seven years at Gallo, Katie joined Constellation Brands in San Francisco as Innovation Marketing Manager, launching new-to-world brands and leading all sales and marketing strategy.  Katie holds several wine and spirits certifications, including WSET II, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS).

Katie enjoys exploring all that the Golden State has to offer, from coast to mountains and all cultural adventures in between.  True to her Memphis roots, she's an avid music fan and loves to attend concerts and collect vinyl records of all genres.  Her go-to favorite wine is Cakebread Two Creeks Pinot Noir.

Anthony Truchard

Truchard Vineyards - Carneros Napa, CA

Ever since Anthony can remember, he has been alongside his father working on the vineyards and in the cellar. Whether pruning vines or racking wines, Anthony has experienced every aspect of winemaking, from grape to bottle.

Anthony received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied philosophy and biology and further developed his wine knowledge by working in boutique wine shops and restaurants. These experiences were his initial lessons in sales and marketing – by interacting with wine lovers in different milieu, Anthony honed the unique skill of discerning what a customer seeks when selecting a wine, either off a shelf or from a wine list.

Upon graduating from UCSB, Anthony returned to Napa and joined a vineyard management company with his brother, which he successfully managed for several years. Realizing the importance of developing his business and legal acumen, Anthony decided to return to school to obtain his law degree. Upon graduation cum laude from Cardozo School of Law, he practiced patent law in New York before his parents asked him to return home to Napa to help manage the winery.

As Sales and Marketing Director, Anthony has led the expansion of Truchard Vineyards into several markets, drawing on his legal foundation to develop new ideas and successfully manage all aspects of his family's business.

When he is not traveling the world sharing the beauty of Truchard wines, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends in Napa or simply relaxing at home with his Labrador Retriever, Jack.

Tim Duncan

Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars - Napa Valley, CA

It’s not a surprise to spot Tim Duncan out of his car at the end of Silver Oak’s Driveway, unassumingly offering a guest a helping hand shooting a photo. “Some people will only make it here once,” Tim Duncan. “It’s our job to make that one visit a great memory.”

For more than 30 years, Duncan’s humble nature and unrelenting focus on the customer experience have been driving forces behind the culture and success of Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars. Today, along with brother and fellow owner David Duncan, Tim develops business strategy for both wineries and brings his personal passion for building relationships to his role overseeing domestic and international sales.

Tim Duncan’s keep understanding of the customers and accounts that drive Silver Oak’s business thrust him into strategic roles. In 1999, he worked with his father Ray and then-winemaker Daniel Baron to start Twomey Cellars, which originally produced Merlot from vines at the family’s Soda Canyon Ranch – and in 2002 influenced its movement into Pinot Noir production. Duncan ahs spearheaded both wineries’ expansion into international sales. Along with his brother David, Tim Duncan promotes continuous improvement throughout both wineries – a principal that defines the company’s culture.

Tim Duncan lives in Sonoma with his wife Roo. Together they have five children, two of whom (Matt and Haley) have joined the Team at Silver Oak and Twomey.

John Schulz

National Sales Manager/Western Region
Flora Springs - Napa, CA
A native of Iowa, John Schulz didn’t expect to have a career in the California wine industry. But when he came here in the 1980s and started working in the tasting room and cellar of a prominent winery, he decided to make California – and its signature industry – his home. Ultimately it was the sales side of wine that interested John most, and he’s spent nearly three decades in regional and national sales both at a wholesaler and as a representative of notable wineries throughout the state.

For John, working at Flora Springs is a bit of a homecoming, as he often visited the winery in the first part of his career when he came to Napa Valley. He remembers the early days of Trilogy, when it came on the scene as one of first Bordeaux red blends of Napa Valley. “This estate is a gem, an iconic Napa Valley winery,” says John. “Plus, there are very few wineries that have successfully made the transition to the third generation. It’s a legacy property.” As Flora Springs’ National Sales Director and a self-described streets-focused sales representative, John relishes the opportunity to work closely with distributor partners and key trade accounts to build strong winery relationships and communicate the Komes-Garvey story.

In addition to overseeing national sales for Flora Springs, John personally covers the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. John lives in Sonoma and enjoys playing guitar, camping, skiing and cooking.

John can be reached at johns@florasprings.com

Anita Correas

Export Manager
Montes and Kaiken -
Ana Correas Argerich was born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina into a family closely related to the wine industry. Her father, Mr. Diego Correas was the owner of a very traditional and well known winery in Mendoza. Her grandfather, Mr. Juan Argerich, was the founder and president of AltaVista winery until 2018.

Anita learned to love and respect her country, her hometown and the wine industry because she grew up in the vineyards with her dad with whom she spent long hours learning about the family business.

After graduating with honors in Business Administration from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo’s Business program in 2007, Anita took up a job in banking for Galicia Bank in Mendoza. The following year, she joined the I.N.V. (National Institute of Viticulture), as the counselor of the President. While there, she developed a personal project to cultivate, grow, harvest and commercialize alfalfa-based hay.

By 2011, she was successfully growing and selling hay in the province when a new and more challenging project in Chile came up. Anita moved to Santiago where she helped design, develop and manage Candyland, which launched its first store in 2012 and opened 5 more stores by 2014.

In August 2014, Anita decided to return to Mendoza because she missed her culture, her friends, her family and her land. Upon her return, Anita joined Kaiken winery as the export manager and has been responsible for the Brazilian Market, USA, UK and Canada. In 2018, Anita also became the export manager for Montes for the same markets. As the export manager of Montes and Kaiken, Anita’s main objective is to make the Montes family wines better known in the international markets.

Anita currently lives in Chacras de Coria with her husband, their 1-year old son, and their three dogs.

Vintners 2019

Allen Papp

Director of Sales
Darioush Winery - Napa, CA
As the Director of Sales for Darioush, people are both Allen’s job and calling. Though initially drawn to the securities industry after college, he became enamored with the quickly evolving American wine industry and more importantly, the growing community of wine enthusiasts nationwide which supported it. In 1999, Allen joined Darioush as one of the first employees - he poured some of the first wines to our very first clients, many of whom still remain loyal collectors and friends.

Allen pursued a more meaningful and family-oriented career in the wine business, where relationships, commitment and people are what truly matter. Over the past decade, Allen has risen to Director of Sales, having established thousands of relationships throughout the country with collectors and sommeliers who have come to not only trust and admire the wines, but Allen himself.

Guillaume Large

Winemaker
Maison Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France - Resonance Winery, Willamette Valley, OR
Guillaume Large was born in the heart of the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation in 1982. After first studying public law, Guillaume decided to turn his passion into his profession. Growing up, his grandfather, who was a grower, shared with him his passion for vineyards and wine. He graduated with an Oenologist’s National Diploma of the Jules Guyot Institute of Dijon, and joined Maison Joseph Drouhin, in Beaune, before joining the Chateau de Vinzelles in Maconnais in 2009.

In 2011, Guillaume joined Maison Louis Jadot and became the Assistant Technical Director under Frederic Barnier. In August 2017, he moved to Oregon and joined Résonance as Winemaker, working under the advisement of Jacques Lardière. The beginning of an exciting adventure! Guillaume is married and is a father of one child, Augustin. He enjoys traveling with his family, cooking and pairing his dishes with fine wines. He loves mountain biking and has a great passion for History.
 

Jeff Flood

Southeastern Sales Ambassador
Silver Oak/Twomey Cellars - Napa, CA
Jeff has 35 plus years of experience in the wine business.  Representing Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars is the pinnacle of his years in the industry. Through his career he’s been involved in every aspect of wine, from vine to bottle to shelf. However, Jeff finds that with wine, there is always something new to learn. “Wine is a subjective product that is never the same twice”.

Covering the southeastern United States for Silver Oak and Twomey, Jeff loves working with fine wine shops and restaurants, educating customers about the wines and their origins. “People are so passionate about food and wine; it’s fun to share that with them.”

Jeff’s winery experience includes the Robert Mondavi family and Asheville, North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate Wine Company.
 

Teresa D’Aurizio

Vice President of Sales & Marketing
ZD Wines - Napa, CA
Teresa D’Aurizio has been with ZD Wines since 1998 and is currently the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Prior to joining the team at the winery, she was a sales representative for an Aspen, Colorado wine distributor. It was there that she was introduced to ZD Wines, a family- owned and operated winery located in Napa. Soon enough the lure of wine country drew her and her husband, Dan, to Napa Valley, where she began her career at ZD Wines as National Sales Manager. Teresa’s motto continues to be “Have Wine, Will Travel.” Today, she is still doing what she enjoys most: meeting people, traveling, and talking ZD Wines!

ZD Wines is owned and operated by the deLeuze family who is dedicated to producing world-class wines, farming organically, and giving back to the community. The winery is located in the Rutherford region of the Napa Valley. Their hospitality center offers sweeping valley views of premium Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and the Mayacamas mountain range to the west.

The deLeuze family produces wines from their certified organic Napa Valley vineyards in Rutherford and Carneros, as well as organic vineyards in Napa, Santa Barbara, Monterey and Sonoma. With innovative winemaking practices, they produce wines of quality, consistency, and style. ZD Wines is currently celebrating 50 years of winemaking and can be found online at ZDWines.com and @ZDWines on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
 

Dave Persaud

Brand Manager
Kobrand - Purchase, New York
Dave Persaud serves as Brand Manager at Kobrand, which imports and markets a distinguished portfolio of hand selected brands representing virtually every major wine region of the world and its most iconic specialty spirits. The portfolio is a collection of gems of New World and Old, including American wineries such as Cakebread Cellars, Sequoia Grove and St. Francis as well as the wines of European masters such as Champagne Taittinger and Maison Louis Jadot and the Portos of Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft. The legendary Sassicaia from Italy’s Tenuta San Guido and the wines of Craggy Range in New Zealand are relatively new additions that will stand the test of time. The spirits portfolio includes the original Alizé liqueurs as well as fine Cognacs, Armagnacs and other premium spirits.
 
Dave has a broad-based marketing background but his passion for wine brought him to Kobrand. Dave received his MBA from the University of Connecticut and his BA from the University of Massachusetts. He was awarded WSET Level 3 by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to wine regions globally, cooking, and the occasional round of golf when he’s not savoring a fine wine.
 

Craggy Range Vineyards

Craggy Range Vineyards - New Zealand

Vintners 2018

Robin Akhurst

Swanson Vineyards and Clos Pegase - Napa Valley, CA
Robin Akhurst’s road to Napa took him around the globe, through eight consecutive and exhausting harvests, picking up an impressive list of mentors along the way. He joined the Swanson Vineyards family in 2015, it’s thirtieth year, to lead a super power winemaking team poised to propel Swanson through its next thirty.

A native of Scotland, Akhurst graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in environmental sciences. What started as a casual interest in wine soon became a passion and following graduation, he took a job as a sommelier in one of Edinburgh’s most forward thinking wine-focused restaurants. Fate then took him to London to work for one of the city’s leading independent wine merchants, gaining additional on-the-floor experience selecting, selling and sampling wines from all over the world.

With a desire to get closer to the agricultural aspects of winegrowing, he moved to New Zealand and received a graduate degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch. He worked two harvests in Marlborough before continuing his international winemaking road trip, working at Burgundy’s famed Domaine Leflaive and in Australia’s Barossa Valley with Two Hands Winery.

A fortunate suggestion from Michael Twelftree of Two Hands led Akhurst to accept a harvest position in Napa valley with Thomas Rivers Brown in 2009, working with the team at Outpost Wines on Howell Mountain. Under Thomas’s guidance, he learned to create iconic wines including Schrader Cellars, Maybach and Rivers Marie. Following harvest, Akhurst took a position to direct the production team at Envy Wines, a winery and custom-crush project established by partners Nils Venge and Mark Carter. For four years, Akhurst crafted the Envy wines and worked alongside Mike Smith as assistant winemaker for the highly lauded Carter Cellars wines.

Swanson’s reputation provided sufficient appeal for him to make a move to join the team, stepping in to take the lead winemaking role as Chris Phelps transitioned to a consultant role after twelve years at the winery.

As lead winemaker, Akhurst is directly responsible for winemaking and winery operations, working closely with Assistant Winemaker Tony Herrera, Winemaker Emeritus Chris Phelps and Estate Director Pam Bond along with her vineyard team.

Tony Apostalakos

Masi Agricola - Italy

Tony Apostolakos comes from a family with a winemaking background, as they originally owned vineyards in Central Greece dating back to the early 1900s before emigration to Montreal in Canada. Apostalakos earned his degree in Economics at the University of Alberta before entering the wine trade, where he now has over 20 years of experience.

Apostolakos first represented Masi in Canada in 1999 before he switched his attention to the United States market in 2005. He has now been appointed Director of Marketing and Sales in USA for Masi and makes regular trips to the company headquarters in Valpolicella to spend time with the Boscaini family and the Masi Technical Group and ensure he is fully up-to-date with the company’s winemaking techniques and global strategy.

Tim Duncan

Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars - Napa Valley, CA

It’s not a surprise to spot Tim Duncan out of his car at the end of Silver Oak’s Driveway, unassumingly offering a guest a helping hand shooting a photo. “Some people will only make it here once,” Tim Duncan. “It’s our job to make that one visit a great memory.”

For more than 30 years, Duncan’s humble nature and unrelenting focus on the customer experience have been driving forces behind the culture and success of Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars. Today, along with brother and fellow owner David Duncan, Tim develops business strategy for both wineries and brings his personal passion for building relationships to his role overseeing domestic and international sales.

Tim Duncan’s keep understanding of the customers and accounts that drive Silver Oak’s business thrust him into strategic roles. In 1999, he worked with his father Ray and then-winemaker Daniel Baron to start Twomey Cellars, which originally produced Merlot from vines at the family’s Soda Canyon Ranch – and in 2002 influenced its movement into Pinot Noir production. Duncan ahs spearheaded both wineries’ expansion into international sales. Along with his brother David, Tim Duncan promotes continuous improvement throughout both wineries – a principal that defines the company’s culture.

Tim Duncan lives in Sonoma with his wife Roo. Together they have five children, two of whom (Matt and Haley) have joined the Team at Silver Oak and Twomey.

Miles MacDonnell

Round Pond Estate Winery - Napa, CA

Miles joined Round Pond Estate after a career in auditing with Deloitte. Originally a graduate of Southern Methodist University in psychology and economics, he returned to school in 2005, maintaining his responsibilities at the winery while pursuing his MBA at Boston College. His current role at Round Pond Estate includes heading up viticulture, wine production and wholesale sales. "Ryan and I are incredibly lucky to live and work with our family on family land," says Miles. "Basically, we grew up camping out in these vineyards, exploring the river and riding four-wheelers up and down the valley. AS a family, we enjoyed the farm-to-table lifestyle before it was fashionable. The philosophy is a perfect fit for our company, with its estate winery and olive mill."

Today, Miles lives on the estate with his wife, Katie, and their children, Robbie, Maggie and Ali. Ryan and her family lives across the vineyard and so do their parents – keeping the estate at center of the MacDonnell’s family life.

Megan Gunderson Paredes

HALL Wines and Walt Wines - Napa/Sonoma, CA

WALT Winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes began her career in the Napa Valley in 2001 when she moved from Colorado to California and worked as an intern at Robert Mondavi Winery. While at Mondavi, she discovered a passion for wine and viticulture and went on to become a Laboratory Manager for St. Supery Vineyards in Rutherford, then Dominus Estates in Oakville. At Dominus, she was able to refine her winemaking skills under the mentorship of Christian Moueix and Jean-Claude Barrouet, learning to hone her winemaking craft with unique methods.

Megan has made several trips to France to study wine-making techniques, the most recent to Burgundy. Megan’s multiple degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics have given her a unique and unmatched perspective into the scientific aspects of winemaking.

