Napa Rise


2023 Speakers

Keep checking back for updates to our exciting list of speakers, mentors and moderators.


Owner of Maryam + Company

Maryam Ahmed (she/her/hers) is a creative entrepreneur based in Napa, CA. Maryam + Company designs brand extension programs and educational experiences for purpose-driven clients that want to grow their business, increase engagement, and deepen their impact while celebrating food and wine. Maryam has experience in distribution, dining, enology and viticulture, and events. Most often, her work takes place at the intersection of chefs, sommeliers, activists, sustainability experts, creatives, media, and visionary organizations. Prior to Maryam + Company, she was the director of public programs at the Culinary Institute of America in California. Maryam was recently named a Wine Enthusiast Future 40 Tastemaker, listed as one of the Imbibe 75, and nominated for the Social Visionary Wine Star Award. Last June, Maryam + Company launched Field Blends, an immersive food and wine travel experience focused on opening up conversations about what’s emerging in wine and agriculture. Field Blends features unique tastings, tangible takeaways, and local provisions with educational experiences and critical discourse.

Erin Arnsteen

Program Coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture and founder of the Western Monarch Society

Erin supports MJV’s western U.S. conservation efforts to help monarch butterflies and other pollinators. She works across MJV program areas of education, science, habitat, and partnerships. In particular, she uses her technical expertise in entomology and native plant ecology to support agricultural landowners and other regional stakeholders with the mobilization and expansion of habitat conservation in all landscapes. 

Erin earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a master’s degree in education both from Colorado College.  Erin has studied entomology for most of her life and is truly passionate about invertebrates and conservation. She founded the Western Monarch Society of Napa County and has grown and given away thousands of native milkweed plants with the goal of restoring native habitat for western monarch butterflies and other native pollinators. In her spare time, she enjoys observing the wildlife in her native pollinator garden, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.  

Kia Behnia

Proprietor of KIATRA Vineyard, NEOTEMPO Wines

Kia is a technologist turned vintner – Kia and his wife Tracy have owned and operated KIATRA vineyard since 2011.  From the beginning the idea was to combine organic and biodynamic methods with the use of precision farming technologies to continuously improve quality of the fruit while reducing the impact on the environment and reduce the use of critical natural resources. KIATRA vineyard is now under the stewardship of Phil Coturri and his highly skilled team at Enterprise Vineyards to combine their organic and regenerative growing experience with Kia on precision farming practices such as smart irrigation and computer vision for crop evaluation and all electric Monarch tractors for a diesel free future.

Kia and Tracy are launching their new wine brand NEOTEMPO wines which has a commitment to bringing to market many innovations from ‘dirt to glass’ for lowering carbon emissions and building a playbook on climate resilience.


Mr. Behnia is a frequent industry speaker at industry events and active in participating and leading industry wide initiatives for the adoption of new technologies.  


Prior to his time in Napa, Kia held senior executive roles at public and private large scale enterprise technology companies – Splunk, BMC Software, IBM/Tivoli, and Marimba.


Mr. Behnia has 28+ years of industry experience in IT Operations, cloud platforms, enterprise mobility and digital transformation. Mr. Behnia holds a B.A. degree in Computer Science from University of California at Davis. 

Philana Bouvier

President of Demeine Estates

Philana Bouvier is the President of Demeine Estates. She provides leadership and vision in creating a  best-in-class sales and marketing organization. She is a widely recognized leader and champion for diversity and inclusion. In 2019, she was awarded  SevenFifty Daily’s Drink Innovator of the Year for her work in spearheading efforts to open opportunities  for women in wholesale C- Suite positions by increasing their access to high-level decision makers and  persistently challenging male executives to get in on the effort.

Rich Bouwer

Chief Executive Officer of free flow wines

Rich joined Free Flow as Chief Operating Officer in 2018 to oversee Operations, Finance & Supply Chain. Rich began his career in the wine industry in 1990. Since then he has held senior positions with Saxco International, Beringer and Gallo, sourcing wine bottles in the US, Central America, Europe and Asia and providing packaging to more than 1,000 wineries. Rich is delighted to be part of the Free Flow team and relishes the opportunity to change the way premium wines are delivered to consumers. In his free time Rich enjoys open water swimming, college sports, and spending time with his family.

Matt Brain

Winemaker at alpha omega

Winemaker Matt Brain, possessing a master’s degree in biosciences and a background in process engineering, brings naturalist philosophies and highly technical abilities to winemaking at Alpha Omega where he began as Associate Winemaker. After leaving a successful career in the Toronto area to pursue his dream of winemaking in California, the Ontario, Canada native joined Phase 2 Cellars, a custom winemaking operation in San Luis Obispo, for the 2006 harvest. Matt was quickly promoted to supervise cellar operations for the facility’s premium label, Tolosa, while receiving mentorship from some of the most renowned and respected professionals in California.


Matt earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in biosciences at Sam Houston State University, where he was a decathlete. He also earned a winemaking degree from UC Davis and held winemaker titles at prominent California wineries and winemaker/lecturer positions with Enology and Viticulture programs at both Cal Poly and Fresno State universities. He partnered with The Vineyard Team, which promotes sustainable winegrowing, as a Sustainability Auditor and continues to educate as a Podcast Host for the organization. Matt’s passion for the environment benefits Alpha Omega, where the land and winery are both Napa Green certified and the Vineyard Management team practices sustainable farming. 


Executive Director of Napa Green

Anna Brittain is the Executive Director of Napa Green. Anna has worked locally, nationally and internationally on environmental management and policy with organizations ranging from the environmental economics think tank Resources for the Future in Washington, DC to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has spent a decade facilitating and growing sustainability in the wine industry, with an expertise in communications and certification standards. Anna has served as a lead sustainability consultant with Ontario Craft Wineries, Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia, Crimson Wine Group, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, and individual wineries including Benziger Family Winery and Seghesio Family Vineyards. She has helped lead the growth of the Napa Green program for over six years, and stepped into the position of Executive Director of the now independent non-profit in fall 2019. Anna has a Master’s of Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Williams College.

Janie Brooks Heuck

Managing Director & Boss Lady of brooks wine

Portland native Janie Brooks Heuck spent more than a decade in the health care industry before finding herself responsible for the business operations at Brooks Winery. Struck by the generosity and guidance from the Oregon wine community after her brother Jimi’s passing, Janie quickly realized the importance of Jimi’s lifework and has been keeping the Brooks boat afloat since 2004. Janie is passionate about Brooks, family, travel, and Riesling. She loves to golf, sail, work out, and take photos when she isn’t working. Her karaoke song is “Rapper’s Delight,” which is also Brooks Wine’s winemaker, Chris Williams’ karaoke song, yet none of us have witnessed either one of them on the mic. Can someone say duet?!

