Stay tuned for a list of our exciting speakers, mentors and moderators coming soon.
We are grateful for our the incredible line up of speakers from our 2022 event series.
Maryam Ahmed (she/her/hers) is a creative entrepreneur based in Napa, CA. She specializes in community activation, strategic programs, and project management for food and wine brands with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and sustainability. Most often, her work takes place at the intersection of chefs, sommeliers, activists, sustainability experts, creatives, media, and visionary organizations. In 2022, 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.
Kayalin Akens-Irby is an impact-oriented strategist who has spent her career working with investors and companies to improve business operations and capitalize on new opportunities within an evolving market which increasingly values transparency, sustainability, and business ethics. Kayalin is currently Chief of Staff at Planet FWD, the leading carbon management platform for consumer brands to tackle climate change. She also serves as a Board Member for the Upcycled Food Association and a Climate Fellow for Amasia VC.
Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of The New York Times, a position he assumed in June 2004 after having covered wine with The Times’s tasting panel and in his Tastings column for the Dining section, and is also the interim chief restaurant critic for the Times. Asimov created the $25 and Under restaurant reviews in 1992 and wrote them through 2004. He is a co-author of “The New York Times Guide to Restaurants 2004,” the fifth edition of the guide. He has also reviewed takeout food for The Times in his To Go column and has offered commentary on food and wine on WQXR since 1999. Asimov is a graduate of Wesleyan University and did graduate work in American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is married to the editor of the New York Times Bestseller List, Deborah Hofmann, has two children, Jack and Peter, and lives in Manhattan.
Topical New York Times articles: “The Wine Business Sees a Problem: Millennials Aren’t Drinking Enough” | “In Napa Valley, Winemakers Fight Climate Change on All Fronts”
Jo Ann is the author of many publications on the intersection between biodiversity conservation and agriculture, including beneficial birds, the conservation mandates within the National Organic Program regulations, and the co-management of food safety and conservation. Before joining WFA in 2001, she addressed crop, livestock and fiber issues, was senior research editor for a book of California’s rare wildlife species, and was an organic farmer for over a decade. For her Master’s research in Environmental Studies Department at San Jose State University, she studied bird predation of insects in apple orchards. Her undergraduate degree is in Soil and Water Science from UC Davis. Jo Ann is based in Watsonville, CA.
As director of market transformation & development for the TRUE Zero Waste Certification, Stephanie Barger is responsible for the growth and development of the TRUE program. Barger helped launch TRUE, which is owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) in 2017. GBCI is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally and administers all LEED green building certifications. TRUE was acquired by GBCI in 2016 and was previously known as U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, which Barger formed in January 2012.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from San Diego State University. In her spare time, Barger raises guide dog puppies for the blind and advocates for humane treatment of all creatures great and small. She lives in Penryn California.
Bill Bennett is the Napa Green Winery Project Engineer. He is a trained and licensed as a Civil Engineer, and draws on decades of experience with commercial and industrial resource use to help Napa County wineries understand, manage, and reduce energy and water use. Beginning in 2016, Bill led the design and facilitation of “Integrated Resource Audits” for wineries seeking Napa Green Winery certification or recertification. These one-stop, user friendly energy, water and waste evaluations baseline and track resource efficiency over time and provide targeted recommendations for both cost and resource savings. With more than 160 reviews to date, Bill has developed a broad portfolio of operational guidance and recommendations which have helped Napa Green wineries save more than $4 million in energy costs and over 27 million gallons of water (as of July 2021)
Philana Bouvier is the President of Demeine Estates. She provides leadership and vision in creating a best-in-class sales and marketing organization. Demeine Estates serves and supports the dynamic and growing portfolio of the Lawrence family and Managing Partner, Carlton McCoy Jr. owned fine wine estates and import supplier partners. The collection includes Heitz Cellar, Burgess, Stony Hill, Brendel, Ink Grade, Champagne Legras & Haas, and additional esteemed international producers in France and Italy.
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.
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.
Taylor Kate Brown is an independent reporter and editor with a decade of experience at online news outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle and BBC News. She has a knack for explaining complex systems and turning deep research into engaging stories.