Sean Roney

BR Cohn and Delectus Winery - Napa Valley, CA

Born in the sprawling forests of New Jersey, Roney's family quickly moved west and settled in wine country where he grew up in the wine business. Between his family working in the business and going to school with kids also in the business, there was no escaping.

In high school and college, Roney forged his own path. Volunteering as a student attorney in a local Teen Court program and logging over 400 hours of community service in high school, he ended up working for a non-profit while going to college. He volunteered with at risk teens and volunteered at San Quentin State Penitentiary.

After college, Roney moved back to the east coast and attended Washington College of Law at American University. While at law school, people learned what his family did and how much cooler it is than studying writs of certiorari and comparative negligence. While at school, he was heavily involved with Mock Trial and the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic. The weight of law started to bring him down and he began to get more interested in wine as a way to relax. Roney began to suspect law wasn’t for him.

After graduation, he moved back to California – also the height of the recession. It was his father who asked him to work in the family business, "just for a little while."

As the "little while" became "a while" and now became his career, Roney felt the urge to be involved in law slipping away. He got involved with marketing and sales, getting to see the great land of ours. He found himself enjoying more wine and started doing some international sales as well as getting involved in production. Whether it was racking barrels or digging out tanks, he was hooked and thoroughly loving what he was doing.

Vintners 2017

Claudio Andreani

Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari - Italy

Luciano Castiello

Banfi Vintners - Glen Head, NY

Miles MacDonnell

Round Pond Estate Winery - Napa, CA

Chris Silva

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards - Sonoma, CA

Vintners 2016

William Barnes

Vins de Bordeaux - Bordeaux, France
Wine and fine spirits have been a passionate part of William’s life for over 25 years. Starting in restaurants and teaching others about wine and then moving on to over 15 years in distribution. During this time William travelled the world learning hands on about wine and spirits from all the great regions. He has gained several certifications with wine including becoming a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is the owner of a Webster Barnes Wine and Spirits with offices in Florida and Bordeaux. His company represents one of the largest inventories of Classified Vins de Bordeaux available anywhere in the world. Webster Barnes Wine and Spirits represents many other areas including Italy, Spain, Champagne, Armagnac, Cognac and American Craft Spirits.

Chris Benziger

Benziger Family Winery - Sonoma, CA
Still in high school when the Benziger family moved from White Plains, Benziger finished his senior year in wine country. He went on to earn a degree in marketing from the University of San Francisco while spending summers, weekends and every spare moment working at the winery. He officially joined the Benziger Family Winery in 1993 as a Brand Manager. In addition to sales responsibilities, Benziger also oversees the home ranch and its many farm related duties, i.e. shepherding the Benziger flock of sheep and cows, tending to the estate vegetable and fruit trees and producing the Biodynamic preparations for all the vineyards. Chris Benziger feels that the only way to communicate the quality of the wines he promotes is by having the soil from the vineyard in which he’s endorsing under his nails. The best impression a winemaker can leave on his wines are his footprints in the vineyards.

Bruce Cohn

B.R. Cohn Winery - Sonoma, CA

In 1956, the Cohn family relocated to the Bay Area and settled in Sonoma County. Bruce Cohn later attended the University of San Mateo and while at school, studying broadcasting and communications, he became intimately involved with the San Francisco music scene, running a music rehearsal studio by day and serving as a television engineer at night.

In 1974, Cohn purchased an old dairy in Glen Ellen which evolved into Olive Hill Estate Vineyard, so-named for the property’s grove of 140-year-old French Picholine olive trees. With drive to cultivate the existing vineyard, Bruce purchased books on viticulture and read them during long periods of traveling with the band. He soon became intensely involved with all aspects of growing grapes, from planting and pruning to grafting and trellising techniques. A decade after taking ownership of the land and having great success selling grapes to other wineries, Bruce founded B.R. Cohn Winery at Olive Hill Estate in 1984

After selling wine grapes for many years to August Sebastiani and Gundlach Bundschu and seeing the numerous awards the wines with fruit sourced from the Olive Hill Estate were receiving, Bruce took the advice of good friend and mentor Charlie Wagner from Caymus winery and began producing his own wines from the Olive Hill Estate in 1984. Charlie bestowed the greatest honor upon the winery, permitting the use of Caymus’ trademarked “Special Selection” on the best lots from B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate. B.R. Cohn Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the entire portfolio continues to receive amazing reviews and accolades. The B.R. Cohn library wines continue to impress our wine family members as well as the wine community as they compete with the best from Napa to Bordeaux.

In the 1990’s the family embarked on the journey of processing the olives at the Olive Hill Estate, creating California’s first single estate Picholine Olive Oil and B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company was founded. Today we produce some of the world’s finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

T.J. Evans

Domaine Carneros - Napa Valley, CA

Prior to joining Domaine Carneros in 2008, TJ Evans spent 10 years in a variety of winemaking positions around the world, during which he developed not only winemaking knowledge, but a deep love of Pinot Noir and the decision to make it the focus of his professional life.

Evans grew up in Northern California and completed his undergraduate studies at Amherst College, in Massachusetts. Early in his career, he landed winemaking internships at Robert Mondavi Winery and then Far Niente Winery, where his interest in winemaking was piqued. However, it wasn’t until a life-changing trip to the northern Rhône Valley and an apprenticeship that focused exclusively on Pinot Noir that he cemented his future in winemaking.

In 1997, after completing his master’s degree at UC Davis, TJ traveled to New Zealand to work harvest at Villa Maria Estate, and then to the Rhône Valley, where his time at 500-year-old Domaine Jean-Louis Chave put his winemaking life in perspective.

Justin King

King Estate Winery - Eugene, OR
Justin King is the oldest of the three King brothers. Growing up in an Oregon wine family Justin developed an appreciation for and understanding of Pacific Northwest wines, particularly those of the Willamette Valley. After moving to Brooklyn, NY Justin took up the position of Northeastern Area Manager in 2012. In 2015, he returned to Oregon to become the Northwest Area Manager. Justin brings his passion for the family business to his interactions with King Estate’s distributors and accounts.

Janet Pouchot

Craggy Range Vineyards - New Zealand

It was while living in Paris that Janet discovered a fascination and passion for wine. With visits to Champagne, Burgundy, the Rhone, the Loire and the Languedoc, she began her education. After two years abroad, Janet returned to New York and furthered her education, completing coursework into year two of the Diploma Level of the WSET, Wine and Spirits Education Trust, which trains Master of Wine Candidates. Further certifications were earned form The American Sommelier Association, The Sommelier Society of America, Windows on the World wine school (later assisting Kevin Zraly with the classes), and The New School Culinary Arts Wine Program (where she subsequently spent time lecturing).

After spending a year working at world famous wine retailer Sherry-Lehmann, Janet went to work for Restaurant Daniel as a cellar hand, working her way onto the floor where she became Sommelier. For eight years, she worked the floor assisting customers with wine parings and travelled several weeks a year to wine regions and wine shows all over the world, tasting and learning as much as possible. It was with the impending birth of her first little boy that she left Daniel and went to work for Negociants, an international wine importer and exporter which lead to a position as US Brand Development Manager for Peter Lehmann Wines, and then, for the past six years in the New Zealand wine industry as Campaign Manager for NZTE and now as Business Manager for the Americas for Craggy Range winery. Janet lives in Manhattan with her husband Charles, who is the East Coast Director of Operations for the Charlie Palmer Group, and their young sons.

Vintners 2015

Toni Apostalakos

Masi Agricola - Verona, Italy

As Masi’s Director of Marketing and Sales for the United States, Tony makes regular trips to Valpolicella, Italy and spends a good deal of time with the Boscaini family and Masi Technical Group to remain entrenched in their winemaking techniques and global strategy.

Born into a rich tradition of winemaking, Tony’s family owned vineyards in Sparta, Greece dating back to the early 1900’s before his family immigrated to Montreal, Canada. Tony earned a business degree with a major in Finance at the University of Alberta and has over 20 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry which he started as a restaurant owner.

It was in Canada where Tony was first introduced to Masi in 1999 as he sold their wine in his market for over six years. His innate knowledge of the Masi wine portfolio and family traditions, Tony was presented with the opportunity to work directly for the esteemed winery in the United States as the regional sales director and immediately relocated.

Today, when Tony is not traveling to local markets on behalf of Masi, he resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Heidi Scheid

GIFFT Wines and Scheid Vineyards - Monterey, CA

Kathie Lee Gifford has enjoyed a diverse and successful four-decade career as a television host, actress, singer, playwright, songwriter and author. Through best known for her 15 years on Regis and Kathie Lee (11 Emmy nominations), and currently acting as the three-time Emmy-winning co-host of the fourth hour of the Today Show with Hoda Kotb, Gifford has always pursued projects that inspire and challenger her. Gifford made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim's 'Putting it Together' in 2000, then originated the role of Marta Dunhill in Rupert Holmes' 'Thumbs' and played Miss Hannigan in a record-breaking run of "Annie" at Madison Square Garden. In 2005 her first musical 'Under The Bridge' (book and lyrics, contributing composer) opened off Broadway. In November 2012 her musical 'Scandalous' (book/lyrics) opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theater and received a Tony nomination.

She is the NY Times best-selling author of many books including "Just When I Thought I'd Dropped My Last Egg-Life and Other Calamities," "Party Animals," and "The Legend of Messy M'Cheany." Her ninth book, "The Three Gifts," was released in November of 2012 with proceeds going to Childhelp. She started her own podcast, Kathie Lee & Company on Podcast One this past fall.

Gifford devotes much of her time to the Association to Benefit Children, which spawned the Cody Foundation. The resources from the Association continue to support Cody House and Cassidy's Place. Cody House provides a transitional home for infants and children who have severe disabilities and serious medical problems. Named for Gifford's daughter, Cassidy's Place, is the home of the Association to Benefit Children's (ABC) national children advocacy.

Heidi Scheid is Senior Vice President of Scheid Vineyards Inc. Scheid Vineyards has grown wine grapes in Monterey County since 1972 and farms approximately 4,200 acres comprised of ten estate vineyards. Scheid Vineyards also operates a state-of-the-art, 30,000-ton capacity winery facility in Greenfield. In addition to supplying wine grapes and contract wines to a wide spectrum of wineries, the Company produces a portfolio of fine wines under its Scheid Family Wines division, including GIFFT Wines, a joint venture with Kathie Lee Gifford.

Ms. Scheid joined Scheid Vineyards in 1992 as Director of Planning and served as the company's Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer from 1997 to 2001. Prior to joining Scheid Vineyards, she served as a senior valuation analyst at Ernst & Young, LLP and as an associate at the venture capital firm of InterVen Partners. Ms. Scheid has been a director of California Association of Winegrape Growers since 2007 and currently serves as its Chairman. She has served as a director of Wine Market Council since 1990, a wine industry association aimed at expanding the American wine consumer base. She holds an M.B.A. degree from the University of Southern California.

Molly Hill

Sequoia Grove Winery - Napa, CA

Winemaker Molly Hill oversees all winemaking and production operations of the winery as well as helping with grower relations and recommendations in the vineyards. Top-quality winemaking and grape growing, with passion, is her goal every step of the way. For Molly, balance is of utmost importance in making a great wine. “Balance to me means nothing stands out – not alcohol, not tannin, not acid, nor fruit nor barrel.”

Although Molly joined Sequoia Grove at the relatively young age of 24, she came with experience from quite a few wineries, large and small. She joined Sequoia Grove in 2003 as assistant winemaker and was promoted to winemaker in 2008.

Steve Leveque

HALL Wines and Walt Wines - Napa and Sonoma, CA
Born and raised in Napa Valley, Steve Leveque has earned a reputation for finely crafted wines that reflect the terroir and celebrate the varietal. His more than sixteen years of winemaking expertise started at Robert Mondavi Winery where he blossomed under the mentorship of Tim Mondavi and served as winemaker for most of his eleven-year tenure. Steve also served as executive vice president and winemaker of Chalk Hill Estate Winery in Sonoma where he hand-crafted a portfolio of small-lot Bordeaux varietals to critical acclaim. Steve's personal philosophy and professional history demonstrate the reverence for the land and devotion to excellence that HALL embraces.

"My goal is to be true to the fruit, let it express itself purely and fully. Working with such a talented team, with such excellent vineyards, and in such an exceptional facility is exciting and inspiring. HALL is truly devoted to making great wine and is going about achieving that in all the right ways: organically farmed vineyards, hand-sorted fruit, gravity-fed tanks, and native yeast fermentations." –Steve Leveque

Andy Niner

Niner Wine Estates - Paso Robles, CA

After studying economics at Colby College in Maine, Andy started his career working in finance for Cambridge Associates in Boston. He then moved to California and worked as a product manager in a small sunglass company in San Luis Obispo, earned his MBA from U.C. Berkeley and spent several years working in strategic planning for Levi Strauss & Company in San Francisco.

His love for the central coast and the importance of the family business ended up being the catalyst for joining the team. He joined the company full time in the spring of 2013. As president of Niner Wine Estates, Andy is responsible for making sure all of the different parts of the business are working together and moving in the right direction. From the vineyards to business structure to marketing and future planning.

Outside of work Andy bikes, climbs, wears a puffy vest and old raggedy New Balance shoes to Winemaker dinners, cooks and spends time at home with his wife Carolyn and newborn daughter Cora.

Richard Sowalsky

Clos Pegase - Napa, CA

The winemaking approach at Clos Pegase has been consistent since Jan Shrem founded the winery in 1984. The focus is on wines that are harmonious in every way, expressing the terrior of the estate vineyard where the grapes were grown. Careful crafting is used to accentuate the intricate delicacy of fruit rather than hide it behind overbearing winemaking techniques. We consider Clos Pegase to be in the tradition of the classic Napa style where wine balances with food in an elegant way.

Richard Sowalsky has been the Winemaker at Clos Pegase since 2010. Richard relies on extensive winemaking experience and a diverse educational background that includes enology, medicine, and the culinary arts to create estate wines of the highest quality. Before joining Clos Pegase, Richard was at Tetra and Expression Wine, brands of Hill & Wollack Wine Estates. Prior to his tenure with Hill & Wollack, he spent two years as the winemaker at William Hill Estate and six years at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville as associate winemaker for the Bordeaux varieties. Before joining Mondavi, Sowalsky was a research enologist for Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge Winery in Lodi, production assistant at Handley Cellars in Philo, California, and harvest assistant at Truchard Vineyards in Napa.

When asked about the winemaking process Richard states, “My approach to winegrowing begins as an intensive learning process in the vineyard. Then I adapt all of my winemaking to realize the full potential of each site in the finished wine.” This is the same spirit that Clos Pegase was founded on in 1984 and continues to drive us through today.

Nate Weis

Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars - Napa, CA

A Napa Valley native whose father is also a winemaker, Nate grew up with wine on the table and a drawer full of t-shirts emblazoned with winery logos. Nate spent the 2003 harvest at two New Zealand wineries and when he returned home he worked harvest for Etude Wines before starting grad school.

Nate, joined Silver Oak in 2014, has a long list of things he likes about winemaking: “I love the uniform – jeans and boots. I love the physical nature of the work, coming home covered in muck and tired out from working hard. I love the setting and getting to play with heave equipment; one of my best memories is a harvest spent on a tractor spreading out pomace in the vineyard and watching the sunset. And I’ve grown to love the plant biology part of it – figuring out how to get the vine to do what we want it to do. It’s like unraveling a mystery. And of course I love the end product. I often see people when they’re happiest – at a great meal with a glass of Silver Oak in their hand.”

