Wine

Hosts

HOST YEAR
2018
Mar 22, 2018
Paul & Merrill Bonarrigo
Owners, Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Bryan, TX

Messina Hof is the most awarded and renowned Texas wine in national and international competitions. In a community steeped in tradition, Messina Hof Winery & Resort holds its own with a 200-year history of award-winning wines. Although the winery itself was officially established when with the first vintage release in 1983, the rich wine heritage of Winemaker Paul Bonarrigo dates back six generations to Messina, Sicily. Merrill Bonarrigo’s family originates from Hof, Germany. Together they have pioneered the Texas wine industry in creating premium wines of distinction and a landmark wine country destination.
Mar 22, 2018
Sabrine Rodems
Winemaker, Wrath Wines, Soledad, CA
Wrath wines have received notable acclaim from Robert Parker, Wine Spectator and other respected wine reviewers, due to Sabrine’s winemaking talent. Back in June 2004, after graduating from UC Davis, Sabrine joined San Saba Vineyard. She successfully guided the winery through its transition from San Saba to Wrath when current owner, Michael Thomas, bought the winery in 2007. Wrath wines are made with an enormous amount of care and a large experimental streak. It’s that spirit of experimentation that makes these wines exciting. Join Sabrine on this voyage down the Seine, visiting the beautiful historic villages and seaports that inspired Monet, Cezanne and Renoir.
Mar 23, 2018
Rob Griffin

When Rob Griffin arrived in Washington in 1977 the state’s wine industry consisted of less than 10 producers. Nearly 40 years later, that number approaches 800 wineries. Washington state is now second only to California in the USA wine and grape production. Rob has more years of production experience in country than any other Washington winemaker and, along with his wife Deborah Barnard, has guided Barnard Griffin Winery to be one of the largest and most respected family-owned producers in the state.
Mar 23, 2018
Martin & Megan Clubb
Martin Clubb is managing winemaker and co-owner with his wife Megan of L’Ecole N° 41. This third generation, family-owned winery is located in the old Frenchtown Schoolhouse depicted on their label. Founded in 1983, L’Ecole was the third winery in the Walla Walla Valley. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named L’Ecole a “Winery of the Year” for 14 consecutive years. L’Ecole is a partner in the highly acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard as well as the nearby 2,700 acre vineyard development – SeVein – home to L’Ecole’s newest estate vineyard named Ferguson. The first vintage of wine from this vineyard, 2011 Estate Ferguson, was named best Bordeaux blend in the world over £15 at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in 2014. The 2013 Estate Ferguson was named Best New World Bordeaux Blend at Six Nations Wine Challenge in 2016.
Mar 24, 2018
Axel & Kristine Schug
Schug Carneros Estate sits perched on a Sonoma County hilltop. Close to San Francisco Bay, the Carneros area of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys is cooled by ocean breezes, ideal for growing the pinot noir and chardonnay grapes so loved by 3 generations of Schug family winemakers. From 1921 to 1959 Ewald Schug was Director and General Manager of the Staatsweingut in Assmannshausen, near the Rhine port of Rudesheim. Son Walter Schug grew up in the winery, apprenticed with 9 different German wineries, then immigrated to California. After jobs with Gallo and as winemaker for Joseph Phelps, Walter started his own label dedicated to pinot noir. Today grandson Axel Schug oversees production and distribution of 40,000+ cases of six varietals. Axel’s wife Kristine Schug is the winery’s chef and culinary director, specializing in global haute cuisine to pair with Schug wines. Join Axel, Kristine and family on this voyage up the Rhine, through their ancestral homeland.
Mar 26, 2018
Steve Chapin
Owner & Winemaker Chapin Family Vineyards Temecula, CA.
Located in the prime winegrowing area of Temecula, California, the Chapin Family Vineyards adventure started with an initial planting of five acres in 2002 with varietals of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot. A few years later, the vineyard was expanded into another six acre parcel with planted varietals of Voignier, Aglianico and Montepulciano. Each and every year since 2004, Steve Chapin, owner and winemaker has made more wine and sold less grapes to other wineries. Since 2012, 100% of the grapes harvested on the property have been utilized for production of Chapin Family Vineyards wines. The journey continues today with eight different wines being sold in the tasting room by knowledgeable sales associates. “I want our winery friends to feel like they had a great time and felt welcomed in the quiet ambiance of the tasting room and patio area, a mini-vacation of sorts.” This is why on every Chapin bottle of wine reads “For the Love of Friendship”.
Mar 29, 2018
Sally & Fred Schweiger
Co-Founders & Vintner, Schweiger Vineyards & Winery, St Helena, CA