As the founder of Reusable Media, she reports stories on efforts to slow climate change, writes a weekly dispatch on local climate action and develops resources that readers can use in their own communities.
Birgit Cameron is the Head of, CA-based Patagonia Provisions, a division of Patagonia Works, founded in 2012 by Patagonia founder/owner Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia former CEO Rose Marcario. Patagonia Provisions was created as a way to broaden Patagonia’s environmental mission by partnering with forward-thinking farmers, ranchers and fisherman and offers a variety of regeneratively sourced organic food.
Under Birgit’s direction, Patagonia Provisions has introduced a varied line of mission-based food products intended to address critical environmental issues while establishing a model to help restore the food chain. Patagonia Provisions has doubled its sales each year, as Birgit has rapidly expanded distribution into national grocery stores and outdoor lifestyle chains. In addition, she has introduced Patagonia Provisions to international markets in Europe and Asia. Birgit has been a fervent advocate, financial supporter, and partner to a variety of like-minded organizations who follow a similar mission as Patagonia’s: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”
Tom is not a gentleman farmer, but rather one who loves the work while caring for wildlife and the natural environment along the way. After arriving in the Napa Valley in 1974 Tom mastered the art of wine growing while working for Sovereign Management Company, El Retiro Vineyards (now Screaming Eagle), and Spring Mountain Vineyards. Following these experiences, he founded his own company, Clark Vineyard Management in 1979.
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.
Remi Cohen is the CEO of Domaine Carneros. In 2020, Remi Cohen joined the Domaine Carneros family as CEO, taking over from illustrious founding winemaker and former CEO Eileen Crane and continuing the winery’s tradition of visionary female leadership. Remi has 20 years of wine industry experience and began her career on the winemaking and viticulture side before pursuing her MBA in finance to complement her master’s in viticulture from UC Davis. Remi spent the first 10 years of her career working in the Carneros AVA, with stints at Saintsbury, Bouchaine, and Merryvale and Starmont, culminating with her role as Vice President of Merryvale. Remi was most recently at Cliff Lede Vineyards, where she was promoted from Director of Winemaking and Vineyards to VP of Operations to COO. After ten years with Cliff Lede, Remi’s passion for Carneros has brought her full circle to Domaine Carneros, where she is especially focused on furthering the winery’s fastidious commitment to sustainability.
The author of five books on wine, Katherine currently works across the disciplines of communications, digital media, journalism, and branding. She has been honored with both a James Beard Award and an IACP Award, tapped as a Louis Roederer International Wine Writer finalist, and was named to the “Imbibe 75” list of “the people, places and flavors that will help shape the way we all drink.”
As Creator, Executive Producer, and Host of The Four Top, Katherine is deeply involved in the issues that matter most to the wine and food industries. This award-winning podcast, founded in 2016, streams on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your digital audio.
Tim Colonnese is President, CEO and founder of KTM Industries, a Michigan-based manufacturer of innovative, compostable, biobased packaging materials. In addition to the 25 years of leading KTM, Tim was the Managing Director for subsidiaries of US-based technology companies throughout the Asian Pacific rim based in Tokyo and Hong Kong, and held other senior roles in San Francisco, Miami and New York. Under his guidance, KTM has won numerous awards for environmental technology, entrepreneurial successes, and corporate responsibility. He is currently a finalist in E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year program. Outside of work, Tim is a professional musician, avid golfer and fitness enthusiast. He and his wife, Paige, have two daughters, Carly and Caity (who was married this past Saturday!).
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.
Cristina is the Project Manager at Porto Protocol. She is an Environmental Engineer, a Safety and Health at Work Advanced Technician and holds a Post-Graduation in Management. She has built most of her career in an academic setting, at Católica University, in Porto, first as a teacher and as the scientific coordinator for the Environmental Quality Specialized Course and later on, as Advanced Training Manager. Cristina always worked in environmental consultancy across various industries, alongside her educational path, and still finds the time to manage, along with her family, their Vinho Verde project.