Vintners 2014

Chris Benziger

Benziger - Sonoma, CA
Chris Benziger officially joined the Benziger Family Winery in 1993 as a Brand Manager, though he grew up working summers, nights and weekends at the winery. In addition to sales responsibilities, Benziger also oversees the home ranch, producing the biodynamic preparations for all the vineyards. Chris feels the only way to communicate the quality of the wines Benziger promotes is by having the soil from the vineyard under his nails.

Régis Camus

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck - France

John Geber

Château Tanunda - Barossa Valley, Australia

Bruce Orosz

Hollywood and Vine Cellars - Napa, CA

Allen Papp

Darioush - Napa, CA

Dev Sidhu

Cakebread Cellars - Napa, CA
With 15 years of experience in the wine industry, Sidhu is a part of the dynamic and fast-paced, direct-to-consumer business for Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley. In his capacity, Sidhu is responsible for the company's Visitor Center, Wine Club, Customer Service and Logistics department in addition to Cakebread Cellars' web presence.

Vintners 2013

Luciano Castiello

Castiello Banfi and Vigne Regal - Tuscany, Italy

Luciano Castiello is the official ambassador for Castello Banfi and Vigne Regali, and unofficial ambassador for Italy's melody-filled, wine-charmed, "slow food" culture.

An industry veteran of over 30 years, Mr. Castiello leads sales of Castello Banfi and Vigne Regali's ultra premium wines to upscale restaurants and wine shops, focusing his efforts mainly in the leading metropolitan areas of the United States and the islands of the Caribbean, as well as international markets in conjunction with the Banfi sales team. As ambassador, Mr. Castiello is a passionate and inspiring spokesperson for these family wineries. The multi-lingual Mr. Castiello (he has fluent command of English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Punjabi and Creole) concentrates on building brands through personal contact with sommeliers and wine professionals, acting as a liaison between grower and consumer.

The consummate professional, Mr. Castiello possesses the unique ability to reach wine enthusiasts of all levels. His passion for international cuisine combined with his vastly extensive wine knowledge allows him to make wine approachable to any consumer.

Mr. Castiello attributes his passion for food and wine to his experiences growing up on the Italian Riviera, the son of a winemaker and a chef. Born on a small farm in Liguria, just nine hundred feet from the sea, Mr. Castiello worked in the fields harvesting olives for oil and grapes for wine with his father, and cooking in his family's restaurant-like kitchen with his mother and grandmother. These small family businesses inspired him to continue working with family wineries where the soul of the brand is always present.

Schooled in Italy and France, Mr. Castiello has worked in the UK and on the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten and has represented prestige champagne houses, as well as artisan Burgundy producers. His breadth of international wine experience allows Mr. Castiello to bring a unique perspective to his role, and his passion brings this experience to life. He is a graduate of the Armenise Business School, London, England and L'Istituto Italiano Alberghiero Hotel School, Alassio, Italy. Mr. Castiello is also a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an international leader in customer satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000). The signature wines of Castello Banfi and Vigne Regali include a Proprietor's Reserve Sangiovese called BelnerO, three Brunellos (single-vineyard reserve Poggio all'Oro, cru Poggio alle Mura, and the flagship Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino), as well as three Montalcino Super Tuscan cuvées: SummuS, ExcelsuS, and Cum Laude; San Angelo Pinot Grigio, the single vineyard Principessa Gavia, and the cru Rosa Regale, a unique and renowned sparkling red.

Count Patrick D'Aulan

Alta Vista Winery - Argentina

Count Patrick d'Aulan, Owner of Alta Vista winery, combines his love of terroir and family to produce old-world wines influenced by European inheritance.

As a descendent from one of the oldest families in Europe, Count Patrick d'Aulan may be a blue-blood, but he has wine flowing freely through his veins.

The d'Aulan family produces wines in several wine-growing regions around the world, from France - their country of origin - to Hungary and Argentina, where they created Alta Vista in 1998, in search of the greatest qualities of two emblematic varieties: Malbec and Torrontes. The result is the perfect combination of French savoir-faire and Argentinean passion.

After obtaining a Master's Degree in International Law, Count Patrick d'Aulan decided to follow family tradition by leaving his own indelible mark on the wine world. While visiting Bordeaux in 1997, Count Patrick d'Aulan met Jean-Michel Arcaute, at the time, one of the most prestigious winemakers in Bordeaux. Together, they decided to travel the globe in search of a place that would embrace their winemaking vision of integrating distinct expressions from various terroirs, resulting in the highest quality of wine.

The duo settled upon the Las Compuertas district in Argentina, where they infused native Argentinean knowledge of Malbec and essential French winemaking philosophy into the foundation of their winery, Alta Vista and ultimately their flagship wine, Alto.

At the time of Alta Vista's conception, the prevailing reputation of Argentinean wines was focused more on quantity than quality. In 1998, the release of their first effort, Alto, was a shining example of Argentinean excellence and considered a revolution in the local wine industry. All production of Alto 1998 was sold in just a few hours and is still considered by collectors as an iconic wine.

The groundbreaking efforts of Count Patrick d'Aulan appeared again in 2002 when he was the first winery owner in Argentina to release a single vineyard Malbec. This "single vineyard" wine became a benchmark for the Argentinean wine industry.

After the tragic death of Jean-Michel Arcaute in 2001, Patrick d'Aulan continued to follow his dream of establishing Alta Vista as one of the best wineries in Argentina. His dream came true only 8 years later, when the Parker guide, classified Alta Vista as one of Argentina's top 5 wineries. Today, Alta Vista wines are sold in 36 countries around the world.

In 2012, Count Patrick d'Aulan was honored with the Knight of Merit by the President of the Republic of Hungary for his dedication and promotion of the wines of Tokay.

Today, Count Patrick d'Aulan lives in London with his wife, Kristen and their four children. When taking a break from business, the Count, a professional certified pilot, can be found soaring to new heights in his helicopter.

Cynthia Lohr

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines - San Jose, CA

As the daughter of wine industry pioneer Jerry Lohr, Cynthia Lohr spent some of her youth in the vineyards and at the wineries, absorbing aspects of the wine industry firsthand. As an adult, she chose her own path, establishing a reputation for excellence in strategic marketing and public relations, working with a who's who of leading Internet and technology companies. In 2002, Cynthia joined the family business as director of communications for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and in 2009 she was named marketing vice president.

In this capacity, Cynthia works with a dedicated marketing team, overseeing J. Lohr's advertising, public relations, editorial, promotional, Internet marketing, branding and communications initiatives, and is involved in direct-to-consumer strategy and partner sponsor relationships. Cynthia's unique background has enabled her to enhance J. Lohr's visibility while expanding overall brand recognition in both traditional and new media and throughout the marketplace. As one of three Lohr children to work actively in the business, Cynthia's perspective on sustainability starts in the vineyards and includes growing J. Lohr to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Prior to joining J. Lohr, Cynthia was a vice president at AlexanderOgilvy Public Relations Worldwide, where her division served an array of clients including Covad Communications, TurboLinux, HomePNA, iPIX, Preview Systems, and Vicinium Systems. In addition, while at technology public relations firm Niehaus Ryan Wong, Cynthia led Yahoo!'s pre-IPO strategic messaging efforts, helping to build the company's consumer brand throughout the mid-90s. She also directed strategic communications initiatives and executed numerous product launches for VeriSign, InsWeb and Organic Online. Before joining Niehaus Ryan Wong, Cynthia was the director of business development at PRx, a strategic marketing communications firm serving Silicon Valley technology clients. She was also an elementary school substitute teacher in Oakland, California, and was a program director for Saint Mary's College School of Extended Education in nearby Moraga.

Cynthia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French with minor in psychology from U.C. Davis. Her diverse background also reflects her passion for family and community, leadership, the arts and education. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Sam Lucente and her two daughters, Annabella and Emily, and serves on the board of directors for Edgewood Center for Children and Families and Headlands Center for the Arts. Cynthia is also an experienced ethnic vocalist, who has performed in 19 languages and released CDs with local groups Kitka, Wazobia, Savina, Jou Jou, and Flying Without Instruments. Her vocal credits with Kitka include the film Jacob's Ladder.

René Schlatter

Merryvale Vineyards - Napa Valley, CA

René Schlatter proudly upholds his family’s integrity and commitment to excellence in his broad role as President of Merryvale Vineyards, a family-owned Napa Valley winery. A native of Switzerland, René has lived in the U.S. since 1987, completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and earning a Master’s Degree from Arizona’s Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.

As a winery principal, René has held progressively more responsible positions at Merryvale since 1995.  He has made significant contributions in Merryvale’s sales management, marketing, finance and grape grower relations. In 2005, René and his family acquired a second estate vineyard with 50 acres planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah followed in 2006 by the construction of a second winery in the Napa Valley’s Carneros region. This state-of-the-art facility, called Starmont after the Merryvale wines of the same label, is extremely energy efficient using solar power and recycling 100% of winery process water.

As a result of these accomplishments under René’s leadership, Wine Enthusiast Magazine nominated him as Person of the Year for their Annual Wine Star Awards in 2011 with these comments: “Since 2008, the president of Napa’s Merryvale Vineyards has pioneered green initiatives while preserving the winery’s family legacy and excellence in producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.”

René and his family are very committed to protecting and preserving the Napa Valley for future generations using sustainable practices.  Both of Merryvale’s estate vineyards have been Napa Green Farm certified.  Both René and his wife Laurence are actively involved in the community of St. Helena, where they live with their three young daughters, Jenna, Jade and Corinna.

Christopher W. Silva

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards - Sonoma Valley, CA

As President & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Christopher Silva has a specific focus:
crafting world class Sonoma wine. St. Francis uses 100% hand picked, Sonoma County grapes in all its wines, and is best known for rich, complex Sonoma County Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and "Old Vines" Zinfandel. Widely awarded as quality leader, St. Francis is committed to being the premier producer of Sonoma wines in each of its categories.

Chris is a fifth-generation Sonoma County native, from a family of Petaluma dairy farmers. A
1989 graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he retired from practicing law to join St.
Francis Winery in 1998. At the age of 38, Chris became President & CEO of St. Francis in 2003.

Under Chris' leadership, St. Francis has also been recognized for its many green practices. A
457 kilowatt Solar Energy System, installed in 2004, provides up to 40% of the Winery's energy
from the sun. St. Francis has taken aggressive steps in water and creek conservation, recycling,
eco-friendly packaging, and created an on-site sustainable vegetable garden to support its culinary programs. St. Francis received the Sonoma County Best Practices Award in 2009 for its
"environmentally sound business practices."

Chris served on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sonoma County, and is now on the
Dean's National Advisory Board of the UNLV Harrah College of Hotel Administration. In 2011
he was honored by UNLV as the "Food & Beverage Industry Executive of the Year." Chris
was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for 2011. His
son Joseph and daughter Sydney are sixth-generation Sonoma County natives and attend local
public school, where Chris served on their School District Foundation Board.

He has taught college classes in legal research and legal writing, and lectures nationally regarding wine, law, and business. Chris' life story and approach to running a business have been featured in The New York Times, Luxist, AOL Daily Finance, and Corporate Wellness Magazine.

"Our time at St. Francis will not be measured in years. It will be measured
by the contributions each one of us makes—as individuals—to constantly
improving the quality of our grapes and our wines. 'Good enough' is
contrary to our mission."
--Christopher W. Silva

Vintners 2012

Tony Apostolakos

Masi Agricola - Veneto, Italy

As Masi’s Director of Marketing and Sales for the United States, Tony makes regular trips to Valpolicella, Italy and spends a good deal of time with the Boscaini family and Masi Technical Group to remain entrenched in their winemaking techniques and global strategy.

Born into a rich tradition of winemaking, Tony’s family owned vineyards in Sparta, Greece dating back to the early 1900’s before his family immigrated to Montreal, Canada. Tony earned a business degree with a major in Finance at the University of Alberta and has over 20 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry which he started as a restaurant owner.

It was in Canada where Tony was first introduced to Masi in 1999 as he sold their wine in his market for over six years. His innate knowledge of the Masi wine portfolio and family traditions, Tony was presented with the opportunity to work directly for the esteemed winery in the United States as the regional sales director and immediately relocated.

Today, when Tony is not traveling to local markets on behalf of Masi, he resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Jac Cole

Spring Mountain Vineyard - Napa Valley, CA

After graduating from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Biology in 1972, Jac followed his growing passion for winemaking to the Masters Program in Enology at California State University Fresno. Jac began his professional odyssey as an intern at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma County, and from there, wound his way through Napa Valley gathering expertise and experience with such prestigious wineries as Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stags’ Leap Winery, and S. Anderson Vineyards.

Jac has had the rare fortune of acquiring a remarkable depth of knowledge and experience along his winemaking path, as well as his valued friendship with Spring Mountain Vineyard manager, Ron Rosenbrand. Together they are dedicated to the concept that the world’s greatest wines are the direct result of the work done in the vineyard. Their focus has been on the nuance of clone and rootstock, the balance of canopy and fruit, and the determination of the point of perfection for harvest. Armed with a combination of gleaned experience, passion and friendship, Jac comes to Spring Mountain Vineyard to lift wine quality to even greater heights.

Jac lives on a picturesque two-acre vineyard on Howell Mountain with his wife, Ami.

Laurent Drouhin

Maison Joseph Drouhin - Burgundy, France
Laurent Drouhin is the Director for the United States market. He lives near New York City. He manages the development of the market and the image of the brand in the United States and the Caribbean. The United States is Joseph Drouhin's top export market. Laurent graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Gestion in Paris and soon after became Joseph Drouhin's Marketing Director for the Paris market. He loves the sea and all aquatic sports.

Tom Johnson

Silver Oak Cellars & Twomey Cellars - Napa, CA

Tom has been working with Silver Oak Cellars for the past 14 years.

With 40 years in the wine industry, starting with working for a distributor and including time with Franciscan, Rutherford Hill, Inglenook, and Vias Imports. Tom worked for Justin Meyer and Ray Duncan, the founders of Silver Oak, when they were owners of Franciscan in 1976 – 1980. When approached by Justin Meyer to join Silver Oak, Tom agreed because he knew that joining Silver Oak meant becoming part of a very special wine family.

Tom has been married 43 years and has one daughter and two granddaughters, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dennis Koelewun

Bodegas Salentine - Mendoza, Argentina
Dennis Koelewijn passion for wine started while working in a wine shop in Amsterdam, The Netherlands while still in college. During that time he also started traveling extensively to visit as many wine regions as possible, from South Australia, Burgundy, Rhone, South Africa to Napa Valley. After that he spent several years representing South African, Australian and US wines for Great Grapes, a wine importer in The Netherlands. After moving to California, he had several positions with import and distributing companies. Representing Salentein Family of wines for the US market has given him the opportunity to exercise all of his experience in importing and distributing wine, and be a part of a dynamic family owned company with tremendous opportunity in the United States. 

Bodegas Salentein pioneered the development of premium wines in the Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina. The ideal conditions of the region for grape growing, combined with the unique qualities of the estates located between 3300 and 5500 feet elevation, together with the benefit of five different microclimates, result in wines of exceptional characteristics.

When he is not travelling Dennis likes to cook and spend time with his family

Clarke Swanson

Swanson Vineyards - Napa, CA

Clarke Swanson was born in Omaha, Nebraska, far way from the Napa Valley, which would beckon to him many years later in life.  Before reaching his present Oakville, California dwelling, Clarke lived in, and explored many areas of the United States, and the world.  After receiving a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Stanford, and a Masters of Science Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, he went on to pursue admirable careers in banking, radio broadcasting, cable television, and publishing.

In 1969, Clarke married Elizabeth Pipes of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Since then, they have been blessed with three daughters, Alexis, Veronica and Claiborne.

Clarke Swanson, a former resident of Naples, Florida, among other places, moved to Napa Valley in 1985 to start his most outstanding career yet, as proprietor of Swanson Vineyards.