Born and raised on one of the very last farms in San Francisco, Fred Schweiger purchased the Spring Mountain acreage in 1961 at the age of 19. In 1979 Fred and his wife, Sally, began a long-held dream: to clear and plant the family owned Spring Mountain property into vineyard. The Schweiger Estate was designed and developed by Fred and Sally with the help of family, with their first official harvest in 1984. Today the Schweigers are proud to be the longest property owners in the esteemed Spring Mountain AVA in the legendary Napa Valley, with ownership spanning four generations to live and work on the family Estate. Their UC Davis-educated son Andy Schweiger serves as winemaker, crafting fine Bordeaux varietals, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon, and their signature blend, Dedication. Fred & Sally look forward to joining you, sharing their wines and researching some of the wines of the Rhine, while they also tell of their story and have fun!
Mar 29, 2018
Jeff & Diane Cranor
Owners, Nottingham Cellars, Livermore, CA
Nottingham Cellars is passionate about and dedicated to producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties and blends from the Livermore Valley. Our mission is simple – produce premier wines by partnering with vineyards that have tailored farming regimens that best express their site. Our efforts to achieve excellence have no end in sight.
Rhonda Wood
Owner & Winemaker, Wood Family Vineyards, Livermore, CA
Wood Family Vineyards is a family run winery located in the eastern foothills of Livermore Valley specializing in limited production handcrafted wines. Rhonda started making wine in 1996 – after they purchased the Merlot vineyard where she and Michael built their home. Together, their passion for wine and belief that winemaking begins in the vineyard led them to Livermore Valley. They are tireless champions about the quality of Livermore Valley soils and their commitment to Valley grown grapes.
Mar 30, 2018
Paul Maroon
Owner & Vintner, Maroon Wines, Napa, CA

Paul Maroon, owner and vintner for Maroon Wines became interested in winemaking over 40 years ago while as a young man helping his uncle make wine in Pennsylvania. In the back of his mind he always knew that for him Napa Valley was the place to be. Paul visited as often as possible throughout the years and finally in 2000 realized his dream and relocated to the Napa Valley. Here he began his life as a vintner. For ten years Paul had a lucrative contract with Joseph Phelps to sell them the Cabernet Sauvignon from his Coombsville vineyard. These grapes were used in their Insignia blend. Before the contract ended, Paul made under two barrels of wine for himself and realized the quality of fruit his vineyard could achieve as a single varietal, single vineyard wine and as a result, his first commercial vintage of Maroon Wines came two years later in 2008 and Paul has been growing grapes and making fine wines ever since. He married his beautiful wife, Reneé in September of 2013.
Mar 31, 2018
Paula Williamson
Paula Williamson is one of the first women in Texas who is the winery owner and winemaker. She started planting her vineyard in 1994 and opened the winery to the public in 2001. Paula is a fan of fruit forward wines, whether the wines are sweet, semi-dry, dry or ports. She is a believer in wines for enjoying now as opposed to cellaring. Most recently, Paula has been instrumental in working with grape growers in South Texas in their bid to be recognized as a Federal Appellation having won 15 awards using Blanc du Bois and Lenoir grapes from the Rio Grande Valley in some of her wines. Paula is a proud native Texan and that heritage is reflected in her saloon-style tasting room, her western wine labels, the western stories she writes on the back labels, and the picturesque Longhorns roaming the winery property located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Paula transitioned from practicing law for 25 years in San Antonio, Texas to devote her full time to this passion, having retired from her own law firm in 2006.
Apr 1, 2018
Anthony Bell
Partner and Winemaker, Bell Wine Cellars, Napa Valley, CA

Situated off the beaten path, just south of Yountville, is an exquisite pale stone winery, shrouded by oak, bordered to the south by Hopper Slough, surrounded by vineyard and cloaked in quiet. After looking for twenty years, winemaker Anthony Bell found the perfect place to produce the wines he had long dreamed of - limited production, hand crafted wines that showcase the concept of "terroir". In 1998, Bell Wine Cellars opened its doors to the public to share the beauty of the place, and the wine. In June 2002 – Ron Berberian, former California wine wholesaler, and the Alex Spanos Family, owners of A. G. Spanos Company, a Stockton-based company that builds, markets and manages multi-housing units, and owners of the San Diego Chargers, acquired the real estate interests and joined Anthony as partners in the winery.
Apr 2, 2018
Elizabeth DeLouise-Gant
Head Winemaker, Conn Creek Winery, St Helena, CA
Founded in 1973, Conn Creek is a boutique winery located on the scenic Silverado Trail in the Rutherford district of Napa Valley. Conn Creek sources fruit from prized vineyards in nearly all of the Napa Valley's renowned sub-appellations, giving our winemaker an extraordinary palette from which to blend each wine. Elizabeth DeLouise-Gant joined Conn Creek as Head Winemaker in 2017. Prior to joining Conn Creek, Elizabeth was the Assistant Winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Previous roles include working a harvest with Tamber Bey Vineyards in Calistoga, and Assistant Winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard where she was responsible for overseeing production operations for the Georges de Latour Private Reserve Winery. Elizabeth graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. She was raised in Napa Valley and gained her first taste of the wine industry helping out in her parent’s vineyard. Her passion for wine led her to apply her Biology background to the science of winemaking. She completed the Winemaking Certificate Program at U.C. Davis.
Apr 5, 2018
Paul Wagner
Wine Educator, Lecturer, Author

