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Winery in the Spotlight
Mill Creek Vineyards
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Kim Stare Wallace
Corey Beck began his career in viticulture quite by accident as a teen, tagging alongside his grandfather who was, in those years, the vineyard manager for Napa Valley's renowned Chateau Montelena. Born and raised in Calistoga, Corey spent summer vacations working in the vineyards learning how to cultivate grapes.
Upon earning his degree in Fermentation Science from the University of California at Davis, Corey returned to Napa Valley to work at Chateau Montelena as their Cabernet Sauvignon Cellar Master, working with grapes his grandfather had planted two decades earlier. Wanting to broaden his repertoire and work with other varietals as well, Corey joined Rubicon Estate (formerly Niebaum-Coppola) in 1998 as their assistant winemaker.
In 2006, the Coppola family purchased property in Sonoma and made Corey Director of Winemaking and General Manager of the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Corey now oversees seven wine brands including Diamond Collection, Rosso & Bianco, Sofia, FC Reserve, Votre Santé, plus Director's and Director's Cut, which are the two brands that express Corey's own personal vision for Sonoma County wines.
In his role as General Manager, Corey has been instrumental in setting the Estate on course to achieve organic certification. Not only does he manage the vineyard plantings, care and conservation protocols, Corey also directed construction of the property's new winemaking and visitor facility.
Corey is President of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers, a role that promotes the viticultural needs of the region and supports nearly 40 other wineries in their efforts to broaden consumer awareness and appreciation for this Sonoma County sub-appellation.
Jeff Bundschu is no stranger to the lure of the vine—as a sixth generation California vintner, wine has been in his family since 1858. Bundschu was raised on the family estate in Sonoma and was working in the vineyards by the time he was 12 years old. Bundschu had worked in the cellar and in the vineyards during his teenage years and college, so he knew his way around the winery. His next step was to learn sales, working the national market from 1993 to 1995. Jeff was appointed General Manager and CEO in 2000, and today oversees the production of Gundlach Bundschu's estate-grown wines and 320 acres of estate vineyards.
Bundschu makes his home in Sonoma with his wife Elizabeth and their two children. When he's not evaluating the wines or in the vineyard with Jim Bundschu, his father and the winery's viticulturist, Jeff can be found mountain biking, skiing, surfing, or reading a good book.
Gerry is co-owner and winemaker for Forth Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. His 2,500-case production operation is part of a rapidly growing segment of very small, family-operated wineries that are adding a new and exciting dimension to the great wine tradition of Sonoma County. Relative newcomers to our region, Gerry and wife Jann produced their first vintage in 1998. Since then, four generations of the family have made Sonoma their home and have become part of the growing winemaking tradition at Forth Vineyards.
Gerry grew up with a farming background, but it was the world of business that drew his attention after finishing his education. For the past two decades he has devoted his time to building successful businesses that serve the healthcare marketplace. He has a reputation for high integrity and hard work, and a commitment to building the reputation and market for Sonoma County wines. Gerry has accumulated years of financial experience in small and large organizations, as well as experience in building organizations.
Stan Fridstein is a partner at Mulberry Trample, a wine brokerage that specializes in placing excess wine inventory into the most discreet channels possible in a way that does not hinder long-term branding and selling efforts. A serial entrepreneur, Fridstein was co-founder and President of The Right Start, Inc., the largest specialty merchant targeting families with young children in The United States. During his career, Fridstein has provided strategic marketing consultation to clients such as The Nature Company, Discovery Channel Catalog/Discoverchannel.com, Famous Smoke Shop Catalog, AIG/SunAmerica, Earl Scheib Corporation, DaVita Corporation, Welk Resort Group, Wella Corporation, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and Huntington Memorial Hospital. (Non-Voting Community Seat)
Matt Gallo is the Vice President of Premium Business Operations for E&J Gallo Winery, managing the family wineries, vineyards and growers in Sonoma and Napa counties and on California's Central Coast. The Gallo Family has had a presence in Sonoma County's wine industry since the 1930's; Matt moved to Sonoma to work in the family business in 1987.
Matt serves on the Board of Directors of the Wine Institute, the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Advisory Council, the President's Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of California, and the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation.
Matt received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He and his wife make their home in Sonoma County and enjoy many outdoor activities with their six young children.