Mr. Swanson is a Director of the Napa Valley Vintner’s Association, an overseer for Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Vice President and Director of the Friends of the Lincoln Performing Arts Theater in Napa Valley and the former president of the Oakville Wine Grower’s Association.

Anthony Truchard

Truchard Vineyards - Carneros Napa, CA

Ever since Anthony can remember, he has been alongside his father working on the vineyards and in the cellar. Whether pruning vines or racking wines, Anthony has experienced every aspect of winemaking, from grape to bottle.

Anthony received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied philosophy and biology and further developed his wine knowledge by working in boutique wine shops and restaurants. These experiences were his initial lessons in sales and marketing – by interacting with wine lovers in different milieu, Anthony honed the unique skill of discerning what a customer seeks when selecting a wine, either off a shelf or from a wine list.

Upon graduating from UCSB, Anthony returned to Napa and joined a vineyard management company with his brother, which he successfully managed for several years. Realizing the importance of developing his business and legal acumen, Anthony decided to return to school to obtain his law degree. Upon graduation cum laude from Cardozo School of Law, he practiced patent law in New York before his parents asked him to return home to Napa to help manage the winery.

As Sales and Marketing Director, Anthony has led the expansion of Truchard Vineyards into several markets, drawing on his legal foundation to develop new ideas and successfully manage all aspects of his family's business.

When he is not traveling the world sharing the beauty of Truchard wines, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends in Napa or simply relaxing at home with his Labrador Retriever, Jack.

Vintners 2011

Jac Cole

Spring Mountain Vineyard - Napa Valley, CA

After graduating from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Biology in 1972, Jac followed his growing passion for winemaking to the Masters Program in Enology at California State University Fresno. Jac began his professional odyssey as an intern at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma County, and from there, wound his way through Napa Valley gathering expertise and experience with such prestigious wineries as Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stags’ Leap Winery, and S. Anderson Vineyards.

Jac has had the rare fortune of acquiring a remarkable depth of knowledge and experience along his winemaking path, as well as his valued friendship with Spring Mountain Vineyard manager, Ron Rosenbrand. Together they are dedicated to the concept that the world’s greatest wines are the direct result of the work done in the vineyard. Their focus has been on the nuance of clone and rootstock, the balance of canopy and fruit, and the determination of the point of perfection for harvest. Armed with a combination of gleaned experience, passion and friendship, Jac comes to Spring Mountain Vineyard to lift wine quality to even greater heights.

Jac lives on a picturesque two-acre vineyard on Howell Mountain with his wife, Am

Blair Fox

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards - Santa Barbara, CA

Graduating from UC Davis in 1999 with a combined degree in Viticulture and Enology, Blair Fox gained winemaking experience at Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley (1999-2001), and at Haselgrove Winery – a custom-crush winery in McLaren Vale, Australia (2003).

He also traveled through France’s Rhône Valley before returning to his hometown of Santa Barbara. He then joined Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard as Associate Winemaker, overseeing the Rhône varietal wines. Fox had previously consulted in the vineyard for the winery’s 2002 harvest.

“Having focused on the winery’s estate Syrah and Rhône varietal vineyards, I’m excited to add on the responsibility for Ashley’s and Bien Nacido vineyards and control the Burgundian part of our portfolio (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay),” said Fox. “The vineyards and clonal selection here are of such high quality, and the Parkers are a great family to work for.”

Fox continues the stylistic direction set by Eli Parker when capturing the terroir of the vineyards. He aims to continue raising the bar for the award-winning Fess Parker wines, such as the 2001 Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah (91pts, Wine Advocate), 2002 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (93pts, Wine Spectator), and 2001 American Tradition Reserve Syrah, (92pts, Wine Advocate).

Kathryn Hall

Hall Winery - Napa Valley, CA

Kathryn Walt Hall is the proprietor of HALL Wines and has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard thirty years ago. She has had a distinguished career as a successful businesswoman, community activist, and most recently as the United States Ambassador to Austria.

Kathryn Hall and her family have been grape growers in Mendocino County since 1972. The Walt family owns 63 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in the Redwood Valley and has sold their grapes to such wineries as Fetzer, Parducci and Beringer. Kathryn managed the family vineyard from 1982 to 1992. During this time she produced Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon under the label Walt Vineyards. Continuing her family tradition, she maintains a strong emotional attachment to vineyards, wine and the wine country.

Kathryn began her public career as assistant city attorney in Berkeley, California. Later she joined Safeway Stores, where she was responsible for developing and administering one of the nation’s first and largest affirmative action programs. Subsequently she worked as an attorney and businesswoman in Dallas, Texas, where she was president of an inner city development company and partner of Hall Financial Group, Inc.

Long committed to social issues, Kathryn has served on numerous non-profit and institutional boards, addressing issues related to social care and mental health. She co-founded the North Texas Food Bank, served on the U.S. House of Representatives Hunger Advisory Committee, and was the director/vice president of the Texas Mental Health Association. Kathryn has served on the National Advisory Council for Violence Against Women and as a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

From 1997 to July 2001, Kathryn served as the United States Ambassador to Austria. During her term as Ambassador, she worked hard to promote American wine in Austria and Europe. Since her return to America, she has resumed her role as proprietor of Kathryn Hall Vineyards. Continuing upon her experience promoting American agriculture in Austria, in September 2001 she was appointed to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for international trade.

Kathryn earned an A.B. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law. She is married to Craig Hall and the mother of two children. She speaks French and German.

Jacques Lardiere

Maison Louis Jadot - Burgundy, France
Born in 1948 in Vendée, France, Jacques Lardière decided at an early age to dedicate his life to winemaking. Graduated with distinction from the school of Viticulture and Oenology of Alentours, in Mâcon, Mr. Lardière was drawn to research in the biology of aromas and bacteria under close association with Professor Brechot of the Pasteur Institute and Jules Chauvet who has worked his whole life on the aromatic identification. In 1970, Mr. Lardière joined Maison Louis Jadot in the capacity of assistant oenologist under Mr. André Gagey, then Managing Director. He was appointed Technical Director in 1980, and is respected as one of France’s most brilliant, passionate and inspired winemakers. Jacques Lardière is married with three children. 

Rosa Lee de Leuze

ZD Wines - Napa Valley, CA

Rosa Lee de Leuze is the personification of ZD's personal approach to wines. Described by others in the trade as warm and charming, Rosa Lee is doing what she enjoys best... marketing ZD Wines, meeting people and enjoying the close relationships she has developed with distributors, retailers, restaurateurs and ZD fans. She works with her son, Brett, who was named Marketing Director in 1988, who brought new energy and ideas to the winery.

In 1955, when Rosa Lee married Norman de Leuze, they were both students at University of California, Berkeley. She never expected that someday their lives would involve meeting so many interesting people, enjoying such wonderful wine and food, and the opportunity to work with her husband and children. Rosa Lee works well with Norman, and feels fortunate having all of her children involved in the family business.

Actively participating in marketing ZD Wines since its inception in 1969, Rosa Lee began holding new release parties at the winery and selling wine to accounts in the San Francisco area. Rosa Lee first called on the wine shop in the Cannery in 1972. She recalls being invited in by the proprietor, who was very excited about buying wines from a new, small winery. They talked for quite some time, and the proprietor purchased ZD Wines for his shop, which he still carries to this day.

The first restaurant to carry ZD Wines was the Clift Hotel in San Francisco. The restaurant manager stopped by the winery in 1972 when it was located in a small farm building near Santa Rosa. He took some wine back to the sommelier, who adamantly refused to buy a wine with a name like ZD. He did agree to taste the wine, and was so impressed, he immediately added it to the wine list.

Successes such as these have brought Rosa Lee a great deal of satisfaction, since she takes her family's wines personally. One of the many thrilling moments she recollects was a phone call in 1982 from Dave Berkeley, wine consultant for White House functions. Dave called to ask for immediate delivery of five cases of Chardonnay to Williamsburg to be served at the Economic Summit Conference, which would be attended by all the Heads of State. Seizing the moment, Rosa Lee arranged to send the 1981 Chardonnay, adorned with the newly designed ZD label, to be "unveiled" at the prestigious dinner.

Proud of ZD's wines, Rosa Lee derives great pleasure knowing that her family has added something extra to their consumer's lives, "...the social element of sharing the finer things in life which makes people happy, enabling more people to enjoy our wines," says Rosa Lee. Rosa Lee's other interests have involved membership in an antique collection, and a partnership in "Cooking With Class", a cooking school which involved catering and pairing wine with food. With respect to future endeavors, Rosa Lee is looking forward to seeing her grandchildren involved in the family business someday.

Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger

Champagne Taittinger - Reims, France

Vintners 2010

Tony Apostolakos

Masi Agricola - Veneto, Italy

As Masi’s Director of Marketing and Sales for the United States, Tony makes regular trips to Valpolicella, Italy and spends a good deal of time with the Boscaini family and Masi Technical Group to remain entrenched in their winemaking techniques and global strategy.

Born into a rich tradition of winemaking, Tony’s family owned vineyards in Sparta, Greece dating back to the early 1900’s before his family immigrated to Montreal, Canada. Tony earned a business degree with a major in Finance at the University of Alberta and has over 20 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry which he started as a restaurant owner.

It was in Canada where Tony was first introduced to Masi in 1999 as he sold their wine in his market for over six years. His innate knowledge of the Masi wine portfolio and family traditions, Tony was presented with the opportunity to work directly for the esteemed winery in the United States as the regional sales director and immediately relocated.

Today, when Tony is not traveling to local markets on behalf of Masi, he resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Bill Cascio

Talbott Winery - Monterey, CA
As the National Sales Director for Talbott Vineyards, Bill Cascio is responsible for guiding Talbott’s sales program throughout the United States and internationally.  A passionate wine euctaor with a belief in the value of building lasting relationships, Bill works closely with Talbott’s distributor partners to expand awareness about Talbott Vineyards World-Class Estate program, and the winery’s acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.  Building on a successful career as a restaurateur, wine buyer, sommelier and wine salesperson, Bill combines a comprehensive knowledge of the industry, with an intimate understanding of the relationship between great food and fine wine.  When he is not working with trade partners and key accounts, Bill enjoys leading guided tastings, wine seminars and wine-paired dinners for Talbott Vineyards customers around the country.

Ignacio Arzuaga Navarro

Bodegas Arzuaga - Ribero del Duero, Spain

Bernard Portet

Clos Du Val / Goelet Wine Estates - Napa, CA
Like the six generations before him, Bernard Portet was destined to be a winemaker. Born in 1944 in Cognac, France, and raised in the Bordeaux region, Portet developed a passion for winemaking while walking the vineyards and caves of Bordeaux with his father, a régisseur (technical director) at Château Lafite. He pursued formal studies at the French winemaking schools of Toulouse and Montpellier before John Goelet hired him in 1970 to establish Clos Du Val. Today Clos Du Val's veteran founding winemaker remains active in wine production and is considered one of the forefathers of the Napa Valley wine industry.

Jaco Potgieter

DBG,USA - South Africa
Jaco Potgieter has been an oenologist – the science and study of all aspects of wine and winemaking - for DGB Ltd. for more than 10 years at DGB. He has a BSc degree in BSc Agriculture (Wine and Viticulture), University of Stellenbosch and from there has held positions as a cellar master/manager, buyer, assistant winemaker and general manager. He has been a member of Tasting Panels for Veritas and South African Young Wine Competition, and is a member of SA(South Africa) Wine and Spirit Board's Technical Committee and the Oenology Committee of Winetech. Jaco's current responsibility includes managing all new research projects regarding the South Africa Wine Industry.

Clovis Taittinger

Champagne Taittinger - Reims, France

Born in May 1978, in Chamonix Mont Blanc, Clovis TAITTINGER is the eldest child of Pierre Emmanuel TAITTINGER, President of Champagne Taittinger. He grew up in Reims, the Champagne region before moving to Paris where he earned his Master’s degree in History at Sorbonne University.

After 7 years working in banking and consulting, followed by a career of managing his own company in the real estate and hotel business, Clovis joined Champagne TAITTINGER in September 2007 to pursue his family’s history.

Clovis juggles his dual role in the company as Deputy Export Director by representing the family’s name worldwide and by being in charge of grapes suppliers and growers relationships.

Steve Thomson

King Estate Winery - Eugene, OR

A native of the Chicago area, Steve discovered an interest in wine while working in the restaurant business and pursuing a degree in business from the University of Illinois. During a 15 year restaurant career which took him from Illinois to Wisconsin and then Kansas City and St. Louis Missouri, he was the general manager of two Mobil 4 star restaurants, and a food and beverage director for a major hotel company, also directing the company's corporate wine program.

Steve's food and beverage career began to take an increasing shift toward wine, and the opportunity to work to help startup a top wine wholesale company came along. From 1991 to 1998 Steve worked for Griesedieck Imports in Missouri, first as a wine sales manager mentored by Doug Frost MW, MS, and then as General Sales Manager. Eventually Greisedieck Imports became part of the Glazer's Family of Companies. In 1999 Steve had the opportunity to become the Southeast Regional Manager for King Estate which he had sold as a wholesaler since its inception. Relocating to Atlanta, he managed 19 state markets for the winery. In January of 2001, Steve was promoted to the position of Director of Sales.

As Director of Sales, Steve manages all domestic and international sales from the winery and in the field. He believes in focusing not just on cultivating new sales, but on developing and maintaining great relationships throughout the King Estate trade channel–from the wholesale distributor to retailer to consumer.

Vintners 2009

Stefano Capurso

Barone Riscasoli - Tuscany, Italy

Since 1141, the Ricasoli family has owned Castello di Brolio Estate. The history of Brolio and the Ricasoli Barons extends into the distant 12th century when ownership of the land and castle was gifted to the Ricasoli family by the Republic of Florence. In the last 3 centuries, the Ricasoli have shaped the history of the Chianti Classico territory and its wines, while establishing themselves as top quality producers. In 1874, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, former Prime Minister of the Reign of Italy, defined the “formula” for the ideal wine on which the rules of the new Chianti Classico Appellation (DOCG) were eventually based in 1967.

A New Renaissance
In 1993, the Ricasoli family regained control of the winery, after twenty years of foreign ownership. For Barone Ricasoli this date represents the beginning of an era of renovation and research leading to a new splendor. In less than a decade more than 620 acres of vineyards have been replanted, with an investment of over $16 million dollars. The vinification cellars and hospitality structures have undergone major renovation, with an investment of additional $20 million dollars.

John Conover

PlumJack Winery/Cade Winery - Oakville, CA

John Conover’s winery background encompasses sales, marketing and management positions with well-respected, super-premium and ultra-premium California wine producers, including Grgich Hills Cellar (Rutherford), Monticello Cellars (Napa), Lockwood Vineyard (Monterey County) and currently PlumpJack winery (Oakville) and the new CADE winery (Howell Mountain).

Conover joined PlumpJack as general manager in January 1999 to oversee the daily operations of the estate winery and vineyard, provide strategic direction for the newly-established property, steadily increase production from 1,000 cases to 10,000 cases annually and create the image, awareness and distribution channels that would ultimately support that level of production.

Conover is also a partner in CADE, a new estate winery being constructed on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley by the PlumpJack group. Under Conover's direction, CADE released its first white wine, the CADE Sauvignon Blanc 2005, in 2006, and its first red wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Cuvee 2005, in 2007. Two more Cabernet Sauvignons are in the works, both from Howell Mountain-grown grapes, including the CADE Estate wine grown on 21 organically farmed acres planted on steep slopes in front of the new LEED-certifed winery and extensive barrel-aging caves.

PlumpJack Winery released its first vintage in 1997. The winery currently produces several varietals under the talented direction of winemaker Anthony Biagi and consulting winemaker Nils Venge. The winery’s focus remains its Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon with two limited offerings: PlumpJack Estate and PlumpJack Reserve.