Paul Wagner has been a college instructor in Napa Valley for the past seventeen years, is a regular columnist for wine publications, and serves as the president of Balzac Communications and Marketing. He is also a highly regarded guest lecturer at universities throughout the world on wine and wine-related business, communications and marketing. He co-authored Wine Marketing & Sales: Success Strategies for a Saturated Market and was honored in 2009 with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino in Spain.
Steven Kent Mirassou
Owner and Winemaker – Steven Kent Winery, Livermore, CA

Steven’s career in wine began at age 13 on the bottling lines and in the warehouses of his family’s historic winery in San Jose, CA. In 1996, The Steven Kent Winery was born and had one mission in mind: to make Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties in the Livermore Valley that rival the greatest red wines in the world. Many of his wines have received recognition and accolades for quality.
Apr 5, 2018
Bion Rice
Owner & Winemaker Sunstone Vineyard & Winery Santa Ynez, CA and Artiste Winery Los Olivos, CA
Bion found his passion for winemaking after the Rice family opened Sunstone Vineyards & Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1994. During multiple harvests and training under Daniel Gehrs, who taught him how to blend wines to achieve balance, grace, and power, Bion’s obsession for blending wines began. With a heightened appreciation for art and the art of blending wine, Bion’s palate and eagerness to be more creative led him to the formation of his separate wine label – Artiste in 2002. Along with soccer, school and prepping for college – his children, Miles (13) and Mason (11) assist with harvest and the blending of two wines named after them – “Milestone” and “Mason Cuvee”. His wife, Anna, leads the creative efforts for both Sunstone and Artiste, in addition to the daily life of the Rice family! Keeping it a family owned business, Bion is CEO and Winemaker for both wineries.
Apr 5, 2018
Debra Eagle
Estate Director, Br Cohn Winery Sonoma, CA
Debra Eagle has been sharing wine with friends throughout the world since 1994 when she became the international sales manager for Kenwood Vineyards. Over the course of her career, she has had the pleasure and privilege of working with some of the industry’s greatest luminaries, including Robert and Margrit Mondavi and Bill Harlan. She was the Director of Marketing for the Robert Mondavi Winery between 1997 and 2001, and she launched Bill Harlan’s winery BOND in 2004. Debra likes to say she has sold wine from $3 to $300, and she enjoys all of it! Debra and her husband planted a 1-1/2 acre vineyard to Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot 12 years ago at home. She joined BR Cohn Winery in July 2015 as the Estate Director when Vintage Wine Estates purchased the winery and is thrilled to be working at this gorgeous, peaceful estate only 6 miles up the road from her home. She has been especially happy to discover the wonderful quality and pedigree of the wines and olive oils produced by the estate over the decades, olive oil being a completely new culinary product for her to learn about. Both the wines and the olive oils and vinegars will be showcased on the cruise.
Apr 8, 2018
Nina Buty
Founder and President of Buty Winery, Walla Walla, WA

Since founding Buty Winery in 2000, Nina Buty has helped to define the vision for the winery’s acclaimed blends, the philosophy that guides their creation, and the aesthetic sensibility that informs every aspect of Buty. Working side-by-side with a handpicked team that includes acclaimed winemaker Chris Dowsett and Iegendary consulting winemaker Zelma Long, Nina has established Buty at the forefront of several winemaking movements—from Buty’s commitment to using little-or-no new oak in many of its wines to picking earlier to retain aromatics and acidity, and finally the winery’s dedication to a natural approach to winemaking that eschews the use of any additions or “enhancement tools.” Nina also established Buty’s own renowned Rockgarden Estate in The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater appellation. Made using grapes from Rockgarden, as well as fruit from other celebrated vineyards like Phinny Hill and Conner Lee, Buty’s wines have earned acclaim for their blending artistry, and are recognized as benchmarks for quality and creativity.
Apr 12, 2018
Holly Howell
Journalist & Wine Expert, Finger Lakes, NY