Dr. Akilah Cadet

Founder + CEO at change cadet

As a young Black woman, Dr. Akilah Cadet experienced judgement, “isms”, and numerous barriers in the workplace. One day she thought, “what if I could change that?” and Change Cadet was started. Cadet, her last name, is a French term that means soldier. Change Cadet prepares individuals and companies to be soldiers of change in the workforce so there can be more women and people of color at the top. She wants everyone to feel empowered in their career. To accomplish this, she provides people and companies with services that support anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging (DEIB) including executive coaching, strategic planning, facilitation, and crisis recovery. She advises tech startups from concept to staffing, facilitates strategic workshops, coaches leaders, and speaks at various engagements. Dr. Cadet knows the only way to achieve the goal of true inclusiveness in the workplace is to work with, coach, and speak to as many companies and individuals as possible. She wants Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to know they have something special, for companies to truly recognize the value of their employees, and well, to change the face of the stereotypical leader so that no one would feel how she felt most of her career.


Dr. Cadet has 15+ years in management and building successful projects, teams, and leaders in the public and private sectors. She is a 2021 Forbes Next 1000 Honoree and honored as one of Staffing Industry Analysts’ (SIA) 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Influencers. Forbes and the Wall Street Journal Diversity and Business Newsletter have featured her work. She has worked on federal, state, and privately funded multimillion-dollar projects ranging from public health/healthcare to education. She has spent an extensive part of her career designing training, coaching executives, and informing systematic change to improve the workforce experience for large organizations. Dr. Cadet holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education in Community Based Public Health, a Master of Public Health, and a Doctorate of Health Sciences in Leadership and Organizational Behavior. But more importantly, she lives in/loves Oakland, has an incredible shoe game, and is a proud Beyoncé advocate.

Christian Cain

Shepherd and founder of Perennial Grazing

Mimi Casteel

Vineyard Manager at Hope Well Wine and Vineyard

Mimi grew up on her family’s vineyard, Bethel Heights. Her adventures fueled her passion for studying botany, forestry, and ecology. Mimi earned her MS from Oregon State University in Forest Science, and spent the next several years working as a botanist and ecologist for the Forest Service, living in the backcountry. Her work in the forests led her to realize that the greatest threats to the future of the planet and all species had to be addressed at its root – in the agricultural and working land base. Mimi returned to Bethel Heights in 2005, where she implemented new farming systems and began a journey of experimentation and discovery. In 2016 Mimi left Bethel Heights to grow and make wine at her home vineyard and living laboratory, Hope Well. Hope Well is the living model for a habitat-based regenerative model for agriculture. Mimi’s experiments are all with the goal of producing the most nutrient-dense, healthy food and wine, while recovering the natural systems of nutrient cycling, improving biodiversity and species retention, and maximizing the function and output of a diverse ecosystem.

Tom Clark

Vice President of Napa Wildlife Rescue

Tom is not a gentleman farmer, but rather one who loves the work while caring for wildlife and the natural environment along the way. In addition to his focus on Clark-Claudon Vineyards and its surrounding property, in 2011 Tom’s love of birds inspired the founding of Clark’s Sustainable Systems. Through CSS Tom consults with vineyard owners and vineyard management companies about the sustainable use of wild birds to naturally control insects and rodents in the vineyard.

Michael Coode

Winemaker at Rutherford Hill Winery

Michael Coode is a passionate and driven wine business professional with a wide breadth of experience including international winemaking, product development, facility management and global wine education expertise.


Coode’s experience spans 18 harvests across four countries and has resulted in the development of several outstanding products and brands. His experience includes tenure at the world-renowned Chateaux Margaux in Bordeaux, Paul Jaboulet  Aîné in the Rhône Valley, Inglenook in Napa Valley, Inniskillin in Niagara, and Wolf Blass in Adelaide.


Integral to his success in developing innovative products and repositioning existing product lines has been Coode’s uniquely blended experience of old-world winemaking, technical background in wine research, and new-world business acumen.


Coode specializes in crafting distinctive wines from conception to market by leading cross-functional teams spanning production, marketing, operations, research, and customer preferences.


The decision to join Rutherford Hill was an obvious choice for Coode. “Rutherford Hill is an iconic winery in an idyllic location. I’m looking forward to working with such a dynamic and experienced team and learning about the many unique attributes this property has to offer as we set out to make world-class wines together.”


Coode has a Masters of Wine Business from the University of Adelaide and Bachelor of Applied Science in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University and resides in Angwin with his wife and two Labrador Retrievers.

Remi Cohen

CEO at Domaine Carneros

Remi Cohen joined the Domaine Carneros family as CEO in 2020, bringing with her a diverse, over
twenty-year track record of experience in all facets of the fine wine business, from sustainable vineyard management and winemaking to sales, marketing, and brand development. The role brings Cohen’s career full circle, for it’s in Carneros where it all began.

Cohen is also a certified sommelier, which makes her adept at providing luxurious and educational
hospitality experiences. She served as the President of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association for five years and was previously a Board Member of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association. Cohen was recognized as one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 in 2015 as a tastemaker and influencer in Napa Valley. She resides in Napa and enjoys traveling to wine regions around the world, sampling diverse cultures and cuisines, and loves dance, hiking, yoga and world music.

Katherine Cole

Host of The Four Top Podcast

Katherine Cole is the James Beard Award-winning executive producer and host of The Four Top, an international podcast focusing on hot-button topics in the wine world. She is also the author of five books on wine, including Sparkling Wine Anytime. She was previously wine columnist for The Oregonian newspaper, contributing editor at SevenFifty Daily, and a correspondent for wine and lifestyle publications worldwide. She is currently communications director at Vin Agency. A graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Katherine is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and has been named to the “Imbibe 75” list of “the people, places and flavors that will help shape the way we all drink.” In her spare time, Katherine is an avid hiker, skier, cyclist, and volunteer, contributing her time to causes such as Portland Backpack, the James Beard Public Market, and the Portland chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

Tosha Comendant, PhD


Dr. Comendant is a conservation scientist with over 15 years experience developing innovative methods, visualization tools, databases, and science-based solutions that increase knowledge-transfer, enhance stakeholder engagement, and inform natural resource management decisions. She is a Napa Valley native and completed her doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz.  She joined Pepperwood as the Conservation Science Manager in 2017 where she conducts and manages complex research projects, supports monitoring and restoration initiatives, and cultivates impactful cross-sector partnerships.  Additionally, she serves on the boards of the Napa Valley Watershed Information and Conservation Council, the Society for Conservation GIS, and the Steering Committee of  the Conserved Lands Network Science Expansion.