Probably the most visible of Conover’s projects for PlumpJack to date has been the development and June 2000 release of the U.S. wine industry’s first ever bottling of an ultra-premium, luxury wine in a screw cap bottle. “We undertook the project with great enthusiasm,” says Conover. “We did not expect, however, the wonderful level of acceptance among high-end consumers and collectors and the overwhelmingly positive support of our colleagues in the winemaking community. From packaging to bottling to the quality of the wine a year later, the whole project has been both interesting and gratifying. I have been particularly pleased to have the on-going participation of U.C. Davis.”

In issue No. 168 of The Wine Advocate newsletter, Robert M. Parker, Jr., rated the 2004 Plumpjack Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 96 points, calling it "voluptuous" and "multidimensional." Previous Parker raves included 94 points for the 2002 PlumpJack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 96 points for the 2002 PlumpJack Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2004 PlumpJack Winery’s 2001 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was named “Number One Wine in the World” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

San Francisco Philanthropist Gordon Getty and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, both avid wine collectors and enthusiasts, own PlumpJack winery and have set high standards for the label since its inception. “It’s exciting for me to be part of an organization with such dedication to quality, both in the vineyards and in the winery,” says Conover. “Certainly, the history of this property – formerly Villa Mt. Eden – for producing world-class fruit is well-known, and Tony and Nils offer incredible winemaking talent. Further, the energy and vision offered by the partners makes this venture a very exciting one.”

Marc Dupin

Maison Louis Jadot - Cote d’ Beaune, France

Marc Dupin grew up in the Paris area close to Versailles and rather far from vines.

During his business degree his first contact with wines was in the mid 80s. Pursuing his interests for languages, sales and export markets, he worked as export director in the wine business before joining Maison Louis Jadot in 1992 where he supervises sales in approximately 53 countries as their Export Director.

From the start, Maison Louis Jadot has always accorded equal importance to each of Burgundy's appellations, from Grand Crus right through to regional wines. Their aim is to express the true nature of Burgundy through their wines, a terroir that can be both proud of its past and optimistic about its future.

All the wines made under the Maison Louis Jadot label are Appellation Contrôlée wines from across the region. The vineyards of Maison Louis Jadot are now scattered across 154 hectares of Burgundy, from the Côte d'Or to the Mâconnais and down into Beaujolais. Thanks to the quality of their wines they have forged strong links, both in France and around the world, with sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine merchants, importers, agents and wine lovers.

Julianne Laks

Cakebread Cellars - Rutherford, CA

Cakebread Cellars' winemaker, Julianne Laks, has sniffed, smelled and tasted her way through more wines than she can count during her 25 plus-year career in the wine industry. Fortunately for us, the last 20 of those years have been at Cakebread Cellars, first as an enologist and later as assistant winemaker under head winemaker, Bruce Cakebread. Julianne was promoted to winemaker when Bruce Cakebread, took the reins from his father as president of the winery in 2002.

Julianne's winemaking skill, artistic passion and intimate understanding of our vineyards are just a few of the reasons Julianne was chosen to follow in Bruce's footsteps. Her promotion marked a milestone for Cakebread Cellars; she is the third winemaker in Cakebread Cellars' history, and is the first non-family member to hold the position. Her favorite part of the job, she says, is harvest. "Because I've worked with these vineyards for such a long time, it's like seeing old friends when the grapes come in. My job is to give them the best possible reception when they arrive at the winery."

We have organized this section by variety and vintage. The descriptions are what we taste at the release of the wine. If you are looking at an older vintage, keep in mind that as the wine ages it will develop bottle bouquet and the flavors will change.

Matthew Lane

Penfold’s Estates - Penfolds, Australia

Matthew Lane comes to Foster’s Wine Estates Americas from the (formerly Southcorp Wines LTD) portfolio. Matt’s profession in wine blossomed at Penfolds’ 5 star prestigious Magill Estate restaurant in Adelaide, South Australia, where he served as Head Sommelier and Senior Wine Educator for over four years before relocating to the USA in early 2003. Prior the Magill Estate, Matt held positions with Hyatt international and other prestigious wine restaurants in Australia as their Head Sommelier & wine buyer.

Matt has comprehensive experience in training, development and education. He conducts wine education for Foster’s internal staff and external clients on a global scale, as well as being a guest wine, food and sensory lecturer at the University of Adelaide—arguably one of Australia’s top wine training colleges, Johnson & Wales Universities in the USA, plus, most recently Harvard and Stanford universities. He has also worked as a guest Sommelier at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in London, the luxurious Palazzo Versace resort in Australia.

He has been involved in widespread sensory tasting, winemaking, testing and training with top winemakers from Foster’s in Australia & USA winemaking operations. He has passed the USA Professional Wine Judges and Sensory Evaluation course, graduating dux; He also recently has completed Enology and Viticulture 3 at the University of California, Davis.

Matt has won the exclusive international Vin de Champagne award twice, and was also named South Australian Sommelier of the Year for 2001.

As Foster’s Director of Wine Education for the Americas and Canada, Matt will raise the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the Foster’s Wine Estates global portfolio by providing extensive education and training to distributors, trade, media, and Foster’s staff throughout the Americas and Canada. Based in Napa, California, he works closely with the Sales and Public Relations departments to produce educational materials for use at a multitude of events and by the sales teams. After two years of development, Matt recently launched Foster’s on-line wine education program known as Wine Edge, which has quickly been noted by contemporaries as “one of the most authoritative and comprehensive Australian wine on-line course’s ever created.”

Matt, 36, has been in the industry for over fifteen years. He was born and raised in Australia and currently lives in Napa, California.

Brett de Leuze

ZD Winery - Napa, CA

Brett de Leuze, ZD Wines President & Partner, grew up in and around the wine business. He was only four years old when the winery was founded in 1969. His experience ranges from picking the grapes during the `70s, to bottling-line duties and assisting his brother Robert in the wine making of the`80s. Brett and ZD Wines have grown up together from their beginnings.

Through his youth and college, Brett’s main interest outside of the winery was soccer. He collected trophies attesting to his skill. In fact, soccer and helping build a business are not too dissimilar. They both require stamina, alertness, and they both have GOALS! With graduation in view, his attention was focused on obtaining a Business degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Following graduation from CSUS in 1988, Brett formed a team with his mom, Rosa Lee, who since 1969 had been managing all of ZD’s marketing and sales. For many years, Brett traveled throughout the United States sharing his family’s wines and experiences with restaurateurs, retailers and consumers. Over the years, Brett also visited wineries and vineyards in France, Italy and Germany, gaining a broader perspective with regard to the diversity of the wine business.

Today, Brett’s energy and excitement for the wine industry continue to help define ZD’s reputation as a family business dedicated to a sustainable approach to growing, producing and selling world-class wine. Brett and his wife Natalie, have three beautiful children, Connor (10), Kayla (7) and Alexandria (5) a third generation on the way.

Joel Peterson

Ravenswood Winery - Sonoma, CA

Joel Peterson grew up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay during the Dark Ages when California wine was judged by the type of jug it was bottled in. However, Joel's farsighted father Walter bucked the status quo by starting the San Francisco Wine Sampling Club, which studied fine wines from all over the world. Walter allowed his son to join the group's twice-weekly tastings when Joel was nine years old, carefully measuring the wine in the boy's glass — then his spittoon — to make sure everything was expectorated.

By the time he was a teenager, Joel thus had a working knowledge of European vineyards and vintages, along with a collection of headstrong opinions about what made good wine. After graduating from Oregon State University, he followed in the professional footsteps of his parents (both of whom were chemists), going to work as a laboratory scientist. On the side, he made money through wine writing and consulting, gaining a local reputation as a gifted taster (and tasteless punster).

Eventually it dawned on Joel that he had the background (not to mention the prejudices) to be an actual winemaker. Hence, he apprenticed with Joseph Swan — one of California's outstanding craftsmen of fine Zinfandel — to learn the art of traditional winemaking as practiced in Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1976 Joel founded Ravenswood in partnership with fellow wine lover Reed Foster (a Harvard MBA gone astray) and over the next half-dozen years, their fledgling operation moved from the rear corner of one willing winery to another. When Ravenswood finally turned a profit after a dozen years of operation, they settled on the northern edge of Sonoma, where the winery's tasting room is located.

Joel is now acknowledged as a leader in California wine — an articulate spokesman and stylistic trendsetter who helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon that it is today. If there were a California Winemaking Hall of Fame, he'd be a shoo-in for early induction — not just as a home-run hitter but as one of the most popular players in the majors. (It's said that even as a Little Leaguer he could handle the spitter with aplomb.)

Antonillo Pinilla

Bodegas Faustino - Rioja, Spain

Mrs. Lourdes Martínez is one of the 4th Generation members of the Martínez Family, Grupo Faustino wineries´ owners. She works at the company since her early years and she has been learning for running the family business since she was very young.

She was born in Oyón, on the 31rd of December 1966. She studied a Degree in Computing at the Deusto University in Bilbao (Spain). After that she did a MBA at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid and a Master on Finances at the Deusto University in Bilbao.

After she completed her studies she began to work at Bodegas Faustino Martínez, SA as Assistant to the Management Directorship. In 1992 is the Financial Chief Executive of Bodegas Faustino Martínez, SA and is one of the Member of the Managing Committee and Manager Director for the same company.

Since 1999 is the Managing Director of the Faustino Group.

She also is, from January 2005, Manager Director for FCC SA and member of the Strategical Commiteee for the same company.

She is married and has got two daughters.

Vintners 2008

Justin Baldwin

Justin Vineyards - Paso Robles, CA

In 1981, Justin and Deborah Baldwin purchased 160 acres west of Paso Robles on California's Central Coast and planted their estate vineyards. Justin brings to JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery his business savvy as a former investment and international banker.

Since its inception, Justin focused his efforts on producing world-class Bordeaux style blends from the estate vineyards for the JUSTIN label. Justin is a pioneer in producing this style of wine on the Central Coast and his efforts have been rewarded with past and present vintages earning 90+ points by the major wine trade publications. More encompassing recognition has come from awards such as the Grand Sweepstakes award winner, Best of class, Best of Region, the coveted Pichon Lalande trophy for "World's Best Blended Red Wine" and Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the World.

Vintages have received numerous accolades by capturing Decanter Magazine's "4 Stars", Restaurant Wine's "3 Forks" and Connoisseurs Guide's " 3 Puffs". Justin has consistently earned the praise of the wine press with recognition from the likes of Robert M. Parker Jr. naming Justin Baldwin one of his "Wine Heroes of the Year" and the "Star of Paso Robles"; the James Beard Foundations "Great American Winemaker Award"; Quarterly Review of Wine's "Top 3 Cabernet Producers of the Year"; and Wine Enthusiast's "Top Cabernet and Blended Wine Producers List" for seven years running.

Justin is an active participant in the wine world. He is a frequent panelist at prominent food and wine events worldwide, is a two term board member of the Family Winemaker of California, part board member and committee chair of the Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association, co-found of the West Side Grand Crew and the Far out Wineries of Paso Robles. For their contribution he and his wife have been named the Paso Robles Wine Industry persons of the year.

Beyond winemaking, the Baldwins have found that Food and JUSTIN wines go together. In fact, JUSTIN is the only winery on California's Central Coast to retain a full-time chef whose kitchen works daily to pair acclaimed JUSTIN wines with fresh seasonal and vineyard grown offerings.

The Baldwin family lives on the vineyard and includes Justin and wife Deborah; their two children, three dogs and two horses. In addition to the vineyards, winery, and tasting room, they own and operate the highly acclaimed country inn, The JUST Inn, and its intimate gourmet restaurant, Deborah's Room, also on the property.

Chris Helies

Bodegas Julian Chivite - Navarra, Spain

Jerome Jeandin

Champagne Taittinger - Reims, France

Tom Johnson

Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars - Napa & Sonoma, CA

Tom has been working with Silver Oak Cellars for the past 14 years.

With 40 years in the wine industry, starting with working for a distributor and including time with Franciscan, Rutherford Hill, Inglenook, and Vias Imports. Tom worked for Justin Meyer and Ray Duncan, the founders of Silver Oak, when they were owners of Franciscan in 1976 – 1980. When approached by Justin Meyer to join Silver Oak, Tom agreed because he knew that joining Silver Oak meant becoming part of a very special wine family.

Tom has been married 43 years and has one daughter and two granddaughters, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tanna Massar

Van Duzer Vineyards - Willamette Valley, OR

Terrance Peabody

Craggy Range - Hawk’s Bay, New Zealand

Chris Phelps

Swanson Vineyards - Oakville, VA

Before embarking on a career in the wine business, Clarke Swanson established his experience in the general business worlds. After receiving a Bachelors Degree in History and Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University, his career included work in the fields of banking, radio broadcasting, cable television, and community newspapers.

Swanson Vineyards began in 1985, when the Swanson family (wife Elizabeth and three daughters) relocated to Napa Valley from Naples, FL. Today the winery produces a variety of wines in the legendary Napa Valley regions; current releases include a 2004 Rosato, 2004 Pinot Grigio, 2002 Alexis and 2002 Merlot.

In addition to his dedication to wine-making, Clarke Swanson is involved in a variety of professional and civic organizations. He is a Director of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, Director and former Chairman of the Oakville Winegrowers Association, a Director and Vice President of the Friends of Lincoln Theater Performing Arts Center (Napa Valley), and a Director of University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation.

Anthony Truchard

Truchard Vineyards - Napa, CA

Vintners 2007

Tony Apostolakos

Masi - Veneto, Italy

As Masi’s Director of Marketing and Sales for the United States, Tony makes regular trips to Valpolicella, Italy and spends a good deal of time with the Boscaini family and Masi Technical Group to remain entrenched in their winemaking techniques and global strategy.

Born into a rich tradition of winemaking, Tony’s family owned vineyards in Sparta, Greece dating back to the early 1900’s before his family immigrated to Montreal, Canada. Tony earned a business degree with a major in Finance at the University of Alberta and has over 20 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry which he started as a restaurant owner.

It was in Canada where Tony was first introduced to Masi in 1999 as he sold their wine in his market for over six years. His innate knowledge of the Masi wine portfolio and family traditions, Tony was presented with the opportunity to work directly for the esteemed winery in the United States as the regional sales director and immediately relocated.

Today, when Tony is not traveling to local markets on behalf of Masi, he resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Kathy Benziger

Benziger Family Winery - Sonoma Valley

You can’t begin to discuss the beginnings of Benziger Family Winery without delving into the family members themselves. The Benzigers — California’s largest wine family in one of California’s smallest appellations has created from the ground up a nationally acclaimed Sonoma winery. From the start, the vision was quite simple; grow grapes that produce wines of uncompromised character and quality inspired by Sonoma County’s unrivaled diversity.

The youngest of Bruno and Helen's seven children, Kathy first came to work at the winery when she was a high school freshman. She soon graduated to pruning, picking, bottling and working in the tasting room. Learning about the wine industry from the ground up, she decided to make her mark in the business end of the operation and earned a degree in management from Sonoma State University. Sales positions at ADP in New York and Hoffman Distributing in New Jersey prepared her for a move back East, where she became the Benziger eastern region sales manager. Kathy now lives in Colorado, where she is the central region sales manager for Benziger.

Dawn Dooley

Darioush - Napa Valley

As “Secretary of the Estate” for Darioush Winery, Dawn Dooley travels the country sharing good will and great wines from one of the Napa Valley’s most exciting wineries. Best known for producing exceptional Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, Darioush is building a reputation for the style and grace of their wines and the winery estate. Modeled after the seat of the ancient Persian Empire, Persepolis, the winery is not to be missed when visiting the wine country.