Holly Howell writes a wine column for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester and is a well-respected New York-based authority on the wines of the Finger Lakes region, particularly Rieslings. She spent a year in France studying French food and wine, teaches wine and food pairing classes, and has served as a judge for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and also writes a popular blog. Holly is currently pursuing her Wine Spirit Education & Trust diploma.
Apr 12, 2018
Scott & Jana Harvey
Owner & Winemaker Scott Harvey Wines
Scott developed a keen interest in winemaking as a high school exchange student in the Rhineland Pfalz region of Germany. Scott attended California State University at Sacramento before beginning practical Enology training at Montevina Winery in Amador County. Back to Germany in 1975, he apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt. In 1978, at the age of 23, Scott took over as Head Winemaker for Story Winery, also in Amador County. In 1996, Scott was recruited as Partner, Winemaker & President for newly purchased, Folie a Deux Winery in Napa Valley. Scott pursued his commitment to award-winning Cabernets made from the Estate Vineyards in Napa Valley while continuing his passion for Amador County Zinfandel. In addition, Scott’s creation, the “Menage a Trois” line of wines, was an instant commercial success. In 2004, Folie a Deux, now a respected brand, was sold to Sutter Home/Trinchero Winery. Scott was finally positioned and ready to start his own venture, and he had the ideal partner, his wife Jana, a wine industry veteran.
Jun 28, 2018
Cal & Judy Schmidt
Owner & Winemaker Schmidt Family Vineyards
Originally from Kansas, Cal Schmidt moved to the area in 1992. He is owner of 2 family businesses working with three generations of his family. Northwestern Design, a commercial cabinetry business, has been manufacturing for 35 years. Wine and wine making have always been a passion for Cal. This led to his second family business in 2000, Schmidt Family Vineyards, located in the Applegate Valley. Currently Schmidt Family Vineyards grows 14 different varietals which are predominately Bordeaux varietals. With its 75 acres, it not only produces wonderful wines and exhibits beautiful architecture, it also has spectacular grounds for the public to enjoy. There are now 3 generations that grow the fruit, make the wine, and participate in all aspects of running the winery. The trails throughout the property are named for the fourth generation of which there are 9 children and counting!
Jul 10, 2018
Dr. Douglas Garman, PhD
Wine Expert for Europa Village Winery in Temecula, CA

Dr. Douglas Garman, Ph.D, a 35 year professional educator, is the wine educator and sommelier for Europa Village. An original wine club member and one of the first employees hired by Europa Village Winery, Dr. Doug's wine expertise has been sought after and shared as a speaker by those attending classes, tours, and in numerous media interviews. A world traveler, Dr. Doug has enjoyed many wines from different regions of the US, Europe, Australia and South America and is looking forward to teaching all about the different wine regions along this Enticing Douro river cruise.
Jul 12, 2018
Michael Barreto
Winemaker & Certified Wine Educator, Le Vigne Winery, Paso Robles
Michael Barreto got hooked on wine by making his first barrel at home in 1999. After taking courses he secured his first winery job in 2001, progressing quickly from a cellar position into the laboratory. In 2003 Michael started at Le Vigne Winery, quickly elevating the quality and reputation of the wines. By 2009 the Le Vigne labels evolved into high-end quality wines, a testament to the winery’s superb Paso Robles vineyard. “There are many facets to being a winemaker, from walking the vineyard to interacting with customers in the tasting room. Even the hectic sleepless environment of harvest can be joyful. A tremendous feeling results at the end of much hard work and nurturing the vines, concentrated into a wonderful vintage.” Join Michael and Joey Barreto on a wonderful voyage on the waterways of Bordeaux, arguably the world’s epicenter of fine wine production.
Jul 19, 2018
Mick, Deanna, Rosie & Gerry Wilson
Owners, Wilson Creek Winery Temecula Valley, CA
Wilson Creek is truly a family winery as nine family members help run the dynamic winery. Wilson Creek is known for its famous Almond Sparkling Wine but it also produces numerous award-winning red and white wines as well. The winery is consistently voted the most popular winery in Southern California Wine Country partially due to the hospitable staff, amazing restaurant, and beautiful winery grounds. On the wine cruises, Rosie and Gerryb Wilson host the cruise while Mick and Deanna Wilson facilitate the onboard wine tastings and wine paired dinners. Mick is a Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators as well as a Certificated Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Jul 19, 2018
Roman Roth
Winemaker and Partner, Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaphack NY

A gifted winemaker, Roman Roth can be heard singing in an enviable tenor voice amid the barrels in the winery. But most of all, he gives “voice” to his wines, produced by experience that bridges three continents and stems from the dream of a 16-year-old boy in Rottweil in Germany’s Black Forest. In 1992, Roman became the first winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. He established the estate’s distinctive character — European elegance combined with the typicity of Long Island terroir. Recent honors include having two of our wines make recent “Top 100” lists from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast; being honored as the highest-rated wines in Long Island history; and having our wines served in the White House over the past two decades. Wolffer Estate celebrates it’s 30 Anniversary in 2018 so join us on board as we share a “toast” to the next 30 years!
Jul 20, 2018
Markus Niggli
Winemaker, Borra Vineyards, Lodi, CA

Swiss-born Markus Niggli joined Borra Vineyards in 2006 and quickly ascended from cellar master to winemaker. Markus blends old-world winemaking techniques with progressive viticultural practices, a unique and natural approach to winemaking that has created critically-acclaimed whites which distinctly showcase the Lodi wine appellation.
Aug 2, 2018
Dan Panella
Owner/Winemaker, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi, CA