Erik Dodd has been farming vineyards in the Napa Valley since 2004. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest with a background in Hydrology and experience as a Backcountry Ranger, he migrated south for an opportunity to work year-round for Wight Vineyard Management and try his hand at the wine industry. Together with his wife, he also owns and operates Hayfork Wine Co., a small wine company producing heritage California varietals and Cabernet Sauvignon from the family’s Lewelling Ranch in St. Helena. Erik’s common sense leadership skills and his love for the outdoors have helped him find natural success as a vineyard manager.
Jim has led Seavey’s winemaking since 2011 after stints at Robert Mondavi Winery and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars where he became inspired to focus on Bordeaux varietals. Jim combines rich knowledge of winemaking from around the world with deep technical understanding of vineyards and wine, receiving his Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis. About Seavey, Jim says: “I delight in the rugged terraces and steep vineyards here, which provide constant opportunities to refine our cultivation methods, And in our small team’s relentless pursuit of crafting unmistakable, world-class wines.” Jim is also passionate about wine education and produces an informative and entertaining Inside Winemaking Podcast.
From an early age, Fintan “Fin” du Fresne watched some of the finest Pinot Noir in the world show up on his doorstep in the form of media samples. As the son of prominent New Zealand wine journalist Karl du Fresne, Fin grew up with wine integrated into his life. Originally from the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island, Fin graduated from Victoria University of Wellington at the age of twenty with a degree in geology. Most graduates of the program headed straight to work on an oil rig, but Fin was not interested in that life. He was interested in learning more about and exploring the relationship between land and how it affected grape growing, essentially the concept of how geology affected terroir, so he changed tracks and obtained a post-graduate degree in Viticulture and Enology at Lincoln University in Canterbury.
In 2006, Fin joined Chamisal Vineyards, a premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay winery in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo County, as winemaker.
Sam Earnshaw studied Forestry at U.C. Berkeley, graduating in 1974. In the mid-1980’s Sam and his wife Jo Ann Baumgartner started their own farm, Neptune Farms, and marketed organic vegetables and cut flowers to retail stores, farmers markets and wholesalers in the local area.
In 1992, Sam began working as Lighthouse Farm coordinator for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), sponsoring monthly meetings and field tours for farmers, sharing techniques in biologically based farming techniques. Sam’s work with local growers in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Salinas and Hollister through this program led to CAFF’s involvement in land use and water issues on the Central Coast.
Sam is a Technical Service Provider (TSP) with NRCS and is currently working on the design and installation of hedgerows, grassed waterways, filter strips and riparian restoration on farms. He has been planting conservation plantings on farms since 1996 and is the author of Hedgerows and Farmscaping for California Agriculture-A Resource Guide for Farmers.
Vineyard Director at Dominus Estate, Guillaume Eicholz has life-long connections in wine through his family-owned estate in Meursault, France. At age 14 he interned with Michel Bouzereau, a well-known Burgundian wine grower who impressed the importance of proper vine cultivation in making great wine. This inspired Guillaume to attend a four-year viticulture and oenology program in Beaune followed by two years studying in Montpellier.
During multiple internships with Herve and Claude Muzard (Santenay-Burgundy) he focused on precise and sustainable viticulture.
In 2009, Guillaume married his wife Tiffany and they settled in Napa Valley. That same year, he was hired by Christian Moueix as Vineyard Director to oversee vineyard operations at Dominus Estate and Ulysses Vineyard. Today, Guillaume feels deeply rooted in the vineyards and is focused not only on improving their terroirs but also the lives of the people who tend them.
Tiffany Eicholz is Marketing & US Business Development Manager at Tonnellerie Berger & Fils since 2015. She is responsible for all business opportunities and market growth in North America while overseeing the communication and marketing strategy for the company.
Tiffany began her career in the wine industry working alongside renowned winemaker Andy Erickson at Napa Valley Think Tank, an analytical laboratory and resource center for winemakers in the Napa Valley. As Business Manager, Tiffany was in charge of customer relations as well as establishing strategic partnerships to grow the business. In 2012 Tiffany joined Laffort USA, the world leader of winemaking products to manage the retail store and coordinate all aspects of marketing and communications for North America.
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.