Winemaker at Chateau Montelena

Matt Crafton leads the production team as Winemaker at Chateau Montelena. He not only oversees all production and operations, but also plays a critical role in strategy, education, and technology at the winery.


With a sense of determinate optimism and the need to further engage his right brain, Matt leaned away from a career in finance after earning a degree in Economics from the University of Virginia in 2003 and instead was drawn to winemaking. Starting at the very bottom in the cellar, Matt internalized the words from his father, “Smart people in the world are a dime a dozen. All you can do is control how hard you work.” Years later, after methodically building his toolbelt in wineries and vineyards on the east coast, Napa and Sonoma, Matt was hired as Enologist at Montelena upon finishing his degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis in 2008. He was promoted to Winemaker in 2014.

will drayton

Director of Technical Viticulture and Research Winemaking at Treasury Wine Estates (TWE)

Will Drayton is the Director of Technical Viticulture, Sustainability and Research at Treasury Wine Estates
(TWE), one of the world’s largest wine companies. Will has been with TWE since 2008, beginning in
viticulture at Etude Winery and has held many positions within the viticulture and winemaking groups.
In his current role, Will guides TWE’s US sustainability efforts in addition to technical and scientific aspects of winegrowing in California. He serves on the committee that guides the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, Chair of the PD-GWSS board for the CDFA and board member of the Los Carneros Water District.
Will holds a Master’s degree from UC Davis in Horticulture and Agronomy and undergraduate degree in
Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Will resides with his young family in Sebastopol, CA.

Stacey ellis

Capital Projects Manager Domaine Carneros Winery

Stacey has worked for Domaine Carneros for twenty-four years in numerous winemaking and facilities roles, most recently as Capital Projects Manager. She was the Sustainability Team Lead for many years and assisted in the sustainable certification of the winery and vineyard through Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, Bay Area Green Business, and the Napa Green programs. With the increased threats of power disruption from wildfires, earthquakes and other power outage events, she researched the feasibility and logistics of a Microgrid and in December 2019 the decision was made to install a Microgrid at the winery. Stacey has worked closely with Powerflex/EDF Renewables on the Microgrid installed at the winery.

Dr. Jay Famiglietti

Global Futures Professor, Arizona State University; USask GIWS Executive Director Emeritus; Previously NASA JPL Senior Water Scientist

Jay Famiglietti is a Global Futures Professor in the School of Sustainability, in the College of Global Futures at Arizona State University. He is Professor Emeritus from the University of Saskatchewan, where he was Executive Director of the Global Institute for Water Security, and where he held the Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing. He is currently advising the Silicon Valley tech startup, Waterplan, after serving as its founding Chief Scientist. Before moving to the University of Saskatchewan, he was Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology; he was a professor in Earth System Science and in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine; and he was a professor in Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Famiglietti and his research team use satellites to track changing water availability, and they pioneered the methods to detect groundwater depletion from space using the NASA GRACE mission. They have been working for many years towards improving hydrological prediction in climate models like those used in the IPCC. This work has driven Famiglietti’s interest in corporate water sustainability and stewardship, innovations in financial tools and data-driven reporting platforms, and international water diplomacy.

He is a former Chair of the Board of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI), a former Editor-in-Chief of Geophysical Research Letters, and he has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and UCLA. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and of the Geological Society of America, a recipient of AGU’s Hydrological Sciences Award, and a Distinguished Alumni of Tufts University.

Prof. Famiglietti is committed to science communication. He is regular advisor to state, provincial, U. S., Canadian and world leaders on regional and global water issues, he appears as a featured expert in television and film, and he hosts the podcast “What About Water?” He and his research group have published numerous papers and reports, and their work has been featured in major international news media.

Alex Farren

Founder and Chief Science Officer of BlueMorph, Inc

Alex Farren is the Founder and Chief Science Officer of BlueMorph, Inc. a company that specializes in the design of UV light delivery systems to disinfect the interior surfaces of rooms, containers and other defined spaces. He has over 10 years experience and 19 patents issued on the delivery of targeted UVC dose to a surface irrespective of distance and material. He is now focused on the use of FarUV to provide people-friendly solutions that can be used more effectively in the battle against pathogenic microorganism. Ultraviolet light has the advantages of being a sustainable disinfectant, consuming no water and using no chemicals.

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.

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.

Beth Forrestel, PhD

Asst. Professor of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis

Elisabeth Forrestel studies the phylogenetic and functional basis of drought and heat responses in grapes, and ways to mitigate climate change impacts in viticulture. Her work includes incorporating monitoring technology in vineyards and using remote sensing data to help paint a fuller picture of the environmental factors that most significantly affect plant growth, berry chemistry and, ultimately, wine quality.

Linzi Gay

President at Clif Family Winery & Farm

Linzi Gay has 18 years of experience in the Wine & Spirits industry. Receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, Linzi went on to begin her marketing career in Brand Management at Clif Bar & Company. Having grown up in the Napa Valley, she returned to her roots in 2004 to learn the wine business working on some of the largest wine brands in the Napa Valley. In 2007, she returned to the Clif Family and their recent startup wine and food business. She has spent the last 16 years in a leadership role at the company, transitioning to President in 2022. She is an active member of the Wine Women GM Forum, an organization that supports and empowers women in the wine industry and serves on the boards of the Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association, the Oak Knoll District Growers Association and the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.

Amy George

President at Earthly Labs

Amy George is founder and President of Earthly Labs, the leading provider of carbon capture technology solutions for small scale sources. Earthly Labs is a division of Chart Industries (NYSE: GTLS), a 150 year-old leader in highly engineered industrial equipment with a mission to power the “nexus of clean” – clean water, clean air, clean energy, clean food and beverage. Earthly Labs ® provides CiCi ®carbon capture hardware, software and services to capture and monitor CO2 from small scale emissions sources with more small installations than anyone in the world. For the past 20 years, George has delivered environmental impact through her entrepreneurial leadership at diverse ventures – from artificial intelligence software that reduced industrial emissions to local farmers markets to reusable food storage that reduced waste in landfills. Featured in Forbes, CNN and Wine Spectator, her products have been awarded “Top 100 Green Products for the World.” George holds two patents with 17 pending. She has an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship and environmental management from The University of Texas at Austin and is a mom of two boys, who are her inspiration.