Ms. Dooley manages sales of the winery’s products throughout the United States and internationally. She came to Darioush with 15 years of experience in the wine industry in the areas of sales, marketing, and public relations. She is particularly proud of having established a scholarship program for restaurant and hotel wine professionals in conjunction with the American Court of Master Sommeliers.

Kathryn Hall

Hall Winery - Napa Valley

Kathryn Hall’s distinguished career has taken her to prominence in international affairs, but she has always had a passion for the wine business and today devotes a good deal of her time to her Napa Valley winery and wine education. She is the proprietor of HALL winery, which has facilities in St. Helena and Rutherford, and she has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard in Mendocino County 30 years ago.

Kathryn Hall is best known as the former United States Ambassador to Austria during the Clinton administration. Although she left the political world in an official capacity in 2001, she remains an active fundraiser and campaigner for national and local Democratic candidates, and she keeps a close eye on the world of American politics and foreign affairs.

Two years before leaving on her diplomatic mission to Austria, Kathryn and her husband Craig Hall purchased a prime vineyard in the hills above Rutherford in the Napa Valley. The Halls made 1,000 cases of high-end Cabernet Sauvignon from the Sacrashe Vineyard each year, beginning in 1996, but Kathryn Hall’s term as ambassador put the launch of their wine on hold.

The Kathryn Hall Vineyards label was introduced when Kathryn Hall returned from Austria, and the Cabernet Sauvignon met with rave reviews from U.S. critics. But Kathryn and Craig had a bigger vision for their wine business and began acquiring specially selected vineyards in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. In 2003 they acquired the old Napa Valley Cooperative Winery in St. Helena and renamed the facility and their wines HALL. Today, the HALL wines are nationally distributed, and the Halls have two winemaking facilities for HALL wines in the Napa Valley, the St. Helena winery and a brand new high-tech, small lot winery at their Sacrashe Vineyard in Rutherford.

Kathryn Hall is currently on the board of the Napa Emergency Women’s Services and is active in the Land Trust of Napa County, for which she has hosted fundraisers at her home in Rutherford. She is a member of Wine, Women & Shoes, an educational group targeting young women, and she recently participated in the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Women in Winegrowing Calendar project.

Jerome Jeandin

Champagne Taittinger - Reims, France
Jerome Jeandin, who was born in France, has a bachelor's degree in economics and master's degree with merits in business law from the Sorbonne. His post-graduate work includes International Business Law at the Sorbonne and an MBA with merits specialized in international sales (London) and Champagne Institute Ay. Before coming to work for Taittinger, his career experience included several positions in international marketing.

Matthew Lane

Penfold’s Estates - Penfolds, Australia

Matthew Lane comes to Foster’s Wine Estates Americas from the (formerly Southcorp Wines LTD) portfolio. Matt’s profession in wine blossomed at Penfolds’ 5 star prestigious Magill Estate restaurant in Adelaide, South Australia, where he served as Head Sommelier and Senior Wine Educator for over four years before relocating to the USA in early 2003. Prior the Magill Estate, Matt held positions with Hyatt international and other prestigious wine restaurants in Australia as their Head Sommelier & wine buyer.

Matt has comprehensive experience in training, development and education. He conducts wine education for Foster’s internal staff and external clients on a global scale, as well as being a guest wine, food and sensory lecturer at the University of Adelaide—arguably one of Australia’s top wine training colleges, Johnson & Wales Universities in the USA, plus, most recently Harvard and Stanford universities. He has also worked as a guest Sommelier at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in London, the luxurious Palazzo Versace resort in Australia.

He has been involved in widespread sensory tasting, winemaking, testing and training with top winemakers from Foster’s in Australia & USA winemaking operations. He has passed the USA Professional Wine Judges and Sensory Evaluation course, graduating dux; He also recently has completed Enology and Viticulture 3 at the University of California, Davis.

Matt has won the exclusive international Vin de Champagne award twice, and was also named South Australian Sommelier of the Year for 2001.

As Foster’s Director of Wine Education for the Americas and Canada, Matt will raise the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the Foster’s Wine Estates global portfolio by providing extensive education and training to distributors, trade, media, and Foster’s staff throughout the Americas and Canada. Based in Napa, California, he works closely with the Sales and Public Relations departments to produce educational materials for use at a multitude of events and by the sales teams. After two years of development, Matt recently launched Foster’s on-line wine education program known as Wine Edge, which has quickly been noted by contemporaries as “one of the most authoritative and comprehensive Australian wine on-line course’s ever created.”

Matt, 36, has been in the industry for over fifteen years. He was born and raised in Australia and currently lives in Napa, California.

Michaela Rodena

St. Supery - Napa Valley

Michaela Rodeno, St. Supéry's dynamic CEO, is responsible for managing all the winery's activities, from strategic planning, grape growing and wine production, to finance, new product development and marketing and sales. As one of the leading women in the California wine industry and a passionate advocate of California wine issues, Michaela is often invited to speak at domestic and international conferences.

In 1973, six months after Michaela arrived in Napa, the Valley was abuzz with the news of Moët-Hennessey’s (now LVMH) plans to invest $8 million in building a new winery in the county… Domaine Chandon. “Moët-Hennessey was the first French company to invest in California and it sent a message to the industry that Napa Valley was an important wine region,” says Michaela. “With my fluent French and desire to learn more about wine, I knew that I had to get involved with this venture.” Through persistence and a mutual acquaintance, Michaela was introduced to John Wright, Domaine Chandon’s president who was impressed with her drive and willingness to learn and hired her to be his assistant and employee number two at the new winery. Michaela learned important lessons from him that inform her successful management style today.

Michaela's life is as wine-focused as her career. As co-founder of Women for WineSense, a national organization promoting wine as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, Michaela continues a long history of involvement in industry-wide issues. She is a founding director of the Wine Market Council, an initiative to create a national generic marketing campaign for wine, and she chaired the 1998 Napa Valley Wine Auction, the nation’s largest charity wine auction, which raised a record $3.8 million for local health care organizations.

Today, Michaela lives on her family’s 25-acre vineyard near the town of Oakville in the Napa Valley with her attorney husband Gregory; their daughter Kate (22) graduated from SDSU and son John (19) is a student at USD. The family also owns 40 acres in Pope Valley in the Napa Valley appellation. Although most of the family grapes are sold to Napa wineries, the Rodenos produce a tiny amount of Sangiovese (about 150 cases annually) under their Villa Ragazzi label.

Steve Thomson

King Estate - Oregon

A native of the Chicago area, Steve discovered an interest in wine while working in the restaurant business and pursuing a degree in business from the University of Illinois. During a 15 year restaurant career which took him from Illinois to Wisconsin and then Kansas City and St. Louis Missouri, he was the general manager of two Mobil 4 star restaurants, and a food and beverage director for a major hotel company, also directing the company’s corporate wine program.

Steve’s food and beverage career began to take an increasing shift toward wine, and the opportunity to work to help startup a top wine wholesale company came along. From 1991 to 1998 Steve worked for Griesedieck Imports in Missouri, first as a wine sales manager mentored by Doug Frost MW, MS, and then as General Sales Manager. Eventually Greisedieck Imports became part of the Glazer’s Family of Companies. In 1999 Steve had the opportunity to become the Southeast Regional Manager for King Estate which he had sold as a wholesaler since its inception. Relocating to Atlanta, he managed 19 state markets for the winery. In January of 2001, Steve was promoted to the position of Director of Sales.

As Director of Sales, Steve manages all domestic and international sales from the winery and in the field. He believes in focusing not just on cultivating new sales, but on developing and maintaining great relationships throughout the King Estate trade channel–from the wholesale distributor to retailer to consumer.

Francesco Zonin

Casa Vinicola Zonin - Castelo d’Albola, Tuscany

Zonin, a company of family owned vintners since 1821, is proud of its heritage and reputation for creating authentic Italian wines. With its close ties to the land for the past seven generations, the Zonin family heads the most important viticulture group in Italy and one of the leading private winemaking companies in Europe. The family owned vineyards produce wines that embody the unique personalities of the areas from which they originate. Almost two centuries after the first winery was founded, Zonin now owns and operates eleven vineyard estates in many of Italy’s most important vine growing regions.

Francesco Zonin is the second of the three sons of Giovanni Zonin, president of Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A. of Gambellara (Vi). He holds a degree in Economics and Commerce from the Universita’ Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan. Francesco lived in the United States from 1999 to 2002 where he actively followed the commercial networks of American distributors charged with the sale of Zonin wines from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts. As well, he followed the development of Zonin’s American vineyard, Barboursville Vineyards, located in Virginia.

In these three years he worked in close contact with the marketing, communication and distribution sectors of viticulture as it changed profoundly in the new millennium that brought with it a rapid acceleration of globalization. Today Francesco is the Vice President of Casa Vinicola Zonin S.p.A. working closely with commercial activities both at home and abroad. He resides in Vicenza.

Vintners 2006

Justin Baldwin

Justin Vineyards & Winery - Paso Robles, CA

In 1981, Justin and Deborah Baldwin purchased 160 acres west of Paso Robles on California's Central Coast and planted their estate vineyards. Justin brings to JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery his business savvy as a former investment and international banker.

Since its inception, Justin focused his efforts on producing world-class Bordeaux style blends from the estate vineyards for the JUSTIN label. Justin is a pioneer in producing this style of wine on the Central Coast and his efforts have been rewarded with past and present vintages earning 90+ points by the major wine trade publications. More encompassing recognition has come from awards such as the Grand Sweepstakes award winner, Best of class, Best of Region, the coveted Pichon Lalande trophy for "World's Best Blended Red Wine" and Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of the World.

Vintages have received numerous accolades by capturing Decanter Magazine's "4 Stars", Restaurant Wine's "3 Forks" and Connoisseurs Guide's " 3 Puffs". Justin has consistently earned the praise of the wine press with recognition from the likes of Robert M. Parker Jr. naming Justin Baldwin one of his "Wine Heroes of the Year" and the "Star of Paso Robles"; the James Beard Foundations "Great American Winemaker Award"; Quarterly Review of Wine's "Top 3 Cabernet Producers of the Year"; and Wine Enthusiast's "Top Cabernet and Blended Wine Producers List" for seven years running.

Justin is an active participant in the wine world. He is a frequent panelist at prominent food and wine events worldwide, is a two term board member of the Family Winemaker of California, part board member and committee chair of the Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association, co-found of the West Side Grand Crew and the Far out Wineries of Paso Robles. For their contribution he and his wife have been named the Paso Robles Wine Industry persons of the year.

Beyond winemaking, the Baldwins have found that Food and JUSTIN wines go together. In fact, JUSTIN is the only winery on California's Central Coast to retain a full-time chef whose kitchen works daily to pair acclaimed JUSTIN wines with fresh seasonal and vineyard grown offerings.

The Baldwin family lives on the vineyard and includes Justin and wife Deborah; their two children, three dogs and two horses. In addition to the vineyards, winery, and tasting room, they own and operate the highly acclaimed country inn, The JUST Inn, and its intimate gourmet restaurant, Deborah's Room, also on the property.

Rolando Beremendi

William Grant Italian Portfolio - Italy

Since 1999, Rolando Beramendi has served as Brand Manager for a group of prestigious Italian wineries, currently imported by William Grant & Sons, Inc. Acting as the liaison between the wineries and their U.S. importer, he travels extensively throughout the U.S., conducting educational seminars for distributor sales personnel as well as consumers.

After graduating from UC Davis in 1987 with a degree in Agricultural Economics, Rolando moved to Florence where he worked for 2 large Tuscan wineries before becoming the Brand Manager for Castello di Fonterutoli in 1995. Since then, he has become involved with a number of other fine producers and now oversees the brand management of Castello di Brolio and Barone Ricasoli, Poliziano and Tenuta di Belgvardo, Casanova di Neri and Marco Negri, along with Castello di Fonterutoli.

Rolando plays two significant roles for all these wineries in the US: first, in helping in the communication and management of the brands; and second, in helping people around this country understand the wonders of Italian winemaking. Equally at home in America and Italy, he helps salesmen, retailers, and restaurateurs achieve a new degree of comfort and ease—with the wines, the winemakers, and the culture itself. Rolando is also an avid chef who enjoys the harmony of a nice meal accompanied with the perfect bottle of wine. Italian wine of course!

Emilia Nardi

Tenuta Silvio Nardi - Tuscany, Italy

Emilia Nardi heralds from a rich “familial” vine of agricultural excellence. Today Tenute Silvio Nardi is famed for its production of Brunello di Montalcino wine. But the winery had humble beginnings dating back to the late 19th century. In 1895, Francesco Nardi, Emilia’s grandfather, helped transform Italian agriculture with the development of a new plow, the first of many highly successful machines developed by his business, Nardi Francesco e Figli. At that time, Montalcino was no more than a tranquil Tuscan country village of a few houses, shops and vineyards.

Half a century later Silvio Nardi, Francesco Nardi's son, purchased the Casale del Bosco estate and produced his first bottles of Brunello di Montalcino. Soon the Casale del Bosco was recognized as being among Italy's most innovative farms. Silvio Nardi pursued his belief in the importance of specific terroir, and as the area’s winemaking techniques progressed, Brunello di Montalcino soon gained in prestige.

This extraordinary wine is known for its dark, purple-red color which is characterized by rich concentration, elevated acidity and enormous tannic extract. Generally considered to be young at 10 years in an average vintage, the wine’s proponents contend that the best vintages can easily surpass a century and still remain in their prime. In 1980, Brunello di Montalcino became the first Italian wine to receive Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita status.

In 1991, a new generation of inspiration at Tenute Silvio Nardi began with Emilia Nardi, who continued her father's philosophy with knowledge, understanding, enthusiasm and committed dedication. In the exceptional 1995 vintage she first produced Manachiara, a "cru" created from a specially-vinified selection of the finest grapes from a designated vineyard within the estate properties. The principal vineyards of Tenute Silvio Nardi are located on the original estate of Casale del Bosco, a property of 2,022 acres in the northwest part of Montalcino overlooking the Val d'Orcia. The winery’s additional estates encompass ancient vines. In 2001, the estates’ production was approximately 23,000 cases; it is expected to increase to 33,000 cases by 2015.

Eli Parker

Fess Parker Winery - Los Olivos, CA

The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard is a family-run vineyard, established in 1989 by former actor Fess Parker in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country. The winery focuses on producing diverse, Estate Grown, Burgundian and Rhône wines from 600 acres of vineyards.

The adventure began in December 1987, when the Fess Parker family purchased a piece of ranch property in Santa Barbara County’s Foxen Canyon, already the home of several outstanding wineries. For Eli Parker, the family’s foray into the wine business would prove to be an important turning point in his professional life. What began as a curious infatuation would later become a lifelong vocation as his innate winemaking talent was revealed.

After studying the faming side of winemaking and working in the cellar at Byron Winery, Eli enrolled in several extension courses at U.C. Davis. His hands-on approach was augmented by a three-year apprenticeship with the critically acclaimed winemaker Jed Steele. Eli first harvest at the helm was in 1996 and shortly thereafter he assumed the responsibilities of President of the winery.

Under Eli’s leadership the winery has received critical accolades, such as the Boston Globe’s declaring his debut wine, the 1993 Santa Barbara County Syrah, as “one of the five best Syrahs in the world.” While Eli may have a special affinity for Rhône wines, his Burgundian varietals fare equally as well with the critics. Recently, the winery’s vineyard holdings have expanded, and his decision-making has been instrumental in preserving quality as the Fess Parker brand grows.

Eli and his wife Laureen (married at the winery in 1995) have five daughters between them and together they have two sons. They live just down the road from the winery and needless to say, their lives revolve around the world of wine!