Originally from Mumbai, Priyanka French is one of the few female Indians to hold a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology from University of California, Davis. She built her experience working at wineries in Napa as well as traveling through the regions of Burgundy, Cognac, Bordeaux and New Zealand. Prior to joining Signorello Estate as Winemaker, she worked at Dalla Valle Vineyards where she had a chance to clearly understand the importance of female led businesses and initiatives. Her winemaking style focusses on precision viticulture and restrained winemaking that allows fruit expression as dictated by the site. In her new role, she hopes to open avenues for diversity in the industry and always remain a supporter of female driven enterprises.
Dr. Jonathan Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.
Jon’s groundbreaking research and insights have led him to become a trusted advisor to governments, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders around the world. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to our understanding of global ecosystems, food security and the environment, climate change, and the sustainability of the world’s resources. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many highly cited works in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him a Highly Cited Researcher in ecology and environmental science, placing him among the top 1 percent most cited global scientists.
Before joining the Napa County RCD, Miguel worked for the Coachella Valley and the Inland Empire RCDs developing and implementing diverse sustainable agriculture programs. He has a PhD in Environmental Sciences and a B.S. in Chemistry from UC Riverside. Miguel provides on-farm technical assistance and planning related to soil health, erosion control, and irrigation management. He also designs educational programs aiming at providing local growers with valuable information on various topics related to sustainable agriculture. Miguel believes the future well-being of our local water resources and the world’s food security lies heavily on the implementation of adequate sustainable agriculture practices today. By working one-on-one with growers, he believes true change can be attained. When not at the RCD, Miguel enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two kids.
Julien Gervreau is the Director of Sustainability Implementation & Climate Action Planning at Sensiba San Filippo and Founding Board Member of International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA). He is a sustainable strategy, innovation, and operations professional with 15+ years of experience working with executive leadership to develop and implement successful environmental stewardship and social impact strategies. Values and data-driven professional adept at integrating systems thinking, financial analysis and related frameworks that make the business case for long-term investment in climate mitigation and resilience.
He has been featured as a speaker at corporate sustainability events including Net Impact, Sustainable Brands, SXSW Eco, Environmental Leader, Solar Power International, Global Climate Action Summit, Berkshire Hathaway Sustainability Summit, Sustainable Agriculture Summit, etc.
Dr. Peter Gleick is a leading scientist, innovator, and communicator on global water and climate issues. He co-founded the Pacific Institute in Oakland, one of the most innovative, independent non-governmental organizations addressing the connections between the environment and global sustainability. Dr. Gleick’s work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking. Gleick pioneered the concept of the “soft path for water,” developed the idea of “peak water,” and has written about the need for a “local water movement.” Among many other honors, Gleick received the prestigious MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, the U.S. Water Prize, and has been named “a visionary on the environment” by the BBC. He was elected in 2006 to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 2018 he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.
Greg Gonzalez grew up in Oregon, splitting time between Eugene and Junction City where he worked on his family’s 10-acre Filbert farm (hazelnuts). From an early age, he excelled at soccer and eventually earned dual scholarships (academic and sports) to South Western Oregon Community College and California State University Monterey Bay. In 2008, he earned his BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences, with emphasis on Geographic Information Systems, Minor – Earth Systems, Sciences, Technology, and Policy.
Greg joined Scheid in 2009 as a harvest intern. Eight months later, he was a Ranch Supervisor handling Geographic Information Sciences & Technologies. After spending 12 years with Scheid developing and implementing agricultural technologies, advanced precision viticultural, and mechanization as the Director of Vineyard Operations. March of 2021 Greg accepted an opportunity to lead the farming operations in Santa Barbara County for Foley Family Farms, a subsidiary company to Foley Family Wines.
Daniel is a versatile, creative, and persistent sales professional with an excellent sense of urgency for immediate and quality results. He has proven effectiveness in both a fast-paced startup environment and large enterprises. He works in sales for COIL, a premier, full service electrical installer specializing in new energy installations. Prior to his work at COIL, he was an Account Executive at Crexi. He earned a Bachelors in English Language and Literature/Letters from the University of Delaware.