Dr. Mark Gudgel

freelance journalist, author and professor

Dr. Mark Gudgel is an eighteen-year veteran of teaching high school English and presently serves as assistant professor of education at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. Gudgel is a Fulbright Scholar and a sought-after speaker. His 2012 TED talk is entitled “Empowering young people to repair the world.”

After honeymooning in Wine Country, Mark and his wife, Sonja, began a wine blog and soon after he was recruited as a regular correspondent for American Winery Guide. From there, Gudgel went on to write for Food & Spirits, Dine, Edible Omaha, and numerous other publications. Today, Gudgel is a regular contributor to Edible Marin & Wine Country and Napa Valley Life magazines. Gudgel’s book on teaching about the Holocaust, Think Higher Feel Deeper: Holocaust education in the secondary classroom, was released from Teachers College Press in 2021. His forthcoming book, The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries: How the Judgment of Paris put California wine on the map, focuses on the wine industry and issues that surround it, and will be released from History Press in May of 2023. Gudgel is also the president of the board of directors of the vinNEBRASKA Foundation, which raises money for local charities and offer scholarships to aspiring culinary arts students and wine professionals.

Presently, in addition to academic research and teaching, Gudgel is working on another book on the Napa Valley. When he isn’t teaching or writing, Gudgel runs marathons, volunteers at his kids’ school, and plays board games with his family. He lives in Omaha with his wife, Sonja, and their children, Titus and Zooey.

Jason Haas

Partner and General Manager at Tablas Creek Vineyard

Jason Haas is the second-generation proprietor of Tablas Creek, serving in the dual roles of Partner and General Manager. In his two decades at the winery his family founded in partnership with the Perrins of Chateau de Beaucastel, Jason has overseen the business, winemaking, sales and marketing.


In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, Jason has led the boards of directors of both the Rhone Rangers and the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and is a board member of Free the Grapes.


His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Decanter, Wine Industry Network and Wine Searcher. His photography has appeared in Wine Spectator, Forbes, the Washington Post, and Wine Enthusiast. He is principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, an eight-time finalist and two-time winner for the Wine Blog Award’s “Best Wine Blog”.


In recognition of his contributions to the Paso Robles wine community, he was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year and 2017 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Person of the Year. In 2022 he was named a Food & Wine Magazine Drinks Innovators of the Year.

Steve Heckeroth


Steve is an expert in designing, fabricating and building electric tractors and vehicles. His experience spans over 40 years in the renewable energy industry. He worked as the Director of Building Integrated Photovoltaics for the largest thin-film solar manufacturer in the world, designing PV roofing products from ’99 – ‘08. He contributed to several patents in the PV space. Steve founded MendoMotive and Electrac in 1993 to develop and build EVs and electric tractors. He founded Solectrac LLC in 2012 to take electric tractors into commercial production. He was the Principal Investigator in two grants completed in 2016 that moved the electric tractor closer to a commercially viable product. Steve converted the LLC to a California Benefit Corporation and Certified B-Corp in 2019. In 2021 Solectrac Inc. was acquired by Ideanomics to fund the rapid commercialization of electric tractors. Heckeroth holds several patents on electric tractor innovations and was the designer of the award winning e70N (narrow) electric vineyard tractor.


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.

Ivo Jeramaz

Winemaker and Vice President of Vineyards & Production at Grgich Hills Estate

Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers and as boy he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. However, he didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker. Ivo earned a master’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Zagreb and dreamed of coming to California to work as an engineer. In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley. He quickly fell in love with the scenic beauty of the area and became fascinated with wine making. Ivo decided on a career change and Mike immediately put him to work washing barrels. During his almost-three decades at Grgich Hills Ivo has worked his way up in responsibility, learning the classic style and art of winemaking from his uncle, supported by the tools of science and technology. “There’s nothing in the winery or vineyard that I haven’t done, not just for one day, but really worked at it,” he explains.

Sarah Keiser

Chief executive officer at wild oat hollow

Sarah Keiser is an innovative community builder. Through her vision and leadership, she develops and implements community grazing cooperatives, collaborative land stewardship for more resilient communities.

Under the banner Wild Oat Hollow, LLC, Sarah’s community-based, sustainable land stewarding concepts empower private landowners and public entities with the skills and support to use grazing ruminants, planned burns and community education to steward their land and commons to a healthy fire ecosystem.

As we continue to see large, annual wildfires in California and throughout the west, Sarah has expanded her collaboration to policy makers, fire marshals, Cafire and Indigenous Fire Ecologists to build out regional land stewardship projects.

Adam Koeppel

CEO of Agrology

Adam is the CEO of Agrology. His motivation is growing enough food to feed the future world. He focuses on discovering customer problems, developing products to solve them, and designing business models to get products in customers’ hands. While growing up in California, Adam enjoyed working in his godparents apple orchard and visiting many Central Valley farms during family road trips. He also experienced many droughts. This led to his interest in agricultural optimization and soil carbon respiration. Adam has experience at multiple early stage companies as well as corporate research labs. He worked on IoT connected cards at Capital One and has 48 granted patents and 69 applications under prosecution.

Chris Kubik

Senior Business Development Manager

Chris works directly with MCE’s service area key commercial customers and business partners. Chris helps energy customers evaluate and adopt the MCE commercial programs and services that will help them ensure that they achieve their energy, financial, and sustainability objectives for their organizations and stakeholders.


Chris brings 15 years of customer engagement experience in demand side clean energy technologies and services to MCE. Prior to joining the Public Affairs team at MCE in May 2015, Chris worked in the renewable energy programs group at Constellation Energy and was an early member of the California team at EnerNOC (acquired by Enel) starting in 2007. At these companies, she helped some of California’s largest energy customers make decisions about demand response, energy efficiency, energy storage, and other demand side services. Prior to that, Chris worked in the technology industry in strategic alliances and international business development in both California and in Europe.


Chris earned her M.I.A in International Banking and Finance at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and her B.A. in Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A resident of Marin County and a Deep Green customer herself, Chris loves to spend free time enjoying activities with her family and friends as well as on the hiking trails and biking routes around Mount Tam, and travelling.