Clarke Swanson

Swanson Vineyards - Oakville, CA

Before embarking on a career in the wine business, Clarke Swanson established his experience in the general business worlds. After receiving a Bachelors Degree in History and Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University, his career included work in the fields of banking, radio broadcasting, cable television, and community newspapers.

Swanson Vineyards began in 1985, when the Swanson family (wife Elizabeth and three daughters) relocated to Napa Valley from Naples, FL. Today the winery produces a variety of wines in the legendary Napa Valley regions; current releases include a 2004 Rosato, 2004 Pinot Grigio, 2002 Alexis and 2002 Merlot.

In addition to his dedication to wine-making, Clarke Swanson is involved in a variety of professional and civic organizations. He is a Director of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, Director and former Chairman of the Oakville Winegrowers Association, a Director and Vice President of the Friends of Lincoln Theater Performing Arts Center (Napa Valley), and a Director of University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation.

Michael Weiss

Boutique Bottlings - C.I.A., Hyde Park, NY

John Williams

Frog’s Leap Winery - Rutherford, CA

John Williams’ route to winemaking began as with a connection to the lands as a dairy farmer in upstate New York. After attending Cornell University, a fortuitous work-study program at Taylor Wine Company compelled Williams to attend UC Davis’ Enology and Viticulture Masters Program.

Diploma in hand, he returned to New York’s famously scenic Finger Lakes region as the start-up winemaker at Glenora Wine Cellars. Taking inspiration from his first Napa Valley winemaking post at Stag's Leap, he began making wine commercially in 1981 under the name Frog's Leap.

Frog's Leap is set among 130 acres of vineyards at the historic Red Barn, a grand building erected in 1884 as the Adamson Winery. The winery uses the best of Napa Valley's organically grown grapes, and the most traditional winemaking techniques, to produce wines that deeply reflect the soils and climate.

As visitors to the company’s whimsical web site can attest, Frog's Leap presents a decidedly relaxed approach to enjoying wine. An easy hospitality and warm sense of humor is paired with a more serious sensibility when making wine.

Frog's Leap nearly 50,000 cases of hand-crafted wine annually, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Leapfrögmilch, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford and Zinfandel.

Paul Zuniga

Bodegas Ramon Bilbao - Rioja, Spain

Vintners 2005

Dennis Cakebread

Cakebread Cellars - Rutherford, CA

Cakebread Cellars' winemaker, Julianne Laks, has sniffed, smelled and tasted her way through more wines than she can count during her 25 plus-year career in the wine industry. Fortunately for us, the last 20 of those years have been at Cakebread Cellars, first as an enologist and later as assistant winemaker under head winemaker, Bruce Cakebread. Julianne was promoted to winemaker when Bruce Cakebread, took the reins from his father as president of the winery in 2002.

Julianne's winemaking skill, artistic passion and intimate understanding of our vineyards are just a few of the reasons Julianne was chosen to follow in Bruce's footsteps. Her promotion marked a milestone for Cakebread Cellars; she is the third winemaker in Cakebread Cellars' history, and is the first non-family member to hold the position. Her favorite part of the job, she says, is harvest. "Because I've worked with these vineyards for such a long time, it's like seeing old friends when the grapes come in. My job is to give them the best possible reception when they arrive at the winery."

We have organized this section by variety and vintage. The descriptions are what we taste at the release of the wine. If you are looking at an older vintage, keep in mind that as the wine ages it will develop bottle bouquet and the flavors will change.

Giovanni Folonari

Tenute A&G Folonari - Chianti, Italy

Giovanni Folonari, Managing Director of Tenute A & G Folonari, attended grammar and high school in Florence and later pursued academic studies with a degree in fermentation and oenology from the University of California, Davis in 1998. After a six-month apprenticeship with a California winery where he focused on research and micro-vinification, and his army service, he joined the family firm as vineyard and production manager in 1991.

Oenology has always been an integral part of his life, working summers and vacations in all aspects of viniculture — vineyards, cellars, and lab, working his way up to assistant cellar master. He now lives at the Cabreo Fattoria di Zano with his wife and children.

W. Reed Foster

Ravenswood Winery - Sonoma, CA

Joel Peterson grew up on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay during the Dark Ages when California wine was judged by the type of jug it was bottled in. However, Joel's farsighted father Walter bucked the status quo by starting the San Francisco Wine Sampling Club, which studied fine wines from all over the world. Walter allowed his son to join the group's twice-weekly tastings when Joel was nine years old, carefully measuring the wine in the boy's glass — then his spittoon — to make sure everything was expectorated.

By the time he was a teenager, Joel thus had a working knowledge of European vineyards and vintages, along with a collection of headstrong opinions about what made good wine. After graduating from Oregon State University, he followed in the professional footsteps of his parents (both of whom were chemists), going to work as a laboratory scientist. On the side, he made money through wine writing and consulting, gaining a local reputation as a gifted taster (and tasteless punster).

Eventually it dawned on Joel that he had the background (not to mention the prejudices) to be an actual winemaker. Hence, he apprenticed with Joseph Swan — one of California's outstanding craftsmen of fine Zinfandel — to learn the art of traditional winemaking as practiced in Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1976 Joel founded Ravenswood in partnership with fellow wine lover Reed Foster (a Harvard MBA gone astray) and over the next half-dozen years, their fledgling operation moved from the rear corner of one willing winery to another. When Ravenswood finally turned a profit after a dozen years of operation, they settled on the northern edge of Sonoma, where the winery's tasting room is located.

Joel is now acknowledged as a leader in California wine — an articulate spokesman and stylistic trendsetter who helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon that it is today. If there were a California Winemaking Hall of Fame, he'd be a shoo-in for early induction — not just as a home-run hitter but as one of the most popular players in the majors. (It's said that even as a Little Leaguer he could handle the spitter with aplomb.)

John Gay

Rosemount Estates - Australia

Matthew Lane is the consummate wine ambassador. Having been involved in the wine industry since he was a high school student in Australia, Matt has many accomplishments under his belt at age 31. He is a two-time winner of the South Australian chapter of the exclusive Vin de Champagne award, and was named South Australian Sommelier of the year for 2001. He has also been a guest wine, food & sensory lecturer at the University of Adelaide, considered one of Australia’s top wine training colleges

At Southcorp, Matt provides wine education on a global staff for both company staff and clients. He provides a comprehensive education and training to distributors, trade and company staff throughout the Americas, sharing his talents for imparting the nuances and appreciation for the craft of winemaking. Matt has experience in extensive sensory tasting, winemaking, testing and training with Southcorp’s top winemakers, and has worked vintages in both Australia and France.

Additionally, Matt has passed the Australian Advanced Wine Judges and Sensory Evaluation courses, as well as the pre-entrance course for the Master of Wine program (Australian chapters).

Prior to Southcorp, Matt worked at Penfolds’ prestigious Magill Estate restaurant in Adelaide, Australia as Head Sommelier & Senior Wine Educator for over four years.

Matt’s previous work includes working as a guest Sommelier at Charlie Trotters in Chicago and the Lanesborough Hotel in London.

Matt currently lives in Napa, California.

Peter Huwiler

Merryvale Vineyards - Napa Valley CA

Merryvale Vineyards President and Chief Executive Officer Peter K. Huwiler brought his diverse skills and background to this family-owned Napa Valley winery in 1996.

A native of Switzerland, Huwiler earned an MBA at the University of Washington before owning a successful chain of restaurants in Seattle. He joined the wine industry at Stimson-Lane and eventually served as Director of National Accounts and International Sales at Kendall-Jackson Winery. In all, Huwiler’s wine industry experience spans over 20 years.

Working with Merryvale Proprietor Jack W. Schlatter and his son René Schlatter, accomplishments at Merryvale since 1996 include significant improvements in vineyard sources and wine quality, a dramatic increase in wine production and international market reach, the addition of acclaimed director of winemaking Stephen Test to the team in 1998, a complete label and packaging re-design, attention-getting advertising campaigns and a comprehensive upgrade of the winery’s content-rich website.

Merryvale currently produces over 100,000 cases of ultra-premium Napa Valley and Sonoma wines available throughout the US and dozens of countries in Europe and Asia. The winery has earned numerous awards and continues to gain critical acclaim for its outstanding wines and service.

John Lewis

Malvira, Cigliuti, Borgo Maragliano - Piemonte, Italy

High in the hills between Alba and Asti, the Galliano family grows one of the most interesting grapes found in the Piemonte, the Moscato. One of the region’s great gifts is Moscato d’Asti, a bubbly, slightly sweet, low-alcohol drink that is great with desert, after a big meal, or just by itself as the perfect antidote to a hot afternoon. Borgo Maragliano’s Moscato d’Asti, La Caliera, is one of the best you will find.

Their Loazzolo D.O.C. Late Harvest is rapidly becoming known as one of the finest examples of after dinner wines found anywhere, receiving 2 Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso for each of the past several vintages. It’s flavors enhanced by the concentrating effects of the “noble rot” of Botrytis cinerea, it has been described as a textbook example of what a moscato should be.

Aldo Rafanelli

Antinori Estates - Italy
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Aldo Rafanelli first began his career in wine as a vineyard consultant during the early 70's, in what was later dubbed the "Revolution" of Tuscan wine making. Piero Antinori was among the first of leading wine producers as they replanted their vineyards with modern and innovative techniques, utilizing new clones and varietals. A hobbyist wine and extra virgin olive oil maker, Aldo married a New Yorker, and the happy couple relocated to the U.S. Aldo started a new venture, selling Italian wines of high image and quality. Since 1987 in charge of the sale of Antinori for the U.S.A. and from 1993 for North America, Aldo travels extensively across the continent, always in search of a better place to eat. A fanatic outdoorsman, Aldo loves fishing, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing and camping (whenever possible). When indoors, his passion is cooking (possibly something that he hunted, fished or gathered himself). It’s not uncommon for his phone to ring, with friends and colleagues from all over calling to consult him on recipes for pasta and Tuscan cooking. Although he and his family (wife and two boys) are avid skiers, he never feels more at home than in a vineyard climate blessed with sun and warmth.

Michaela Rodeno

St. Supery Vineyards - Rutherford, CA

Michaela Rodeno, St. Supéry's dynamic CEO, is responsible for managing all the winery's activities, from strategic planning, grape growing and wine production, to finance, new product development and marketing and sales. As one of the leading women in the California wine industry and a passionate advocate of California wine issues, Michaela is often invited to speak at domestic and international conferences.

In 1973, six months after Michaela arrived in Napa, the Valley was abuzz with the news of Moët-Hennessey’s (now LVMH) plans to invest $8 million in building a new winery in the county… Domaine Chandon. “Moët-Hennessey was the first French company to invest in California and it sent a message to the industry that Napa Valley was an important wine region,” says Michaela. “With my fluent French and desire to learn more about wine, I knew that I had to get involved with this venture.” Through persistence and a mutual acquaintance, Michaela was introduced to John Wright, Domaine Chandon’s president who was impressed with her drive and willingness to learn and hired her to be his assistant and employee number two at the new winery. Michaela learned important lessons from him that inform her successful management style today.

Michaela's life is as wine-focused as her career. As co-founder of Women for WineSense, a national organization promoting wine as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, Michaela continues a long history of involvement in industry-wide issues. She is a founding director of the Wine Market Council, an initiative to create a national generic marketing campaign for wine, and she chaired the 1998 Napa Valley Wine Auction, the nation’s largest charity wine auction, which raised a record $3.8 million for local health care organizations.

Today, Michaela lives on her family’s 25-acre vineyard near the town of Oakville in the Napa Valley with her attorney husband Gregory; their daughter Kate (22) graduated from SDSU and son John (19) is a student at USD. The family also owns 40 acres in Pope Valley in the Napa Valley appellation. Although most of the family grapes are sold to Napa wineries, the Rodenos produce a tiny amount of Sangiovese (about 150 cases annually) under their Villa Ragazzi label.

Michael Weiss

Boutique Bottlings - C. I.A., Hyde Park, NY

Warren Winiarski

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars - Napa Valley, CA

Co-Recipient of the first annual Boca Bacchanal Award of Excellence

One could say that Warren Winiarski was meant to make wine—after all, his last name translates “son of a vintner” in Polish. As a child he recalls pressing his ear to the barrels in which his father was fermenting wine, listening to the mysterious sounds. Little did he know that one day, he would change the way the world regards California wines.

After obtaining a graduate degree at the University of Chicago and gaining an appreciation for wine at the casual dining table while living in Italy for a year, he and his wife Barbara began to ponder a way to live a more rural lifestyle, a place where they and their young children could grow and perhaps be involved in a family business. Fast forward to 1964, when the Winiarski family relocated to the scenic Napa Valley. Warren had a vision of creating a new wine from the fruit of an American vine, rather than the storied vineyards of Italy and France.

The Napa Valley was experiencing a winegrowing renaissance. Warren managed to secure an assistant position at Lee Stewart’s Souverain Cellars, working closely with the winemaker to learn the craft. A year later he planted a three-acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, and in what was to forecast his future success, Warren was the first to plant the varietal in an area that would later become known for its great Cabernets. After being invited as assistant winemaker at Robert Mondavi’s winery in 1966, the first new winery in the Valley since Prohibition, Warren began to search in earnest for the perfect terroir, a place to create his dream wine.

After a long search, he found just the place on the Eastern side of the Valley, by the rocky Stags Leap Palisade. Here, he and his wife, along with a group of partners, purchase the land that would become build Stags Leap Vineyard (S.L.V.). After planting to Cabernet and Merlot, in 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars opened its doors. Just three years later, the fruits of Warren’s labor would pay off.

In a world where the great vintages of Europe reigned supreme, few would have even dared to consider that California wines could compete. But at the now-famous 1976 Paris tasting, a panel of French experts chose Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon in a blind tasting of red wines, over some of the most highly regarded Grand Cru Bordeaux—leaving both the audience and judges awestruck! The event made news around the globe, and both Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the Napa Valley became internationally recognized.

Since that time, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has continued to produce wines that have won critical acclaim, including its white wines. It is best known for estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons including CASK 23, regarded among the finest Cabernets in the world. Warren, always dedicate to elevating the quality of wine, has lectured, authored articles, and been instrumental in encouraging a more sophisticated method of scoring California wines. In 2001 he served as president of the London-based International Wine & Spirit Competition, where he has sponsored the Cabernet Sauvignon trophy since 1986. Warren continues to teach, tutoring a week each summer with the St. John’s College Summer Classics program at the college’s Santa Fe campus.

And the values of preservation and philanthropy can clearly be seen in the work of Warren and his family, fighting for the creation of an Agricultural Preserve to prevent urban sprawl, which became law in 1968 in addition to more recent efforts. In 1998 Warren began a tradition of matching auction bids at the annual Napa Valley Wine Auction, and putting the funds towards philanthropic causes. Clearly, Warren has helped make California wines and the Napa Valley what they are today, and the consummate co-recipient of the first-ever Boca Bacchanal Award of Excellence.

Vintners 2004

Kathy Benziger

Benziger Family Winery - Glen Ellen,CA

You can’t begin to discuss the beginnings of Benziger Family Winery without delving into the family members themselves. The Benzigers — California’s largest wine family in one of California’s smallest appellations has created from the ground up a nationally acclaimed Sonoma winery. From the start, the vision was quite simple; grow grapes that produce wines of uncompromised character and quality inspired by Sonoma County’s unrivaled diversity.

The youngest of Bruno and Helen's seven children, Kathy first came to work at the winery when she was a high school freshman. She soon graduated to pruning, picking, bottling and working in the tasting room. Learning about the wine industry from the ground up, she decided to make her mark in the business end of the operation and earned a degree in management from Sonoma State University. Sales positions at ADP in New York and Hoffman Distributing in New Jersey prepared her for a move back East, where she became the Benziger eastern region sales manager. Kathy now lives in Colorado, where she is the central region sales manager for Benziger.

