Wailea Wine & Food Festival Wine Encounter Panelists
Having initially started his career path as a French instructor at UC Santa Barbara, Greg Brewer became immediately enamored by food and wine through a part time job at the Santa Barbara Winery tasting room in 1991. That employ quickly led to becoming more involved in production and eventually being hired as assistant winemaker in 1992 working with fruit grown in what would become the Sta. Rita Hills appellation ten years later. Greg was instrumental in the small committee which defined the borders of the appellation, and successfully petitioned to establish it by the harvest of 2001.
Founded in 1998, Brooks is a reflection of the visionary Portland native, Jimi Brooks. His reverence for the land and vines made him a practitioner of organic and biodynamic farming. The great respect for vineyard individuality and mastery of blending, allowed his wines to achieve the greatest depth, flavors and balance.
Life has come full circle for Dick Doré. Born and raised on the family-owned Rancho Tinaquaic, this sixth generation Santa Barbara County resident returned to his roots in 1985 where he established FOXEN Vineyard & Winery with Bill Wathen.
Ryme Cellars is a collaboration of husband and wife with old world sensibilities, as well as admiration for California’s terroir and sunny disposition. Our portfolio of wines has grown gradually and organically since 2007, beginning with a single ton of Aglianico. The varieties may be rare or unusual but none of them are a mere curiosity for us. Rather, they represent wines that we love, drink often, and truly believe in the potential for success in their chosen sites.
In many places, partner Travis Goff is known as the face of Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery. It is her life’s work to introduce the world to the Walla Walla Valley. Travis is a Certified Sommelier (via the Court of Master Sommeliers) and continues to further her wine education whenever possible. A side project that is close to her heart is working behind the scenes at TEXSOM, the nation’s pre-eminent gathering of wine professionals known for its promotion of wine education and spirit of camaraderie.
Partner-Winemaker, Copain Wines
Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated towards France, and the Northern Rhône Valley, in particular. A Florida native, reared in Southern California, Guthrie launched his wine career in 1995 in Northern California as a wine tasting coordinator for the Wine Spectator. While there, he fell in love with Syrah and had a transformative experience tasting the first 1993 vintage of Littorai Wines, made in Anderson Valley by owner-winemaker Ted Lemon. Moved by these expressive wines and inspired by Lemon’s pioneering work in Anderson Valley, Guthrie decided to pursue his passion for wine by learning how it was made.
4th generation garage-ist trained Napa Valley grape guy, Peter Heitz, grew up kicking the dirt clods of Carneros on one of the pioneering vineyards in the region. Later honing his vineyard background farming in the Calistoga Appellation, on dirt first planted to vines by his great grandparents in 1904.
National Sales Manager, Ehlers Estate
Armen Khachaturian is the National Sales Manager for Ehlers Estate, a prestigious winery in Napa Valley, just north of downtown St. Helena, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon “1886.” He is responsible for all sales and distribution of Ehlers Estate wines outside the state of California.
In 2006, Geoff was one of two Americans to pass the rigorous Master of Wine examination. Currently there are only 33 Masters of Wine in the United States. He is also a Certified Wine Educator with over 30 years of experience in the wine business and he is an internationally accredited Bordeaux instructor. Early in his career Geoff conducted special wine classes for both Saddleback College and Orange Coast College. While working at Hi-Time Cellars in Southern California, Geoff also created a wine education program geared for restaurant professionals. Geoff has also served as Treasurer and Secretary on the Board of the Society of Wine Educators. Currently Geoff mentors candidates preparing for the Master of Wine examination.
Owner/Wine Director SPQR
A Bay Area native, Shelley Lindgren has worked in the restaurant business for nearly 25 years and has been a wine educator for more than twelve years. After graduating from the University of San Francisco, she decided to pursue a career in the restaurant industry on a full-time basis, spending six years working at Fleur de Lys while earning her sommelier certificate. Later, she earned a culinary certificate at San Francisco’s Tante Marie Cooking School.
Pax Mahle founded Pax Wine Cellars in 2000 with his wife Pamela and has been creating game-changing wines ever since. Years of critical acclaim from Robert Parker, Steven Tanzer & The Wine Spectator solidified Pax Mahle’s reputation with Syrah and gave him the access to the vineyards that he would later use to launch Wind Gap Wines.