Erica Löfving

Chief Sustainability Officer at Vintage Wine Estates

Erica Landin-Lofving is a native of Sweden but has lived and worked in France and Germany. A stint as a harvest intern 10 years ago set her on the path to settling in sunny Santa Barbara to lead sustainability at Vintage Wine Estates. In addition to running sustainability and public ESG reporting for the group, she engages heavily with operations on environmental and social initiatives in viticulture, winemaking and packaging. 


Erica has MSc in Biology and a broad background spanning from finance, international wine journalism (featured in Decanter, Condé Nast and The Wine Enthusiast), and as a sustainability consultant (including Systembolaget and the ICA grocery retail group). She never stops learning and has continuing education from UC Davis (viticulture and winemaking), UC Berkeley (Sustainable strategy and ESG), and Harvard (Sustainability Leadership), as well as being a certified ESG financial advisor. While she loves digging into numbers and solutions for water and energy use, her main message to Napa vintners is this: ditch the heavy wine bottles



For the past 15 years, Ben has been designing and implementing regenerative farming systems in a variety of ecosystems. A New Englander by birth, Ben fell in love with agriculture in the verdant fields of northern California in high school. Ever since, Ben has been managing farms, improving soils, and educating the next crop of environmental stewards with a holistic view of farming with natural systems. No stranger to Napa, he previously lived on Mt Veeder, where he fell in love with the oak and madrone woodlands and made friends with the local ravens. When Ben is not helping Napa’s vineyards adopt 21st century practices, he is spending time with his impressive wife and two wild children in the woods and on the water. Ben currently occupies Nisenan Territory and is a proud alumnus of Sterling College in Northeast Vermont, where he received a BA in Sustainable Agriculture.

Eric mayer

Co-Founder of napa char

Eric Mayer earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Stanford, where he studied fluid
mechanics and hydrology and published research improving global climate simulations. After
graduating and desiring to have a more immediate effect on the climate crisis, Eric went to
work for LightWater, a Florida-based biotechnology company focused on developing a scalable
algal bioreactor to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. However,
upon learning of biochar and the simple technologies already developed for its production, Eric
became convinced that biochar held more immediate promise for scalable carbon capture and
storage, and Napachar was born. Today, you can find Eric and Napachar in the vineyards and
forests of Napa and Sonoma, diverting pulled vines and forestry slash from burn piles to roast in
their customized biochar kilns, returning the carbon to the soil.

Steve McIntyre

Founder & Owner of Monterey Pacific

In 1982 Steve McIntyre received his master’s degree in enology from California State University, Fresno.  In 1982 he and his wife Kimberly moved to Carmel Valley, California to develop Galante Vineyards and Winery. In late 1983 Steve took a position with Smith & Hook Winery in Soledad, Calif. as an Assistant Winemaker, later returning to his agrarian roots to become viticulturist in 1985. 


In 1992 Steve and Kimberly founded Monterey Pacific, Inc., a viticulture management and development company, which rapidly grew from 432 acres to become the 5th largest vineyard management company in the U.S. at over 17,000 acres. 


In 2002, along with partners Mike Filice and Eric Laumann, Steve cofounded the Monterey Wine Company in King City, California. This12,000 ton state of the art custom wine processing facility developed a reputation for first class customer service and technological prowess. Among its many notable accomplishments MWC was the first commercial winery in the US to introduce Flash détente to the wine industry.


Steve and Kim founded McIntyre Vineyards on 1998 and produce small lot, handmade wines from their Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. They have a Tasting Studio in The Crossroads Shopping Center in Carmel and are developing a Hospitality Center at their Estate Vineyard on River Road near Gonzales.


Steve received the Wine Grape Grower of the Year from the California Association of Wine Grape Growers in 2013.


Steve is an appointed member and past chairman of the CDFA Pierces Disease Board, Chairman of its Product Development and Research Screening Committee(s); a member of the California Association of Wine Grape Growers, a graduate of Class 21 of the California Ag Leadership Program, previously a board member of the Big Sur Land Trust and currently serving as a board member of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Steve and Kim have 3 children and reside in Salinas, California.

Caren McNamara

CEO and Founder at Conscious Container

Caren founded Conscious Container, a California Benefit Corporation, to bring refillable glass bottle marketplace back into US economy and infrastructure to reduce single use packaging waste.  After 20 years as a successful project and change management consultant Caren was inspired by the circular economy solution refillable bottles presented around the world. She conducted multiple proof-of-concept pilots proving the demand from consumers and beverage producers for a refillable packaging option.  Caren quickly gained traction, collaboration with global and regional wine and beverage producers, glass manufacturers, policymakers, leading non-profits and now investors to scale this sustainable and economically viable refillable glass bottle business.  On the side Caren loves mountain sports, traveling and inspiring conversations over a glass of wine with family, friends or anyone who wants to dialog about refillable bottles! 



Sierra was first captivated by the natural world with help from her grandfather who has grown the most spectacular garden she’s ever known. This inspiration developed into a career path in the field of natural resource management beginning in 2013 when Sierra first joined the City of Napa’s Recycling Division where she helped usher in city-wide composting residentially and in our schools. She worked this job while studying for her B.S. in Conservation & Resource Studies from UC Berkeley where she had the opportunity to take a course on Agroecology that shifted her direction into agriculture. She started with an 85-hour permaculture design course in Oakland that inspired a career shift into viticulture. After a diverse array of experiences, Sierra found a greater calling to return to the Napa Valley to work alongside leaders for climate resiliency. When she is not working with growers to help them achieve their climate action goals, Sierra devotes her time toward training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and petting every cat she encounters.

Esther Mobley

Wine Critic at the San Francisco Chronicle

Esther Mobley is the wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle.  Prior to joining the Chronicle in 2015, she was an assistant editor at Wine Spectator magazine in New York, and has worked harvests at wineries in Napa Valley and Argentina. She was the 2019 Feature Writer of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.


Find her work at:


Jason Moulton

Director of Winemaking and Viticulture for Whitehall Lane Winery

Jason Moulton is the Director of Winemaking and Viticulture for Whitehall Lane Winery. A native of Illinois, Jason made his way to New Zealand and graduated from the Lincoln University Viticulture and Enology program just outside of Christchurch. He spent a number of years making wine in the Russian River, British Columbia, New Zealand, Bordeaux, South Africa, and finally to Napa Valley, where he recently completed his 23rd harvest. Through the years, Jason has ascended the ranks from Cellar Worker to Cellar Master, Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker. Apart from winemaking, he believes wine service, wine education, and sensory are of great importance and in 2017, became a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. As the Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Whitehall Lane, he oversees not only the winemaking production and vineyard management, but leads it in an effort to be environmentally sensitive and sustainable in all facets.