Andrew Isaacs joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1999. In 2000 he was appointed Executive Director of UC Berkeley’s Management of Technology Program, the joint program of the Haas School of Business and College of Engineering. He co-founded UC Berkeley’s Center for Energy and Environmental Innovation in 2005, and since 2006 has served as Faculty Director of UC Berkeley Executive Education.
Isaacs teaches five MBA and Executive-level courses at UC Berkeley, and has instructed over 2,000 students.
In addition to his work at UC Berkeley, Isaacs has taught Executive-level courses for more than 75 corporations, government agencies and other groups in the US, Europe and Asia. His courses focus on leadership, marketing, and technology strategy.
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.
Julie started Tres Sabores in 1999 as a single vineyard estate and soon began making her own wine. She speaks and participates in seminars on the subject of Women in Wine for a variety of clients and at educational venues around the country. She is currently active in C.C.O.F (California Certified Organic Farms), Napa Green, and the Rutherford Dust Society. At the end of the day, she sleeps best if she feels that she has been a thoughtful and energetic steward of the land and has capped off the day with a good glass of wine!
Nathalie Juré Buckland was born and raised in La Sarthe, The Land of Rillettes, in France. After interviewing her while she was pulling hoses during her internship at Errazuriz in Chile, Michael Silacci invited her to intern at Opus One in 2004. Nathalie did a second internship in 2005 before joining the team full-time. She is now Director of Viticulture at Opus One Winery and is responsible for all aspects of vineyard management, working directly with Michael.
Nathalie earned a master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie in Montpellier. She completed internships in Bordeaux at Château Latour and in Côte-Rôtie.
Opus One produces ultra-premium wines at its Napa Valley winery in Oakville, California. The 2018 vintage is distributed in all 50 U.S. States and 90 countries worldwide.
Susan Keechler has worked in the wine industry for more than 25 years. She joined Global Package three years ago and has been a leading member of the sales team, working closely with Erica Harrop whom she’s known since 2008. She worked for Sebastiani Vineyards and then with Wine Business Monthly for 13 years as Account Executive. She has also served as Marketing Specialist with Sonoma Media Investments. Her background has made her accomplished in every facet of the wine business, from brand building and creative packaging to expertise in all marketing channels, including social media.
Working with Estal, Global Package’s Spanish supply partner, and bringing Estal’s Wild Glass line of 100% sustainable “real cycled” glass bottles to the North American market has been most gratifying. Wild Glass uses 100% recycled glass and its production method reduces energy use and CO2 emissions. It also results in fewer discards since the cosmetic (aesthetic) defects are accepted as part of the organic beauty of the glass, giving the bottles the look of handmade works of art.
Jeff Kuhlman leads the investment portfolio consulting group at First Republic Investment Management. He is a Senior Vice President focused on driving accessibility of goals-based and values-aligned investment solutions. In this role, he provides research, oversight, and strategic guidance for the firm’s sustainable and responsible investing platform and digital advisory solution. He works with nonprofit foundations and endowments, helping them integrate environmental, social, and governance goals into their investment policy statement and portfolio.
Active in his local community, Jeff serves on the Board of Governors for the CFA Society of Los Angeles and chairs the society’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Advisory Council. He is an advocate for financial literacy and regularly volunteers as an instructor for Operation Hope and Americorps.
Cindy Leonard leads the SGWS Fine Wines Divisions as Executive Vice President, General Manager of Fine Wines. Prior to this promotion, Cindy served as SVP Supplier Management and Business Development (SMBD) team leading the SMBD team.
“During her 20 years with Southern Glazer’s, Cindy has proven herself to be a results-oriented team player who has worked to develop a bench of solid relationships across our diverse supplier base,” commented Gene Sullivan. “I can’t think of a better person to build on the incredible foundation that Steve Slater & Mel Dick has established, while working to take our fine wine business to new levels.”
Cindy earned her BA Degree from Arizona State University. She also holds her Court of Master Sommeliers, Level One Certification and a Wine & Spirit Education Trust 2 Certification. Cindy also graduated from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Emerging Leaders Program in 2018.