As a third generation American farmer, agriculture has always been a passion for Dan. He got his first start in farming by riding a tractor in the family's cherry and walnut orchards, so it was only a matter of time before he found himself farming grapes. Under the training of a highly regarded winemaker, Dan has been able to grow in the art of winemaking; the fusion of agriculture and art that has allowed him to be creative and allow the grapes to show their strengths.
Chad Joseph
Winemaker, Oak Farm Vineyards

Chad Joseph is a fourth generation Central Valley Californian. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Botany, with an emphasis in Chemistry. During his studies, he became smitten with wine. Chad has since become a consulting winemaker for several prominent local wineries. These great experiences brought him to explore premium winemaking in Lodi’s emerging boutique wine scene with Oak Farm Vineyards. Oak Farm Vineyards shares Chad’s passion and vision for making premium handcrafted wines and for Lodi to continue to become known as a premier California wine growing region. This beautiful estate has deep roots and history and is becoming known as Lodi’s destination winery.
Aug 3, 2018
Scott Steingraber
Owner & Winemaker, Kriselle Cellars, White City, OR

Scott Steingraber, owner and winemaker of Kriselle Cellars, is passionate about his craft. He began making wine over 20 years ago and through his exploration of wine, discovered the incredible viticulture area of the Rogue Valley Appellation of Southern Oregon. His drive to create exceptional wines of exquisite character and quality followed that discovery and forged a new path for Scott. He transitioned from his career in engineering to the launch of Kriselle Cellars in 2009, and quickly became known for his distinctive, premium hand-crafted wines. Scott’s creations at Kriselle Cellars are enjoying a reputation of excellence, garnering scores and awards from the most prestigious reviewers and competitions both nationally, and internationally. He is joined by his wife Kris, the namesake of the winery, in the formation of their elegant wine tasting facility, just north of Medford Oregon. Scott loves to share his wine, as much as he enjoys making it.
Aug 7, 2018
Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake
Proprietors & Winemaker, thumbprint cellars, Healdsburg, CA

Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake, proprietors and winemaker of thumbprint cellars, are always in awe of the beauty and bounty Sonoma County has to offer. They are proud to see thumbprint take its place alongside the many fantastic wine producers of Sonoma County and the world! The unique blends and award winning wines - all featuring the exclusive thumbprint signature - continue to lure both local and international wine enthusiasts. 
At thumbprint cellars, we source our wine grapes from local growers throughout Sonoma County. Scott enjoys making single vineyard designate wines- think of these wines as a “snapshot” of each vineyard and vintage, telling a story about that special place and time. Scott crafts single vineyard varietals, along with his infamous blends, he makes a wine for everyone! Total case production is less than 5,000 cases and our largest production is 400 cases. You can taste the care and craftsmanship in every bottle.
Aug 9, 2018
Ryan Levy & Ian Eastveld
Certified Sommeliers, Wine Educators & Le Cordon Bleu Trained Chefs, The Nice Winery, Houston, TX