Tod Mostero

Director of Viticulture & Winemaking at Dominus Estate

Director of Viticulture and Winemaking, the French connection runs strong through Mostero, who studied in Bordeaux and trained at Château Haut-Brion, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. He worked with Baron Philippe de Rothschild in the Languedoc and at Almaviva in Chile before returning to his native California to join Dominus Estate in 2007.


“Christian Moueix has been my guide throughout my career and has been my greatest example of a perfect winemaker. He is clear, precise and is profoundly attached to the vineyard. He has guided me from the beginning.”


Vineyard Director at Paicines Ranch

For the past 25 years Kelly has managed, designed and consulted with vineyards, farms and ranches throughout the western USA, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. His work focuses on
designing and creating agricultural systems and practices that restore ecological health, increase biodiversity, create resiliency to climate change, and increase profitability and beauty.

Kelly is vineyard director at Paicines Ranch.

Paul Muller

Owner and operator of Full Belly Farm

Paul Muller has been growing certified organic vegetables since 1985 on Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley of northern California, north of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. He co-owns the operation with three other partners. It comprises of almost 400 acres where they grow 80 different crops in rotation (fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, grains, and flowers) along with products produced with the help of chickens, sheep, goats, and several cows. Full Belly successfully provides year-round employment for 80 people while selling the bulk of their produce within a 120-mile radius of the farm. They were already using cover crops and planting habitat areas for beneficial insects and wildlife. Now as a recipient of a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from the NRCS, Muller has turned part of his acreage into a no-till management site to see if they can improve the quality of the soil and sequester more carbon. This is in alignment with their goal to integrate farm production with sustainable long-term environmental stewardship.


The soil is the foundation for all they do at Full Belly Farm. Paul Muller explains on their website that the ability of plants to resist disease and non-beneficial insects as well as being as nutritious and tasty as can be depends tremendously on the fertility and over-all quality of the land it is grown on. Therefore, awareness and management of the soil ecology is their highest priority.

Andreas Neuman


Andreas is co-founder and CEO of UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture which specializes in leveraging the powerful capabilities of drones in order to develop and provide services which solve some of the most pressing challenges that growers face.


Prior to founding UAV-IQ, Andreas was a senior Air Force officer and an instructor pilot in its primary aerial refueling platform before moving into unmanned aviation, where he was instrumental in leading the design of programs and operational procedures to employ emerging remotely piloted vehicle technology on a global scale.


Andreas developed the roots of UAV-IQ while in UCLA’s Executive MBA program, and has since navigated complex regulatory and operational environments so UAV-IQ could become the first company in California authorized to conduct commercial drone operations in agriculture. Using his military experience where he developed practical solutions using new technology, he now has positioned UAV-IQ to lead the emerging market for drone-applied biological control featuring the release of beneficial insects and mites for agriculture pest control through its BioDrop service.



Over the past five years, he has spent thousands of hours in the field working closely with growers to learn about the problems they face at a deep level, and has earned the trust of renowned customers and partners by ensuring the technology and services UAV-IQ develops reliably meets their needs. He especially enjoys spending time at vineyards, where he can learn more about his hobby of winemaking while enjoying a glass after work. 

Christopher Ott, PE, QSD, QISP

Chief Executive Officer, Eaton Drilling

Mr. Ott is currently the CEO of Eaton Drilling Co LLC overseeing the transformation of the company from solely extraction based to a total water management company respecting the full water cycle. Previously, Mr. Ott managed Public Works and Environmental planning activities for the Dry Creek Rancheria. He developed and managed projects to restore both aquatic and terrestrial habitats for endangered species in the Russian River watershed. These activities have included projects to facilitate fish passage for migratory salmonids, restoration of riparian habitats and eradication of invasive flora, reduction of forest fuel loads using innovative natural processes in line with Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Methods. He implemented a wildfire mitigation plan that was instrumental in minimizing effects from the Kinkaid Fire and has successfully managed several large-scale grants for planning and implementation including complex permitting of restoration activities. Mr. Ott currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Northern California Resource Partnership, is involved with the Steering Committee for the Russian River Confluence and manages special projects for the Tribe such as an On-farm Groundwater Recharge project funded through the DWR FloodMAR program.

Maggie Purdie

Enologist at Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards

Maggie Purdie was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Growing up in a wine-loving family, she decided to pursue winemaking at an early age. As an industry at the intersection of plant sciences, nature, gastronomy, culture, language, and travel, Maggie knew there was always more to learn. After completing her degree in Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Adelaide, Australia, Maggie began her globe-trotting career by following the harvest and worked at Primo Estate (Australia), Colgin (Napa), Matetic (Chile), Fantesca (Napa), Don Martino (Argentina), Hamel Family (Sonoma) and Newton (Napa), to name a few.


In her spare time, Maggie enjoys backpacking, scuba diving and trekking. Maggie lives in Napa with her husband and large Siberian cat.

Jon Priest

Senior Winemaker & General Manager at Etude

A native son of California’s Central Coast, Jon Priest’s interest in wine was ignited after a very brief stint in a San Luis Obispo tasting room following college. Soon after, he took a job in wine sales at Wine Cask, a multi-faceted restaurant with an iconic reputation as Santa Barbara’s culinary and wine landmark. His experience there cemented his passion for wine and set him on a future career path with some
of California’s leading Pinot Noir producers.

Longing for a hands-on connection to the winemaking process, Priest joined Wild Horse Winery and Vineyards in 1989 as part of the harvest crush crew. He eventually worked his way up to become Winemaker in 1999 and oversaw the crafting of more than 30 varietals. In 2002, he received critical acclaim at Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles, particularly for his estate red wines, before joining Taz Vineyards in
Santa Barbara as Winemaker and Director of Operations in 2003. Etude’s Founding Winemaker Tony Soter personally tapped him to be his successor in the Spring of 2005.

For almost two decades, Priest has crafted Etude wines with a simple creed. “Pinot Noir exhibits true transparency to the land and conditions where it is grown, and that careful and attentive winegrowing and winemaking is necessary to capture this sense of place in the glass. Understanding soil types, microclimates, and how to be the very best steward of the land is also key to preserving our community, our ecosystem and our vineyard for generations,” he says.