Dutton-Goldfield Winery began with a handshake in a vineyard in 1998, when longtime colleagues and friends Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield recognized a shared vision between them—to craft wines that express the personalities of their cool-climate vineyards, and which they'd enjoy drinking at their own dinner tables.
After graduating from Boston's Brandeis University, Dan headed west to begin a career in research chemistry, with a few detours for skiing and hiking on the way. Always an outdoor enthusiast, the life of lab work was quickly replaced with a dream of winemaking when his brother turned him on to the 1969 Burgundies. Dan entered the University of California at Davis, graduating with an M.S. in Enology in 1986. He gained knowledge on the job with stints at Robert Mondavi Winery and Schramsberg as well as winemaking in Portugal for two years. He found his passion in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, first as the winemaker at the Burgundian-focused La Crema Winery, and then at Hartford Court, which was created under his direction. Dan's appreciation for the beauty of the extraordinary landscape around our home is reflected in his winemaking.
Bahaneh Hobel is an attorney in Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty's Alcohol Beverage group. Hobel's practice focuses on all aspects of alcohol beverage law, including state and federal licensing and regulatory compliance for wineries, breweries, distilled spirits plants, importers, wholesalers and retailers. Hobel has also had significant experience assisting local alcohol beverage trade associations and other non-licensees with various trade practice matters at both the state and federal level. (Non-Voting Community Seat)
Russ is a 24-year veteran of the wine industry, currently as President and General Manager of Patz & Hall Wine Company. Previous to that he was President and Chief Financial Officer of Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace prior to its sale in 2005.
In addition, Russ was Chief Financial Officer of Sebastiani Vineyards, Inc. and started his wine industry career as Director of Finance at Allied Domecq Wines (Wine Alliance) which included brands like Clos duBois, Callaway Vineyard and Winery, William Hill Winery and Atlas Peak.
Russ is originally from New York State where his family farmed fruits and vegetables including Concord Grapes. Russ obtained his Bachelors in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and then obtained his CPA certificate while with Deloitte and Touche prior to entering the wine industry. Russ lives in Napa with his wife Deborah and their two daughters.
Dan Kosta, co-founder of Kosta Browne Winery, is a native of Sonoma County where wine became an integral part of his life at the age of 5, learning about the enjoyment of wine from his father. Later, Kosta followed his passion for food and worked for more than 15 years in fine dining, mostly at John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa, where he eventually served as Operations Manager and Wine Director. He met winery partner Michael Browne while working there, and together they saved tip money in 1997 to start their winery. Kosta sits on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and participates in numerous judging events such as the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, and San Francisco International Wine Competition.
A 20+ year veteran of the Sonoma County wine industry, Steve has managed the export portfolios for Chateau St. Jean, Simi, and the Jackson Wine Estates Group. In January of 2007 Steve established Vinum Exports, a consulting and brokerage service for wineries looking to expand their International business.
For the Sonoma County Vintners, Steve chairs the International Committee leveraging his extensive experience in international sales and marketing.
Joel Peterson unwittingly embarked on his winemaking apprenticeship at the age of ten when he began tasting with the San Francisco Wine Sampling Club, organized and operated by his father. After graduating from Oregon State University, he became a wine writer and consultant, and in the mid-1970's he learned the art of traditional winemaking from one of California's outstanding craftsmen of fine Zinfandel, the late Joseph Swan.
Joel has been the Winemaker of Ravenswood Winery since 1976. Joel owns the historic 119 acre Bedrock Vineyard in Sonoma Valley that produces grapes for Ravenswood. In addition, Joel works with 100+ growers that provide grapes for Ravenswood annually. Ravenswood is one of the few wineries that have had the philosophical and winemaking skill of one winemaker for nearly 30 years, contributing to a consistency and quality rarely found in California. Joel has presented innumerable seminars, lectures and tasting over the years at places like the Boston Wine Expo, Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park NY and St. Helena CA), Colorado Wine Festival, Philadelphia Wine Festival, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Disney Sommelier Seminars, Ahwahnee/Yosemite Vintners Holiday, National and International ZAP tours, and Wine Institute International tours.
Joel is a current member and former president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance (SVVGA). He is a founding member and former two-time President of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). Joel is the lead wine maker and Chairman of the Heritage Vineyard project, a joint project of ZAP and UC Davis to investigate Zinfandel clones. Joel is also a Senior Vice President and a member of the Senior Executive team of Constellation Wines US.