Foodie superduo Ryan Levy and Ian Eastveld of The Nice Winery are Certified Sommeliers, wine educators, and Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs. Their hand crafted, boutique wines are poured in top restaurants and have won gold medals in internationally recognized wine competitions. Two of their wines have received 94 point and 92 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the Beverage Testing Institute, and were selected as Top 100 Cellar Selections. Ryan and Ian built their epicurean pedigree first while studying in Paris, France, then directing culinary education for Viking Ranges, teaching cuisine to thousands of students at Central Market, and operating their restaurant and catering companies, Republic and Nuance. They craft 14 award winning varietal wines in Texas, Argentina, and California’s Napa Valley and Paso Robles regions.
Aug 13, 2018
Earl & Hilda Jones
Abacela Vineyards and Winery Roseburg, Oregon
About Earl Jones, Owner and General Manager of Abacela Vineyards and WineryIt started with a chance encounter – a bottle of Pouilley-Fuissé – and resulted in founding the first award winning Spanish varietal winery in America. As a research physician-immunologist, Earl put his research skills to work and after three years landed in the oak savannahs of Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. The vineyards and winery were established in 1994/1995 and by 1998, self-taught winemaker Earl produced America’s first internationally acclaimed tempranillo wine. Tempranillo’s success led to further trials of old world wine, and Albariño and other novel wines have joined the offering.
About Hilda Jones, Vice President of Abacela Vineyards and Winery While Earl’s dream was to make great wine, Hilda’s was to live on a farm. She left a career in medical technology to help Earl follow the dream that became Abacela Winery. Early years found Hilda working every job in the vineyard and winery, including managing the tasting room. When Hilda and Earl decided to build a new tasting room in 2010, “It was our goal to make each guest’s visit an experiential one.”
Both Earl and Hilda are active in the Southern Oregon Winery Association, the Oregon Wine Board, and other wine trade associations.
Aug 14, 2018
Debbie Cristiano
Co-owner and Sales Manager Page Mill Winery Livermore, Ca
Debbie Cristiano is often the first face you’ll see at Livermore Valley’s Page Mill Winery, where she has been the Sales Manager and part Owner since 2010. She earned her degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her career has evolved to include an extensive background in the wine and restaurant industry, which has led to a passion for food and wine pairing. Each month she invites Page Mill Winery’s wine club members to participate in “Perfect Pairings,” where participants will create a dish for a Page Mill Winery wine she’s pre-selected for the event with the goal of discovering the perfect pairing! She’s a native Californian who loves to travel, and has experienced many wine regions of the world first hand.
Aug 16, 2018
Tor and Susan Kenward
Owners, TOR Kenward Family Wines, St. Helena, CA
Sometimes stories take root and grow unexpected branches; Tor will share some of those stories aboard. You cannot be a good storyteller unless you have had life experiences that people can relate to. Tor Kenward is a Southern California bohemian who became a Vietnam vet, jazz club impresario, and dining companion of the beloved Julia Child. 2016 marked Tor’s 40th year as a Napa Valley vintner. The first 27 years were with Beringer Vineyards helping build a wine company known to collectors for its reserve and single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. Tor retired in 2001, and with his wife, Susan, started their dream: TOR KENWARD FAMILY WINES. “Our plan was simple. Our wines would come from only the best blocks in great vineyard sites I knew and revered. All our wines are hand-made in every sense and in very small quantities.” Tor has led the charge as one of the appellation’s great champions and ambassadors for quality and worldwide acclaim. TOR Wines led the electronic auction lot in this year’s 2017 Auction Napa Valley at $20,000. Overall ANV raised $15.7 Million for charity. Susan Kenward’s path has taken her from the worlds of culinary to fashion to beauty in a series of creative endeavors. She and a partner opened a Hampton’s specialty store called Loaves and Fishes, which won many kudos. Susan has written five cookbooks, receiving two James Beard Awards. In 1985, Susan’s reputation as a food and lifestyle writer had earned her an assignment to interview a woman winemaker in Napa Valley who then introduced her to the man she would marry, Tor. In 1991 she started Flora Napa Valley and Olivina, a fragrance and body care line based on the scents and ingredients of the Napa Valley. “I easily fell in love with the Napa Valley; it is the perfect parade of the posh and the down-to-earth, farmers and sophisticates.” “Our wines keep getting better, we expect our stories will too. Join us as we write the next chapters.”
Oct 26, 2018
Rick Patton
Director of Private Clients, Alpha Omega Winery, St. Helena, CA
Rick Patton is the Director of Private Clients for Alpha Omega, a boutique winery in the Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley. He recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at the 11-year-old winery whose top buyers rely on Rick for his expertise and personalized attention. The New Jersey native had an epiphany in 1982 when he discovered Napa Valley while on a business trip to the west coast. Two years later, the savvy software salesman transferred from the New York area to his company’s Silicon Valley headquarters to be near California’s world famous wine region. In 2004, Rick and his wife moved to Napa Valley. He expanded his wine knowledge while working at Franciscan and Miner before Alpha Omega owner Robin Baggett lured him to his new winery. Within six months, Rick was Alpha Omega’s tasting room manager. An integral part of Alpha Omega’s success, Rick prides himself on continually increasing his wine wisdom as he enjoys fine wines from around the world.
Nov 1, 2018
Jordan Kivelstadt
Owner & Winemaker, Kivelstadt Cellars, Glen Ellen, CA
Jordan is a passionate wine lover, grower and winemaker. He began his career working for Copain Wines of California, a premier producer of Pinot Noir and Syrah. After that he headed to Australia, working on some of the world’s best Syrah and Cabernet. He then returned to Sonoma, working for the Donum Estate, producing multiple top scoring pinots for the Russian River. Jordan’s true passion has always been restrained Rhone wines. In 2012 he launched Kivelstadt Cellars, a boutique California winery focusing on Rhone Varietals from his family’s organic vineyard, and then sourcing from the best of the North Coast of California. Today, Jordan produces about 5,000 cases a year, including Syrah, Carignane, Grenache, Rousanne, Marsanne, and in honor of his California roots – a Charbono and Zinfandel. His wines are balanced, low in alcohol, and pay homage to the classic old-world style.
Nov 2, 2018
Shirley Brooks
VP Sales & Wine Ambassador, Elk Cove Vineyards, Gaston, OR
Located in the Willamette Valley’s western Coast Range foothills, Elk Cove Vineyards is one of Oregon’s premier producers of pinot noir and North American Rieslings. Founded in 1974, Elk Cove remains one of the oldest wineries still producing in Oregon. Today the winery is one of the USA’s premier vintners of pinot noir, Riesling, pinot gris and pinot blanc. Shirley Brooks has been working at Elk Cove since March of 2000, traveling the globe as brand ambassador developing markets new and old. She pulls on her harvest boots each year and joins the crew in crush. For Shirley connection to place is the essence of great wine. It’s also her way of honoring her grandfather, who back during Prohibition was a bootlegger. Shirley has served as a Board member for Oregon Pinot Camp and currently sits on the Oregon Wine Board Export Committee. Join Shirley on this marvelous voyage on the Blue Danube, sailing from Budapest to Vilshofen in Bavaria.
Nov 2, 2018
John Bookwalter
President, J. Bookwalter Wines, Richland, WA