Whether sourcing from our sustainably certified estate, Grace Benoist Ranch, located in the northwest corner of Sonoma’s Carneros, Fiddlestix, and North Canyon vineyards in California’s Central Coast; Yamhela in Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA, or in the Central Otago of New Zealand, he is focused on carefully highlighting the very best from each vineyard. This practice is elegantly revealed in every glass of Etude wine.

In addition to being a winemaker, Priest is among an elite group of California equestrians who compete in racing events covering great distances over legendary trails once crossed by earlier pioneers. Today, it’s not uncommon to spot him trail running or riding on horseback through Etude’s Carneros Estate Vineyards, keeping a close eye on the vines.

Martin Reyes, MW

Founder of Reyes Wine Group & Co-Founder of Napa RISE

A first-generation American, Martin has led a multifarious career across many sectors of the wine industry:  importer, director, educator, international judge, winemaker, and speaker. Highlights include: becoming the first Master of Wine of Mexican descent, being named one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top Forty under Forty, twice producing one of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s “US Best Cabernets”, twice being named one of Wine Business Monthly’s Industry Leaders, co-hosting The FourTop, a James Beard-awarded podcast, winning a writing competition on sustainability, and co-founding two significant non-profit initiatives focused on social equity (Wine Unify) and climate action (Napa RISE). Today, while continuing to volunteer his time in sustainability and equity projects, Martin is a partner at WineWise LLC, a well-respected importer of European wines in California.

Andrea Robinson, MS

Master Sommelier

Andrea Robinson is a world-renowned Master Sommelier who takes the seemingly daunting subject of wine and food, and brings it down to earth for all to understand and enjoy. Robinson, one of only 26 female Master Sommeliers in the world, couples this distinction with a strong culinary pedigree as a graduate and former Dean of the French Culinary Institute, and the winner of three James Beard Awards. In addition, she has been widely featured across leading national television networks and publications as the “go-to” expert for all things wine. She and her husband John live in Napa Valley.


Wine critic, Journalist and Wine Writer

Jancis Robinson was voted the world’s most influential wine critic in polls in the US, France and internationally in 2018 – although Jancis describes herself as a wine writer rather than a wine critic.  She founded in 2000, selling the award-winning, subscription-only wine website to US digital publisher Recurrent Ventures in 2021. She is now editor in chief and main contributor.  She has been wine correspondent for the Financial Times since 1990 and writes for this global publication and every Saturday. 

She is founder-editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine, co-author with Hugh Johnson of The World Atlas of Wine (nearly five million copies sold) and co-author of Wine Grapes, each of these books recognised as a standard reference worldwide. The 24-Hour Wine Expert (2017) is a slim paperback guide to the practical essentials of wine.


In 1984 she was the first person outside the wine trade to pass the rigorous Master of Wine exams and in 2003 she was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen, on whose cellar she advised from 2004 until 2022. In one week in April 2016 she was presented with France’s Officier du Mérite Agricole, the German VDP’s highest honour and, in the US, her fourth James Beard Award. She now has six, including being the only wine writer elevated to the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. In 2018 she launched her own hand-made, dishwasher-friendly, ideal wine glass and in 2021 became a trustee of the Gérard Basset Foundation designed to increase diversity and inclusion in the worlds of wine, spirits and hospitality though education.


She loves and lives for wine in all its glorious diversity, generally favouring balance and subtlety over sheer mass, having campaigned for associated sustainability issues since 2006.

Molly Sheppard

Assistant Winemaker & Environmental Manager at SPOTTSWOODE ESTATE VINEYARD & WINERY

Born and raised in Victoria, Australia, Molly Burroughs has been surrounded by wine for most of her life. She attended Curtin University in Western Australia, completing a degree in Agribusiness, Viticulture, and Enology. After working in wineries in Victoria, Margaret River, and the Yarra Valley, Molly made her first trip to Napa Valley as an intern for the 2017 vintage and fell in love with the beauty and dynamic nature of Napa Valley and its wines. She returned in 2018 and joined the Spottswoode winemaking team as a harvest intern, becoming part of the team full time in 2019. Today, working alongside Aron, Molly helps to oversee the farming of the historic Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and the making of the winery’s acclaimed wines.

Molly combines her passion for winemaking with a passion for the environment. She holds a Certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy through Harvard Business School Online and, in addition to helping craft the wines in both the vineyard and the cellar, she manages Spottswoode’s B Corp certification and environmental initiatives, which includes measuring our GHG emissions as part of our IWCA membership. Molly also sits on the board of Napa Green and is involved in many other community driven environmental initiatives.

Michael Silacci

winemaker at Opus One Winery

Michael Silacci did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up. So, he took a couple of years to travel through Asia and Europe to window-shop for a profession. When he arrived in France, his knowledge of French was limited to “bon voyage”. Someone suggested that if he wanted to eat well, speak French, and earn some francs, he should harvest grapes. Two-hour lunches and fine wine were all it took to lead him down the path to winemaking— and a life spent walking among the vines.

Assuming full responsibility for all aspects of vineyard management and winemaking, Michael was named Winemaker at Opus One in May 2003. He has been at Opus One since March of 2001, first serving as Director of Viticulture and Enology.

Prior to his current appointment, Michael spent six years as winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, one year as winemaker at King Estate in Oregon, and six years at Beaulieu Vineyard as enologist and viticulturist. He has also made wine in France and Chile. He holds a master’s degree in viticulture from U.C. Davis in addition to under-graduate degrees in enology and viticulture from U.C. Davis and the Université de Bordeaux.

Embracing a holistic vision of winegrowing as the ultimate expression of terroir, Michael ensures that the connection between viticulture and winemaking at Opus One is seamless, reflecting the philosophy of founders Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi.


Opus One produces ultra-premium wines at its Napa Valley winery in Oakville, California. The 2019 vintage was released on October 1st and is distributed in all 50 U.S. States and 90 countries worldwide.


Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow

Nikki Silvestri is, first and foremost, a mother of two, wife, and sci-fi nerd. Nikki is also a serial non-profit executive director and entrepreneur (currently the CEO and founder of Soil and Shadow), a board member of Greenpeace USA, and an international keynote speaker.


Nikki’s unique approach to inclusion, leadership and organizational development takes cues from nature, building models of “social fertility” to weave them into a Joy and Impact™ framework. Her work also encourages a rigorous and shame-free approach to acknowledging our societal shadows and blind spots, especially when attempting to balance the triple bottom line (ecology, economy, and equity) in times of uncertainty, climate/health feedback loops, and increasing volatility.