Rolando Beremendi

Barone Riscasoli - Italy

Since 1141, the Ricasoli family has owned Castello di Brolio Estate. The history of Brolio and the Ricasoli Barons extends into the distant 12th century when ownership of the land and castle was gifted to the Ricasoli family by the Republic of Florence. In the last 3 centuries, the Ricasoli have shaped the history of the Chianti Classico territory and its wines, while establishing themselves as top quality producers. In 1874, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, former Prime Minister of the Reign of Italy, defined the “formula” for the ideal wine on which the rules of the new Chianti Classico Appellation (DOCG) were eventually based in 1967.

A New Renaissance
In 1993, the Ricasoli family regained control of the winery, after twenty years of foreign ownership. For Barone Ricasoli this date represents the beginning of an era of renovation and research leading to a new splendor. In less than a decade more than 620 acres of vineyards have been replanted, with an investment of over $16 million dollars. The vinification cellars and hospitality structures have undergone major renovation, with an investment of additional $20 million dollars.

Norman & Rosa Lee DeLeuze

ZD Winery - Napa Valley, CA

Brett de Leuze, ZD Wines President & Partner, grew up in and around the wine business. He was only four years old when the winery was founded in 1969. His experience ranges from picking the grapes during the `70s, to bottling-line duties and assisting his brother Robert in the wine making of the`80s. Brett and ZD Wines have grown up together from their beginnings.

Through his youth and college, Brett’s main interest outside of the winery was soccer. He collected trophies attesting to his skill. In fact, soccer and helping build a business are not too dissimilar. They both require stamina, alertness, and they both have GOALS! With graduation in view, his attention was focused on obtaining a Business degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Following graduation from CSUS in 1988, Brett formed a team with his mom, Rosa Lee, who since 1969 had been managing all of ZD’s marketing and sales. For many years, Brett traveled throughout the United States sharing his family’s wines and experiences with restaurateurs, retailers and consumers. Over the years, Brett also visited wineries and vineyards in France, Italy and Germany, gaining a broader perspective with regard to the diversity of the wine business.

Today, Brett’s energy and excitement for the wine industry continue to help define ZD’s reputation as a family business dedicated to a sustainable approach to growing, producing and selling world-class wine. Brett and his wife Natalie, have three beautiful children, Connor (10), Kayla (7) and Alexandria (5) a third generation on the way.

John Gay

Penfolds - Australia

Matthew Lane comes to Foster’s Wine Estates Americas from the (formerly Southcorp Wines LTD) portfolio. Matt’s profession in wine blossomed at Penfolds’ 5 star prestigious Magill Estate restaurant in Adelaide, South Australia, where he served as Head Sommelier and Senior Wine Educator for over four years before relocating to the USA in early 2003. Prior the Magill Estate, Matt held positions with Hyatt international and other prestigious wine restaurants in Australia as their Head Sommelier & wine buyer.

Matt has comprehensive experience in training, development and education. He conducts wine education for Foster’s internal staff and external clients on a global scale, as well as being a guest wine, food and sensory lecturer at the University of Adelaide—arguably one of Australia’s top wine training colleges, Johnson & Wales Universities in the USA, plus, most recently Harvard and Stanford universities. He has also worked as a guest Sommelier at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, the exclusive Lanesborough Hotel in London, the luxurious Palazzo Versace resort in Australia.

He has been involved in widespread sensory tasting, winemaking, testing and training with top winemakers from Foster’s in Australia & USA winemaking operations. He has passed the USA Professional Wine Judges and Sensory Evaluation course, graduating dux; He also recently has completed Enology and Viticulture 3 at the University of California, Davis.

Matt has won the exclusive international Vin de Champagne award twice, and was also named South Australian Sommelier of the Year for 2001.

As Foster’s Director of Wine Education for the Americas and Canada, Matt will raise the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the Foster’s Wine Estates global portfolio by providing extensive education and training to distributors, trade, media, and Foster’s staff throughout the Americas and Canada. Based in Napa, California, he works closely with the Sales and Public Relations departments to produce educational materials for use at a multitude of events and by the sales teams. After two years of development, Matt recently launched Foster’s on-line wine education program known as Wine Edge, which has quickly been noted by contemporaries as “one of the most authoritative and comprehensive Australian wine on-line course’s ever created.”

Matt, 36, has been in the industry for over fifteen years. He was born and raised in Australia and currently lives in Napa, California.

Peter Huwiler

Merryvale Vineyards - Napa Valley, CA

Merryvale Vineyards President and Chief Executive Officer Peter K. Huwiler brought his diverse skills and background to this family-owned Napa Valley winery in 1996.

A native of Switzerland, Huwiler earned an MBA at the University of Washington before owning a successful chain of restaurants in Seattle. He joined the wine industry at Stimson-Lane and eventually served as Director of National Accounts and International Sales at Kendall-Jackson Winery. In all, Huwiler’s wine industry experience spans over 20 years.

Working with Merryvale Proprietor Jack W. Schlatter and his son René Schlatter, accomplishments at Merryvale since 1996 include significant improvements in vineyard sources and wine quality, a dramatic increase in wine production and international market reach, the addition of acclaimed director of winemaking Stephen Test to the team in 1998, a complete label and packaging re-design, attention-getting advertising campaigns and a comprehensive upgrade of the winery’s content-rich website.

Merryvale currently produces over 100,000 cases of ultra-premium Napa Valley and Sonoma wines available throughout the US and dozens of countries in Europe and Asia. The winery has earned numerous awards and continues to gain critical acclaim for its outstanding wines and service.

John Lewis

Malvira, Cigliuti, Borgo Maragliano - Wines of the Piedmont, Italy

High in the hills between Alba and Asti, the Galliano family grows one of the most interesting grapes found in the Piemonte, the Moscato. One of the region’s great gifts is Moscato d’Asti, a bubbly, slightly sweet, low-alcohol drink that is great with desert, after a big meal, or just by itself as the perfect antidote to a hot afternoon. Borgo Maragliano’s Moscato d’Asti, La Caliera, is one of the best you will find.

Their Loazzolo D.O.C. Late Harvest is rapidly becoming known as one of the finest examples of after dinner wines found anywhere, receiving 2 Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso for each of the past several vintages. It’s flavors enhanced by the concentrating effects of the “noble rot” of Botrytis cinerea, it has been described as a textbook example of what a moscato should be.

Olivier Masmondet

Maison Louis Jadot - France

Marc Dupin grew up in the Paris area close to Versailles and rather far from vines.

During his business degree his first contact with wines was in the mid 80s. Pursuing his interests for languages, sales and export markets, he worked as export director in the wine business before joining Maison Louis Jadot in 1992 where he supervises sales in approximately 53 countries as their Export Director.

From the start, Maison Louis Jadot has always accorded equal importance to each of Burgundy's appellations, from Grand Crus right through to regional wines. Their aim is to express the true nature of Burgundy through their wines, a terroir that can be both proud of its past and optimistic about its future.

All the wines made under the Maison Louis Jadot label are Appellation Contrôlée wines from across the region. The vineyards of Maison Louis Jadot are now scattered across 154 hectares of Burgundy, from the Côte d'Or to the Mâconnais and down into Beaujolais. Thanks to the quality of their wines they have forged strong links, both in France and around the world, with sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine merchants, importers, agents and wine lovers.

Jeffery Patterson

Mt. Eden Vineyards - Napa, CA

A native Californian, Jeffrey Patterson graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1975 with a degree in biology. While in Berkeley, he witnessed and participated in the emergence of northern California’s fine wine and food culture. An enthusiastic wine drinker and collector, Jeffrey decided to pursue a career in the wine business and, in 1979, enrolled in the U.C. Davis viticulture and enology program, where he studied for two years.

In 1981, Patterson became assistant winemaker at Mount Eden Vineyards. He had visited the Santa Cruz Mountain winery in 1978 and believed Mount Eden, with its long history of fine wine production, would an ideal place to practice his craft.

Jeffrey and his wife Ellie, a U.C. Berkeley history graduate, ornamental horticulturist, and textile artist, thus left Berkeley to begin a new life 2,000 feet above the Santa Clara Valley. A little over a year after his arrival, Patterson was promoted to head winemaker and general manager, and Ellie became the winery’s business manager. In 1986, they became significant shareholders in the company and, in 1993, Jeffrey became the winery's president.

Today, with over 20 years’ experience at California’s original boutique winery, Jeffrey and Ellie Patterson live with their two children in the house Martin Ray built on Mount Eden in the early 1950s, surrounded by the winery’s historic estate vineyard and a panoramic view of the now-famous Silicon Valley. In their spare time, Jeffrey enjoys cooking for friends.

Tom Selfridge

Chalone Wine Estates - Napa Valley CA

Chris Silva

St. Francis Winery - Rutherford, CA

The way Christopher Silva sees it, wine has always played a big part in the quality of his life. A fifth-generation native of Sonoma County, Chris grew up with all the benefits that are the birthright of the residents of an agricultural region.

As the Chief Executive Officer of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards, Chris sometimes finds himself driven by a motivating factor: "Selfishness," he says with a chuckle. "As long as agriculture succeeds here, we'll have open space and vineyards –– rather than factories and complexes –– along the highway. That 's the quality of life I had growing up here, and it's the way I want it to be for my two children."

But it has taken this wine lover until his early 30s to actually make the product he loves the focus of his work. In his 20s, he developed a host of skills that he puts to use every day in his role as St. Francis Winery operations manager and spokesperson.

After graduating from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, California, Chris attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He went on to graduate from Loyola Law School and practiced in Los Angeles for several years. In 1992, he moved back to Sonoma to represent wineries as an attorney. "I always wanted to get wine into my professional life," he says, "and this was a way to do it."

Chris didn't officially became a part of St. Francis until 1998, when he left the law to become their Chief Operating Officer, but –– as it turns out –– his family has a long history with the winery. Both his younger brother and aunt worked there over the years, and in the 1930s, Silva's grandfather, who owned a local dairy ranch, sold his extra milk barrels to Mr. Pagani, the producer of a renowned local Zinfandel on the very grounds now occupied by St. Francis. The economics of this arrangement amuse Silva today: "Mr. Pagani would age the Zinfandel in the barrels and sell them back to my grandfather at the full price of $1 per barrel.”

In 2003, Christopher became the Chief Executive Officer.

Vintners 2003

Kathy Benziger

Benziger Family Winery - Glen Ellen,CA

You can’t begin to discuss the beginnings of Benziger Family Winery without delving into the family members themselves. The Benzigers — California’s largest wine family in one of California’s smallest appellations has created from the ground up a nationally acclaimed Sonoma winery. From the start, the vision was quite simple; grow grapes that produce wines of uncompromised character and quality inspired by Sonoma County’s unrivaled diversity.

The youngest of Bruno and Helen's seven children, Kathy first came to work at the winery when she was a high school freshman. She soon graduated to pruning, picking, bottling and working in the tasting room. Learning about the wine industry from the ground up, she decided to make her mark in the business end of the operation and earned a degree in management from Sonoma State University. Sales positions at ADP in New York and Hoffman Distributing in New Jersey prepared her for a move back East, where she became the Benziger eastern region sales manager. Kathy now lives in Colorado, where she is the central region sales manager for Benziger.

Lucca Corrado

Vietti - Castiglione Falletto, Italy

Norman & Rosa Lee DeLeuze

ZD Winery - Napa Valley, CA

Brett de Leuze, ZD Wines President & Partner, grew up in and around the wine business. He was only four years old when the winery was founded in 1969. His experience ranges from picking the grapes during the `70s, to bottling-line duties and assisting his brother Robert in the wine making of the`80s. Brett and ZD Wines have grown up together from their beginnings.

Through his youth and college, Brett’s main interest outside of the winery was soccer. He collected trophies attesting to his skill. In fact, soccer and helping build a business are not too dissimilar. They both require stamina, alertness, and they both have GOALS! With graduation in view, his attention was focused on obtaining a Business degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Following graduation from CSUS in 1988, Brett formed a team with his mom, Rosa Lee, who since 1969 had been managing all of ZD’s marketing and sales. For many years, Brett traveled throughout the United States sharing his family’s wines and experiences with restaurateurs, retailers and consumers. Over the years, Brett also visited wineries and vineyards in France, Italy and Germany, gaining a broader perspective with regard to the diversity of the wine business.

Today, Brett’s energy and excitement for the wine industry continue to help define ZD’s reputation as a family business dedicated to a sustainable approach to growing, producing and selling world-class wine. Brett and his wife Natalie, have three beautiful children, Connor (10), Kayla (7) and Alexandria (5) a third generation on the way.

Jerome Jeandin

Champagne Taittinger - Riems, France

David Lake

Columbia Winery - Woodinville, WA

Olivier Masmondet

Maison Louis Jadot - France

Marc Dupin grew up in the Paris area close to Versailles and rather far from vines.

During his business degree his first contact with wines was in the mid 80s. Pursuing his interests for languages, sales and export markets, he worked as export director in the wine business before joining Maison Louis Jadot in 1992 where he supervises sales in approximately 53 countries as their Export Director.

From the start, Maison Louis Jadot has always accorded equal importance to each of Burgundy's appellations, from Grand Crus right through to regional wines. Their aim is to express the true nature of Burgundy through their wines, a terroir that can be both proud of its past and optimistic about its future.

All the wines made under the Maison Louis Jadot label are Appellation Contrôlée wines from across the region. The vineyards of Maison Louis Jadot are now scattered across 154 hectares of Burgundy, from the Côte d'Or to the Mâconnais and down into Beaujolais. Thanks to the quality of their wines they have forged strong links, both in France and around the world, with sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine merchants, importers, agents and wine lovers.

Roberto Alfonso Pena

Bodegas Faustino - Rioja, Spain

Mrs. Lourdes Martínez is one of the 4th Generation members of the Martínez Family, Grupo Faustino wineries´ owners. She works at the company since her early years and she has been learning for running the family business since she was very young.

She was born in Oyón, on the 31rd of December 1966. She studied a Degree in Computing at the Deusto University in Bilbao (Spain). After that she did a MBA at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid and a Master on Finances at the Deusto University in Bilbao.

After she completed her studies she began to work at Bodegas Faustino Martínez, SA as Assistant to the Management Directorship. In 1992 is the Financial Chief Executive of Bodegas Faustino Martínez, SA and is one of the Member of the Managing Committee and Manager Director for the same company.

Since 1999 is the Managing Director of the Faustino Group.

She also is, from January 2005, Manager Director for FCC SA and member of the Strategical Commiteee for the same company.

She is married and has got two daughters.

Tom Selfridge

Chalone Wine Estates - Napa, CA

Jed Steele

Steele Wines - Kelseyville, CA

Clarke Swanson

Swanson Vineyards - Rutherford, CA

Before embarking on a career in the wine business, Clarke Swanson established his experience in the general business worlds. After receiving a Bachelors Degree in History and Political Science from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University, his career included work in the fields of banking, radio broadcasting, cable television, and community newspapers.

Swanson Vineyards began in 1985, when the Swanson family (wife Elizabeth and three daughters) relocated to Napa Valley from Naples, FL. Today the winery produces a variety of wines in the legendary Napa Valley regions; current releases include a 2004 Rosato, 2004 Pinot Grigio, 2002 Alexis and 2002 Merlot.

In addition to his dedication to wine-making, Clarke Swanson is involved in a variety of professional and civic organizations. He is a Director of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, Director and former Chairman of the Oakville Winegrowers Association, a Director and Vice President of the Friends of Lincoln Theater Performing Arts Center (Napa Valley), and a Director of University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation.

Nick Withers

Barossa Valley Estates - Australia
To see a list of vintners and chefs who have participated in Boca Bacchanal over the years, click  Hall of Fame