John Bookwalter is currently the president of Bookwalter Winery. Founded n 1983, Bookwalter Winery has successfully transitioned from the first generation into one of the most dynamic mid-sized wineries in Washington State with production reaching 30,000 cases and retail locations in Eastern and Western Washington along with a full service restaurant located at the Winery in Richland, Fiction@ J. Bookwalter. John joined the family Winery in 1997 following a 10 year career in sales and marketing in the beverage industry and continues to be responsible for overseeing all operations as it relates to winemaking activities, vineyard management, sales and marketing initiatives and strategic planning for the company. Today, J. Bookwalter has grown from one of Washington’s oldest wineries into one of Pacific Northwest’s most recognized boutique wine brands, relying on exceptional vineyard sources and meticulous winemaking to produce some of the world’s finest wines. Join him to explore wines along the Danube and taste some Bookwalter wines alongside some of the local wines from the Wachau wine region.
Nov 4, 2018
Amelia Ceja
President, Ceja Vineyards Napa, Ca
In 1967, Amelia Morán Ceja emigrated to the U.S. to join her father, a farmworker, who toiled for years in California’s vineyards. Today she’s crossing another border, turning wine consumers into wine aficionados with her subtle blend of viticulture, down-home cuisine and a Web-based marketing campaign. Ceja Vineyards was founded by Amelia and her partners in Napa Valley in 1999; she became the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery. The California legislature recognized Amelia as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business.” Amelia’s commitment to marketing ethics and corporate responsibility has been acknowledged. She received the coveted 2013 Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketer Award. She has been successful in the growth of the Ceja Vineyards brand, using marketing innovation and creativity. In February 2016, Amelia received the 2016 Dolores Huerta Farmworker Justice Award for her and her company’s commitment to promoting the value and fair treatment of farmworkers.
Nov 5, 2018
Matthieu Finot
Winemaker for King Family Vineyards

Matthieu was born in Crozes Hermitage in the Rhone Valley of France. Coming from a family of viticulturists and wine lovers, Matthieu was predisposed to continue his family’s pursuit of making and enjoying wine. He first studied viticulture and oenology at Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy. After graduating in 1995, Matthieu worked in many different wine regions around France including Rhone Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, and Jura. He then worked in Italy and South Africa to gain experience around the world before settling in Virginia. Since arriving in 2003, Matthieu has worked with wineries throughout the state. He enjoys working in the Monticello Appellation most because he likes the excitement of the region’s growth and being close to Charlottesville.
Nov 5, 2018
Rob & Paula Campbell-Taylor
Owners, Graveyard Vineyards, San Miguel, CA

While living in Santa Barbara, Rob and Paula dreamed of owning property in the country to raise their two 2 young sons. After searching the California coast, Rob took Paula for a visit to Paso Robles Wine Country and she was hooked after seeing the beautiful countryside and the downtown square that reminded her of her Midwestern roots. Paula discovered an 81-acre property on the top of a hill past a little country graveyard dating back to 1865. The property had everything on their list of “must haves” including an existing vineyard. The biggest find though came soon after when they discovered their winemaker, Jason Bushong. What started with 184 case bottling in 2006 is now an award-winning winery and tasting room with direct to consumer sales of 5,000 cases per year to a wine club of over 2,000 people.
Nov 6, 2018
Jeff & Margie Runquist
Owners of Jeff Runquist Winery, Amador County, CA

Since graduating from UC Davis in 1980, Jeff Runquist has been the winemaker at Montevina Wines in Amador County, Napa Valley Cooperative in St Helena, and the J. Lohr Winery in San Jose and Paso Robles. In 1996, Jeff designed and helped construct the McManis Family Vineyards in Ripon then launched his brand in 1997. Jeff’s dream was to move back to Amador County and open his own tasting room and that dream came true in 2008. From the 2012 vintage, Jeff offered twenty-nine different wines from twenty different varietals ranging from Barbera to Touriga. Depending upon the varietal, Jeff teams with twenty-four different growers from throughout California, pairing the particular grape varietal with a specific vineyard site. All but four of his wines carry a vineyard designation and the name of the grower. A close relationship with growers and a respect for their fruit is revealed in every bottle of Runquist wine. Join Jeff and Margie as they explore the Enticing Douro in 2018.
Nov 8, 2018
Passport to Dry Creek Valley®
Healdsburg, CA