She serves on the WSWA Communications, Federal Affairs, Talent & Diversity Councils. She is an active mentor in the SGWS Exceptional Leaders Program for future leaders.
Carolina Leonhardt is the Sr. Manager of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar & Company and has been on the company’s sustainability team for the last 5 years. In her role, Carolina leads strategy development, integration, and implementation of sustainability programs, communications, and employee engagement in the areas of climate and energy, zero waste, organic and sustainable sourcing, and natural resource conservation. She also leads cross-functional efforts in support of the company’s goals to transition to sustainable packaging and become net positive on climate by 2030. Carolina has worked in the sustainability field for over 15 years with experience in the non-profit, private consulting, and government sectors. She holds a Bachelor of International Studies from American University and is a TRUE Zero Waste Advisor.
Robin Lail grew up among the vineyards of Inglenook, founded in 1879 by her great-granduncle, Gustave Niebaum, who pioneered fine winemaking in the Napa Valley. Inglenook was passed down to Robin’s grandfather and then to her father, John Daniel Jr., a true innovator (he was the first to put ‘Napa Valley’ on his labels, and pioneered varietal labeling) and wine industry leader who produced legendary wines. While Robin was not curried to work in the wine business in her youth, she was surrounded by it, and touched by her dad’s passion and focus on tradition and excellence.
In the mid-nineties, Robin sold out of her partnerships with a vision of bringing her family’s exciting legacy into the 21st Century. Her dream of creating her own extraordinary wines set flight in 1995 when she and her two daughters, Erin and Shannon, set out on their own by launching Lail Vineyards. Today, the venture carries forth the stories and patina of over 135 years of winemaking in the Napa Valley. The family continues its passionate quest to produce legendary wines from the blend of its ingredients – the land, the seasons, the team, and the spirit of the generations who led the way.
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.
Peter Marks, Master of Wine, is an internationally respected wine industry consultant and educator based in the Napa Valley. Marks is one of only 52 Masters of Wine residing in the United States and one of 390 in the world. The prestigious Master of Wine (MW) title is bestowed by the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) in London. Marks received his MW designation in 1995 when he became the 10th American to pass. That year he also became the first American to receive the Madame Bollinger Foundation Award, which is bestowed annually to the MW candidate with the highest blind tasting score.
His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s gone on to write 20 books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. He serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has won the Gandhi Peace Prize as well as honorary degrees from 20 colleges and universities. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel, in the Swedish Parliament. Foreign Policy named him to its inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.
Caren founded Conscious Container, a California Benefit Corporation, in 2017 to bring refillable glass bottle marketplace back into US economy and infrastructure to reduce single use packaging waste.
After 20 year as a successful project and change management consultant Caren was inspired by the circular economy solution refillable bottles presented, standing up several proof-of-concept collection pilots proving the demand from consumers and producers for refillables. Caren quickly gained traction, collaboration with global beverage producers and glass manufacturers, policymakers, leading non-profits and investors to scale this sustainable and economically viable refillable glass bottle business.
On the side Caren loves mountain sports, barrel-aged craft beers, and connecting with family, friends and anyone who wants to dialog about refillables!
Marta Mendonca is the Manager at Porto Protocol. Marta has built most of her career in Marketing & Sales, having worked with various brands, countries, industries and companies. In the past few years, before joining Porto Protocol, Marta was working with her own brand and consultancy project, through which she took sustainability and climate advocacy to schools, events and companies, promoting awareness and encouraging change. Marta holds a degree in International Relations, a Post-Graduation in Marketing and a Master in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Mike Miyaki has been providing accessibility services since 2010. He has knowledge in the complexity of the various access standards including the California Building Code (CBC), ADA and Fair Housing Act. He has advised consumers, business owners, architects, attorneys and State and Local Government agencies, with a wide range of services which include site inspections, plan check reviews, and expert services. He also had a unique experience with assisting a disabled individual on a daily basis, working with Kim Blackseth, a pioneer in the disabled access community.