Nikki’s wide-ranging career has taken her from presentations at the White House and negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency to intimate workshops with local businesses and small retail organizing. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including ELLE Magazine’s Gold Award and OxFam America’s Act Local, Think Global Award, and she was named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.


You can find out more at and

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.

Patrick Spencer

Founder and Executive Director of the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance

Patrick Spencer received his BS in Environmental Sciences from Central Connecticut State University. He has spent his professional career promoting the “triple bottom line”, a business concept that posits firms should commit to measuring their social and environmental impact—in addition to their financial performance—rather than solely focusing on generating profit. He is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization the, Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, whose primary mission is to preserve and protect the Mediterranean cork forests and their inhabitants. Patrick is currently serving a four-year term on the Forest Stewardship Councils, International Board of Directors, representing the Environmental North Chamber. 



Sarah Unger is the Co-Founder of CULTIQUE, a cultural insights and strategy consultancy. Led by Unger and Founder/CEO Linda Ong, the premium boutique crafts bespoke cultural POVs for forward-looking businesses in media, entertainment, tech and consumer spaces. Launched in Fall 2020, CULTIQUE unites thought leaders, industry disruptors, academics, creatives and experts to maximize the impact of brands, content, and products in a world of constant change.


An award-winning cultural expert, Unger and her team of analysts are devoted to working with businesses such as AMEX GBT, Airbnb, YouTube, Apple, WarnerMedia, Disney/ABC, and NBCU navigate fast-changing times, recalibrate for new audiences, and cultivate growth in an uncertain world. Unger was named Media Play News’ 40 Under 40 list in October 2019 and has been a frequent commentator in media such as Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast.

Alexandria Villaseñor

co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising International

At the age of 13, Alexandria Villaseñor co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike movement, part of the youth led international Fridays for Future movement. Now, at the age of 16, Alexandria has become an internationally recognized environmental activist, public speaker, author and founder of several more initiatives, including the climate education focused non-profit, Earth Uprising International. She has addressed the Democratic National Convention, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. She is a contributing author to All We Can Save, an anthology of women climate leaders, and a child petitioner for the ground-breaking international complaint to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Children vs. Climate Crisis. Alexandria also serves on the advisory board for the national climate policy platform Evergreen Action, and she is the youngest Junior Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences. For her work, Alexandria has received the Earth Day Network Youth Leadership Award, The Rachel Carson Environmental Justice Award, the Common Good American Spirit Changemaker award and was included on Politico’s top 100 people influential in climate change policy list.

Barclay Webster

VP of Business Development & Trade at free flow wines

Barclay was fortunate to discover his career path in the wine industry at the young age of 19, while a student at the University of British Columbia. Over the past couple decades, Barclay has gained experience in all three tiers of the U.S. industry and completed a “Wine MBA” at the University of Adelaide in Australia. His diverse experience and cross-functional expertise, enables Barclay to quickly assess scenarios, implement proven best practices where applicable and develop unique solutions to address unprecedented challenges as needed. Barclay is proud to currently be Vice President of Business Development at Free Flow Wines. His primary responsibility is helping On-Premise operators discover how wine on tap can greatly improve the profitability, service speed, and environmental sustainability of their by-the-glass wine programs. Barclay is incredibly passionate about sustainability and is an active member of the National Reuse Network and Climate Reality Project Bay Area Chapter.

Kelli Audrey White

Sommelier, Author of Napa Valley, Then & Now and Director of Education at Meadowood

Kelli A. White is the Director of Education for the Wine Center at Meadowood in Napa Valley. Prior to that, her work as a sommelier, first at New York City’s Veritas and then at PRESS in St. Helena, has been covered by many of the wine industry’s top publications, and in 2013 she was named one of Food & Wine’s top sommeliers in the country. Her writing has appeared in World of Fine Wine, GuildSomm, Robb Report, Sommelier Journal, Le Pan, and Vinous, among others. At Vinous, Kelli was a key member of the maps team, and worked with famed Italian cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti to map many of the appellations of Napa Valley. In 2011, she co-founded a small wine brand called Houndstooth and she also made a brief appearance in 2015’s documentary Somm II: Into the Bottle. Her book, Napa Valley, Then & Now, was released in November of 2015 and has received enormous critical acclaim, winning both the IACP award for Best New Wine, Beer, or Spirits Book and a Graphis design award. In October of 2016, Kelli led a wine tasting seminar at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA. Between 2017 and 2019 she worked as Senior Staff Writer at the educational nonprofit GuildSomm, where her writing won her two coveted Roederer Awards. She was nominated for Sommelier/Wine Director of the Year (2017) by Wine Enthusiast magazine, who then named her a top 40 Under 40 wine influencer in 2018. On the book front, she contributed to the most recent additions of the World Atlas of Wine and the Oxford Companion to Wine, as well as the Academie du Vin Press works On California and On Champagne as well as the forthcoming On Burgundy


Chief Operations Officer at Renteria Vineyard Management

As the Chief of Operations Officer, Rob’s primary focus is on company-wide productivity and culture. Additionally, he also oversees the adaption and implementation of advanced vineyard technologies, irrigation and fertility programs, and the development of new vineyards. Rob is always looking for opportunities to grow and build on both company and client goals alongside managers, supervisors,
and field personnel. Rob’s commitment for producing high-quality fruit fuels his passion for looking into new technology and development for every vineyard.

Natalie Winkler

Viticulturist & Winemaker at Salvestrin Estate Vineyard and Winery

Natalie’s enthusiasm for viticulture and winemaking began in an inconspicuous way. She landed a gig at a local wine bar while attending the University of Oregon. Immediately she was smitten by the variety of wines grown all over the glove. A friend and mentor suggested working a harvest abroad. Recently graduated and fluent in Spanish, Natalie jumped on a plane to Spain in 2009 for vintage at Bodega Elias Mora in Toro. Once she had dirty vineyard boots and purple hands, suddenly her future became very clear.


Currently Natalie works as viticulturist and winemaker at Salvestrin Winery in St. Helena, Napa Valley where she spearheaded the transition of the Dr. Crane Vineyard to organic and regenerative farming. She continues experimenting with biodynamics. Natalie is very keen on farming as the key to premium wine quality.


She holds a BA in Spanish and Political Science (University of Oregon) and a Master’s in Viticulture and Enology from the University of Valladolid in Ribera del Duero, Spain.

2022 Speakers

We are grateful for our the incredible line up of speakers from our 2022 event series.