  • Michael and Vicky Farrow, Owners, Amista Vineyards
  • Kelly Ferris, Owner & Chris Russi, Winemaker, Comstock Wines
  • Dan Gustafson, Owner, Gustafson Family Vineyards
  • Bill and Yvonne Kreck, Owners, Mill Creek Vineyards
  • Giovanni and Julia Pedroncelli, Owners, Pedroncelli Winery
  • Tim and Mary Louise Bucher, Trattore Farms
  • Nov 8, 2018
    To be announced.
    Please check back for updates.
    Nov 8, 2018
    To be announced.
    Please check back for updates.
    Nov 8, 2018
    To be announced.
    Please check back for updates.
    Nov 9, 2018
    Michael Muscardini
    Owner and Winemaker, Muscardini Cellars, Kenwood, CA

    Michael graduated from college with a fine arts degree. After 27 years building a successful construction company he entered the world of winemaking. In 1999 he bought land in Sonoma, planting Sangiovese vines. Within 5 years Michael’s hand-crafted vintages won Best in Class gold medals at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and a double gold at the California State Fair. His 2008 Pauli Ranch Sangiovese garnered 98 points and Muscardini Cellars was lauded as Best Micro Winery in California. No small achievements for this winemaker! Join Michael on a special voyage down the Seine, visiting some of the most historic and charming villages in northern France. On board Michael will explain the nuances of French and Italian winemaking in contrast with his own New World approach.
    Nov 11, 2018
    Frederick Frank
    President, Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Region, NY

    Frederick Frank is president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, a position he has held since 1993. After graduating from Cornell University, Fred worked for Banfi Vintners in sales from 1979 to 1982, before attending Geisenheim Reserch Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany in 1982-1983. He was managing director of Old Brookville Vineyard at Banfi from 1984 to 1993. Under Fred’s leadership both the winery’s production and number of honors received has increased greatly, with Dr. Frank’s Riesling poured on numerous occasions in the White House. Wines from Dr. Frank’s winery are now available in over 30 states, making them among the most visible and well-known produced in New York State. Fred, the winery, and its wines have been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and more. Please join Fred Frank on this voyage down the Blue Danube visiting Prague, Vilshofen, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and some of the most beautiful villages in Austria.
    Nov 12, 2018
    To be announced.
    Please check back for updates.
    Nov 15, 2018
    Paul and Maggie Bush
    Owners of Madrona Vineyards, Camino CA.

    ABOUT PAUL BUSH
    Having planted vineyards when I was 6 years old and now being a winemaker, some might assume a classic Hollywood-like progression. However, I am not the “poster boy” for the wine industry. In fact, having grown up in the family’s vineyards and winery, I couldn’t wait to do something, or anything, different. I did indeed graduate from UC Davis in 1989, but my degree is in Macro Economics. So then, how does one succeed “escaping” the wine industry and then find himself some 25 years later owning vineyards and two wineries? Personal evolution (yep, that sounds good!). My interest in wine is rooted in vine. I love growing grapes and then finding the purest expression of our vineyards in the wine. This expression of our terroir is only found if we do the best job in the vineyards and take a minimalist approach in the winery. This means that I am less a winemaker and more a “wine elaborator.” Or more simply put, taste the vineyard, not the winemaker! Personally, one cannot ask for a more fulfilling quality of life than owning a winery. I get to work every day with my wife Maggie (whose background is finances). She runs the wineries and I make the wines. Add to this that we work with wonderful people, live in a beautiful region, and get to enjoy the fruits of our labors in a glass, and I suppose we do live the dream. And that has been the personal evolution.
    Nov 17, 2018
    Matt Wengel
    Winemaker for Lemelson Vineyards, Carlton Or

    Graduating with honors from the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program was just the start for Matt. After completing several harvests in Sonoma County, he journeyed to South Africa, where he swam with Great White sharks off the coast while making wine in Stellenbosch at Warwick Estate. Later he learned Spanish in the Bio-Bio Valley in Chile, while getting to know Chilean winemakers and the wonderful local culture.
    Matt next came home to the U.S. to work in upstate New York and Hunt County, aspiring to almost freeze to death making ice wine and delicious, crisp dry Rieslings. He then returned to California to a position at Stags Leap Winery in Napa Valley. Before moving to Oregon, he most recently worked at Clos Pegase for a few more years as associate winemaker, and made various other Sonoma County brands on the side. Matt has always wanted to come to Oregon, and is loving making beautiful wines at Lemelson Vineyards. Lemelson’s commitment to terrior driven, minimalist intervention winemaking from organically farmed estate vineyards is his dream-come- true job. When not at the winery, you’ll find Matt hiking or running in the deep green woods and verdant fields of Western Oregon, trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Hood in the distance.
    Nov 19, 2018
    To be announced.
    Please check back for updates.

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