Martinelli Family Winery
Regina Martinelli grew up a Farmer’s daughter in the Russian River Valley. She comes from a long lineage of farmers, starting with her Great Grandfather Giuseppe Martinelli, who planted their flagship vineyards in 1885. Regina’s father, Lee Sr. & brothers, Lee Jr. & George, exclusively farm all of the family ranches. Starting at age 6, Regina learned the life of a rural farmer by spending her summers & Saturdays tying vines alongside her 3 older siblings. This servitude continued until she escaped by attending college in San Luis Obispo, California as a biology major.
Gordian Knot Winery
Gordian Knot Winery is a small family-owned winery in the Russian River Valley, specializing in small lots of unusual wines that represent the best the appellation has to offer. Based in Healdsburg, CA, we have been working with a number of vineyards for 15 years. We make the only Russian River Valley Albarino currently produced. In addition we specialize in single-vineyard old-vine Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. Tim is winemaker and co-owner of the Gordian Knot Winery. He has over 20 years of experience as a grower and winemaker, producing a number of award winning wines as winemaker for both Sapphire Hill Vineyards and Gordian Knot Winery. He specializes in cool climate varietals as well as old-vine wines. His passion for growing grapes is exemplified in cultivating his own vineyard for over 2 decades. Tim’s knowledge has also been utilized as a professional wine judge in several West Coast competitions.
Charles Krug Winery
Marc Mondavi is the eldest son of Peter and Blanche Mondavi and grandson of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, the Napa Valley pioneers who purchased the historic Charles Krug winery in 1943. As co-proprietor with his brother Peter, Jr. , he works closely with their father, Peter Sr. on issues of strategic importance, including stewardship of all the winery's brands.
Owner/Winemaker, Carlisle Winery
RIntroduced to wine at 19 years old, Mike Officer quickly became a self-professed “wine geek”, reading about and tasting as many different wines as possible. But rather than pursuing a career in wine, after receiving a B.A. in Mathematics from Pomona College in 1984, Mike became a software developer, writing portfolio analysis and trading applications for the investment industry. However, his love and passion for wine continued to grow. In 1987, while living in San Francisco, Mike began making wine at home.
Founder, National Sales Director
As national sales director, and one of four founding partners, Donald Patz has spent a quarter century building Patz & Hall’s reputation for quality, consistency and excellence. A dedicated and visionary individual, Donald brings a comprehensive understanding of Patz & Hall to his role, having gained extensive hands-on expertise in every aspect of the winery’s operations.
Gary developed a love of wine while attending college. He started collecting fine French and German wines, and he made his first wine in his garage in 1978 at the age of twenty-five. In 1982, Gary broke ground and planted the first vines at Pisoni Vineyards. He was up against many obstacles, including not having a water source at the time.
CEO & President
Duckhorn Wine Company
As chief executive officer and president of Duckhorn Wine Company, Alex Ryan’s vision and passion help define the future of the company, while ensuring the continuation of its commitment to quality and excellence. The son of a wine executive, Alex moved to St. Helena in 1976 after his father was hired at Beringer Vineyards. Growing up in the close-knit Napa Valley community, Alex was exposed to the wine industry from an early age.
The Scherrer Winery
The Scherrer Winery is a small operation focusing on the production of handcrafted wines that express the personality of the vineyards they represent. Owner/Winemaker Fred Scherrer first made wine at home from the family vineyard as a teenager. This lead to technical training with a degree at U.C. Davis and then back to the "real world" to learn where, when, how, and if to apply science to the art of winemaking.
Joseph Spellman, MS is Winery Sommelier for JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery. He has worked with wine since 1979, principally as a sommelier, in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars, including Tango, Maxim’s, The Pump Room, The Park Hyatt Hotel, and Charlie Trotter’s. He has also had stints in wine retail, wholesale, and importing companies, as well as the Napa Valley producer Joseph Phelps. He has been a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and has led wine seminars in the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.
Owner/President Guava, Gouda & Caviar
Ann Tuomela is native Californian, however her father’s career as a test pilot in the Navy had her experiencing many parts of the country growing up. She has been a Maui resident for almost 3 decades with over 30 years in the food and wine industries.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, I started Tyler Winery at 24 years of age with the 2005 vintage. I now work with six different vineyards from both the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley. Annual production is around 1800 cases between about 12 bottlings per vintage. I focus on exceptional vineyard sites and work with old vines whenever possible. Beyond the Tyler wines, I am partners and the winemaker for Lieu Dit Wines with Eric Railsback of RN74 focusing on varieties indigenous to the Loire Valley in France, but grown in Santa Barbara County. I also consult on a number of different Estate projects throughout Santa Barbara County.