Esther Mobley is the wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. She joined the paper in 2015 to cover California wine, beer and spirits, a beat that has included reporting on California wildfires, reviewing local bars, profiling undocumented vineyard workers, naming an annual Winemaker of the Year and analyzing the movements of California’s $40 billion wine industry. She publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter called Drinking with Esther.
In 2019, Esther was named Feature Writer of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards. The previous year, she won first place in the California News Publishers Association Awards Print Contest for feature writing, for her story about a winery owned by a California cult, and also first place for agricultural reporting, for her writing on Napa Valley’s land-use controversies. Her work was recognized as the Best Writing on Beer, Wine or Spirits by the Association of Food Journalists in 2017 and 2019. She studied English literature at Smith College.
For over three decades in the wine industry, Juan Moreno Jr. has dedicated himself to excellence in his work and respect for the land—from the cellar to overall facility management. A natural leader, Juan is skilled in all aspects of winery operations from budgeting to project management. His interest and expertise in sustainable practices helped Rutherford Hill Winery gain certification in the Napa Green Program and he plays an active role in conserving natural resources.
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.”
Kelly Mulville is the Vineyard director at Paicines Ranch. For the past 25 years Kelly has managed and consulted with vineyards, farms and ranches throughout the western USA, Spain, Australia and China. In 2012 he was sponsored by government and wine industry organizations to give presentations and workshops on extended-season vineyard grazing throughout Australia and New Zealand. His studies include Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz, Viticulture at UC Davis and Holistic Management with Allan Savory. His work is focused on combining experience in farming and viticulture with holistic management in order to design and manage more ecologically, socially and economically sound farming practices. This usually involves a considerable amount of help from livestock.
Jason prides himself in providing accurate and realistic solutions, utilizing 10 years’ experience as a solar consultant and system designer. Jason thoroughly enjoys “solving the puzzle”. Every business and its facility are unique; a solar system needs to be custom designed to achieve the specific goals and expected results. Jason’s has a depth of experience with renewable energy design, utility and rate strategies, and customer service, result in beautifully designed systems that exceed expectations.
Prof. Kimberly Nicholas is a sustainability scientist at Lund University in Sweden. She has published over 55 articles on climate and sustainability in leading peer-reviewed journals; writes for publications such as Elle, The Guardian, Scientific American, and New Scientist; and is the author of UNDER THE SKY WE MAKE: How to be Human in a Warming World, and the monthly climate newsletter We Can Fix It. She gives lectures and moderates at about 75 international meetings and organizations each year across public policy, civil society, arts and culture, the wine industry, foundations, and academia. Her work has been featured by outlets including the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Vox, and USA Today. Born and raised on her family’s vineyard in Sonoma, California, she studied the effect of climate change on the California wine industry for her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University.
James has always had a passion for agronomy and technology. He participated in a project at Nichols Farms in 2013 aiming to provide better remote monitoring solutions. The project grew from a pure monitoring project into a full farm irrigation automation trial. After several years of development, James saw the potential of the technology and decided to start Hotspot Ag to expand deployments outside of Nichols Farms. He holds a degree from UC Davis in Crop Science and Management and continues to manage the Nichols’ farming operations.
Nicolas Quille was most recently General Manager and Head Winemaker of Banfi Vintners’ boutique portfolio of wineries in the Northwest U.S. He spent the last 26 years in a variety of winegrowing positions in both France and the United States. In addition to his role with Banfi, his U.S. experience includes winegrowing and management positions with Pacific Rim and Bonny Doon. Prior to moving to the United States, Nicolas worked in Burgundy (Antonin Rodet and Domaine Prieur), Provence (Domaine de la Courtade), Champagne (Laurent Perrier) and Portugal (Taylor’s Port). He holds a master’s degree in Enology from the University of Dijon, Burgundy, a master’s degree in Sparkling Winery Management from the University of Reims, Champagne, an MBA from the University of Washington and is a member of the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine.