Peter Seghesio is currently the farmer of San Lorenzo Vineyards, winemaker of Journeyman Wines and proprietor of Healdsburg Meat Co (opening fall 2014).
Growing up aside his family’s winery, Peter fell in love with the wine business. After graduation from California State University at Fresno with a BS in Enology and Viticulture, Peter joined Seghesio Family Vineyards as Sales Manager and established the winery’s national distribution. From 1993 until 2011, Peter served as CEO and, as such, implemented the overhaul of his family’s winery into its preeminence as one of the industry’s top Zinfandel-based brands. In 2011, he began Journeyman Wines as an educational project to teach his young sons the art of wine.
Peter lives on the San Lorenzo estate in Alexander Valley with his wife of 20 years, Cathy, and their sons Joey and Will.
With 27 years in the industry his motto is, "always learning, always growing."
Caroline Shaw is the Chief Communications Officer for Jackson Family Enterprises. In this position she is responsible for developing a unified public relations, social media and brand communications strategy which coordinates and aligns the diverse Company functions and interests under a single, cohesive and comprehensive approach. Recently, she took responsibility for leading JFE's internal and external functions to include employee communications, government affairs, and corporate social responsibility. She also serves as a personal publicist to owners, Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke.
Shaw brings an extensive background in corporate communications and public relations to her current role. Her tenure includes executive positions at KB Home, one of the largest homebuilders in the nation and a Fortune 500 company; the Utah Jazz, a NBA basketball team and its ancillary organizations; and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002.
Shaw began her career with the U.S. Department of State where, she served as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, and was the deputy director of communications for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Shaw graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University. She has lived, traveled, and studied in Europe, Africa, Australia and the Middle East for 20 years and has a knowledge of German, Arabic and Hebrew. She is also member of the Public Relations Society of America, International Association of Business Communicators and the Professional Ski Instructors of America and level one of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Kim Stare Wallace was raised in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Throughout her childhood, she watched from the sidelines as her father David Stare pioneered Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in the region following Prohibition. As a teen, she worked in the office, cellar and on the bottling line as well as accompanying her parents on countless sales trips, business dinners and wine tastings. From this early start, Kim grew up with a passion and understanding of the wine industry.
After graduating magna cum laude from San Francisco State University, Kim began a career in the fashion industry that would greatly impact her later role at Dry Creek Vineyard. Joining the winery in 1986 as Director of Marketing, one of her first achievements was the creation of nautical labels for Dry Creek Vineyard's wines, an unprecedented move that has indelibly linked the winery to sailboats in consumer's minds. Without a doubt, Kim can be credited for the creation of the winery’s dynamic brand imagery that lives on today with every bottle of wine produced.
In the mid-nineties, Kim took on the increased responsibility of Vice President of the winery, involved in all decisions affecting the quality of the Dry Creek Vineyard experience and winery operations. She has seen the California wine industry mature through its ups and downs and is determined that her family winery will stay in the family.
In 2011, Kim became President of Dry Creek Vineyard. Her vision for the future of this dynamic family business is clear – honor the past while striving to produce wines of outstanding distinction that consistently over deliver and provide great enjoyment to wine drinkers worldwide.
Quite literally raised in the vines, Kim cannot recall a time when wines, vineyards, and vintages were not the focus of daily conversation. Some family traditions never change. Kim and her husband Don live with their teenage son, Spencer, while daughter Taylor is off to college. Their home is nestled among the vineyards near the winery.
Dan Wildermuth joined Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1991 as Director of Marketing. In 1999, Dan was promoted to Vice President of marketing for the winery and also assumed management of the Hospitality Department and export sales. Dan has been an integral part of the executive management team that was assembled after the Klein Family bought the winery in 1989, helping to grow the brand from 40,000 cases per year to 700,000.
Dan received a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance. He worked for a time as a Financial Accountant at Hughes Aircraft, but was soon lured into the wine business in 1981. He has worked at many levels in the wine business including retail, restaurant, broker, distributor, winery sales rep and winery sales management prior to moving into marketing.
Dan lives in Healdsburg with his two daughters and enjoys community service, skiing, volleyball and ocean sports. His personal philosophy is "travel the road of honesty, integrity, and balance, and be the best at what you do."