APRIL 19, 2023 | Charles Krug Winery, Carriage House

Living Room Salon: The ROI of Teams & Retention

living room Salon

Part of sustainability leadership is thinking about ROI in new ways, including the bottom-line benefits of building and retaining powerful teams. This means building internal community where employees feel not only cared for, but listened to and empowered. This also means getting involved in broader community challenges like affordable housing.


During this Salon, Priyanka French, Winemaker at Signorello Estate, will lead a discussion where we’ll hear from Herman Hernandez, Executive Director of Los Cien, on how they’ve created a platform that enables volunteers to organize events and dialogues about a range of issues important to farmworkers and others in the community, and their goals to expand their reach in Napa County; Arnulfo Solorio, Partner and Vice President of Operations at Silverado Farming Company and Founder of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation on how to attract and retain employees by providing education opportunities and upward mobility through professional development; and Larry Florin, CEO of Burbank Housing, about his extensive experience with the challenges and methods to get affordable housing built in North Bay communities.


Priyanka French

Winemaker at Signorello Estate

At just 34 years old, Priyanka French is a fierce champion of diversity in the wine industry; she’s not only one of the youngest female winemakers to take the helm at a Napa Valley winery, but also one of just a handful of Indian winemakers in California.



French grew up in Mumbai and acquired her Bachelor of Technology in Food Science and Technology from the University of Mumbai and went on to work for several companies, including Nestle. But a field trip during her senior year to India’s wine country nagged at her for years until finally, she moved to California to pursue a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology from University of California, Davis and was the first Indian national to do so at the prestigious university.



She cut her teeth in wine regions all over the world, from the iconic Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa Valley to Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy, Cognac, and New Zealand before returning to California where she worked at Stags’ Leap Winery and then the preeminent Dalla Valle. There, French spent five years working in both the cellar and vineyard, learning first-hand from three of Napa Valley’s greatest winemaking talents: Andy Erickson, Michel Rolland, and Steve Matthiasson.



Her experience in estate winemaking and crafting luxury Cabernet Sauvignon led her to Signorello Estate, where she joined as winemaker in 2019 and was tasked with helping to not only rebuild the winery, but also fine tune winemaking and take the vaunted brand to the next level.



French is one of the industry’s leading fighting for more diversity in wine. She serves on the board of Wine Unify, which provides scholarship programs for WSET certifications to people of color and was an initiator in the Batonnage Forum’s mentorship program that supports women in the wine industry. She is rarely seen without her trusted side kick, Chloe a 3.5 year old Australian Shephard. When not making or drinking wine, French can be found gardening, cooking and exploring the outdoors.


Arnulfo Solorio

Partner and Vice President of Operations at Silverado Farming Company

Nufo was born in Patzimaro, Michoacan, Mexico. From a young age, he dreamed of going to school, but his family were ranchers in Mexico, and he was told: “Books do not feed you; animals and land do.” Following his dreams, Nufo travelled to Napa at the age of 14, but quickly realized in order to get an education, he needed money. He began working at Charles Krug as a field worker and mechanic’s assistant while following crops through Arizona, California, and Washington. He eventually worked his way through school and was able to enroll in Napa Valley College in 1984. Since he began at the college, he has completed enough courses to receive three Associates Degrees – while working full-time and raising a family. That he had energy left to volunteer through the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and make such a difference in our community is testament to his work ethic and strong sense of self.


Solorio was the first person in his family to become documented, become a citizen, and go to school. He has worked as a vineyard manager for some of the most storied of Napa’s properties, including Franciscan, Domaine Chandon, Mondavi, Charles Krug, and Tonella Family.


He strongly believes education is the key to success and that learning never stops. Beyond managing operations and personnel at Silverado Farming Company, he is part of the team that develops training, education, personal growth, and reward programs for employees. He believes that empathy and compassion are the key to successful leadership.


Larry Florin

CEO & President at Burbank Housing

Larry Florin is CEO and President of Burbank Housing. Burbank is a non profit affordable housing developer and property manager based in Sonoma and Napa. Since its inception in 1980 Burbank has developed over 5,000 units of affordable housing including over 800 units focused on farmworkers.


Larry brings over thirty years of experience in real estate, community and economic development in both the public and private sector to Burbank Housing. Most recently Larry served as the Director of Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs for Napa County. He managed Napa County’s affordable housing programs as well as the county’s Housing Authority and community and economic development activities.


Prior to joining Napa County Larry spent over ten years in the private sector, co-founding a development company specializing in adaptive reuse of underutilized industrial property and overseeing some of the company’s largest development projects in the San Francisco Bay Area including the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Treasure Island. While in the Northeast Mr. Florin oversaw a 2,000 unit urban mixed-use development project along the Hudson River across from Midtown Manhattan.


Larry has a Master in Urban Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Purchase State College.



Executive Director of Los Cien Sonoma County

Born and raised in a bilingual household in Guerneville, Herman G. Hernandez attended Guerneville School, El Molino High School, Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated from San Diego State University. Herman G. is the Executive Director of Los Cien Sonoma County, a local Latino Leadership organization focused on engaging, educating, and elevating our Latinx community. Herman G. has had the privilege and honor of serving his community since 2014 as the Area 5 Trustee for the Sonoma County Office of Education School Board. He also serves on the Sonoma County Family YMCA Board of Directors and the Made in Santa Rosa Foundation Board. He lives by the Rotary motto, “service above self,” and is a champion for community volunteerism. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, wife Ariana, and adult puppy Moose, reading books, running, biking all over beautiful Sonoma County; and most recently, golfing.