Sam Parra, Co-Chair & Procurement at AHIVOY,was born and raised in St. Helena, CA, Sam was destined to be in the wine industry. After graduating from St. Helena High School he attended Napa Valley College before transferring to Sonoma St University. Sam has been active with philanthropic organizations for decades including in his hometown with the St. Helena IOOF Lodge. He also volunteered for the Napa Valley Wine Auction, Yountville Veterans Home and the Napa Valley Film Festival. After 15 years in the wine industry through Napa and Sonoma counties, Sam and his wife moved to the Willamette Valley in the summer of 2016. He continued his philanthropic efforts in Oregon volunteering for Salud! plus the Lutheran Community Services Northwest. In 2019 he launched PARRA Wine Co where his single vineyard Oregon wines will be sold strictly through his mailing list. In his spare time Sam loves to hike, cook, attending live music shows, organizing wine tasting groups and traveling. He has traveled through England, Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal. Next on his list Italy and Switzerland. Sam lives in Dallas, OR with his wife Allison and their Boston Terrier Noelle.
Heather Paulsen holds a BA degree in Psychology, Art, and Anthropology, and MS degrees in Community Development and International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. She earned her Project Management Certificate at University of California, Berkeley, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Before founding HPC, Heather worked in healthcare administration and nonprofit management, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic.
Heather has been a featured speaker at the B Corp Champions Retreat (Toronto, 2017), University of California-Davis, Dominican University, Sustainable Enterprise Marin, Good Morning Truckee, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Leadership Mendocino, Leadership Petaluma, several Rotary Clubs in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, and has appeared on KZYX’s Mendocino Works and Corporations & Democracy shows. She has authored articles for B the Change Media and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
An industry changemaker and compassionate role model, Tonya Pitts is known globally as a multi-talented wine professional who catapults wineries, winemakers and brands into the mainstream. Equally important, she is a leader who champions diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, food and beverage industries. Tonya has been a judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition for five years in a row, a speaker at Culinary Institute of America Summit for Beverage Professionals, a tasting panelist for Wine & Spirits Magazine and an advisor for the Fine Minds4Fine Wines think tank in Europe. In 2017, she was named to the Top 40 African American Tastemakers (Under/Over) 40 list. Of special note, Tonya has been instrumental in the annual Wine Spectator list for more than a decade, including receiving awards for her expansive and inclusive wine program.
His role supports the mission of Lallemand Plant Care to bring value to growers through microorganism-based solutions. Matt was born and raised on the fertile soils of the Des Moines Lobe. He gained appreciation for the land from a young age while working as sixth generation on the family farm. This led to a research degree program at the University of Minnesota studying agronomy, agroecology, and plant physiology. After university, Matt was attracted to Lallemand Plant Care as their values align with the modern grower – pride in private ownership with a focus on stewardship for the next generations. Matt’s interests include applying microorganism technology to prescriptive agriculture, striving for the intersection of theory and practice. He believes new ideas and innovations are the key to preserving the soil, our non-renewable resource.
An internationally recognized wine professional and speaker, Martin has judged at Texsom International Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge (Panel Chair), Decanter World Wine Awards, USA Wine Ratings, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, and Taittinger Sommelier d’Or Competition, Mexico; and most recently, the James Beard Foundation, and recently won Best Paper Award at the AAWE Conference, Vienna 2019 for his research in wine purchasing behavior. He is a Speaker/Moderator & Organizer for IBWSS, Porto Protocol, Green Wine Future, and 2022 Napa THRIVES Symposium as well as co-hosts he James-Beard award-winning podcast, The Four Top.
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. Andrea’s wine mantra is:
“Wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good–
…wine makes food taste better–
…and it’s fun!”
Tom Shapland, PhD, is the co-founder and CEO of Tule Technologies, an agtech company that combines agronomic expertise with cutting-edge artificial intelligence to provide growers with irrigation decision support. Tule’s UC Davis research-based sensor technology measures the Actual Evapotranspiration (ETa) of a field. Tule’s latest offering, Tule Vision, enables grape growers to take midday Leaf Water Potential readings using a smartphone camera.
Molly Sheppard is the Educational Winemaker & Sustainability Manager at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery located in St Helena, Napa Valley. Growing up in Australia, Molly studied Molecular Genetics at the University of Melbourne before completing her degree in Agribusiness, Viticulture & Enology at Curtin University in Western Australia. After working in wineries in Victoria, Margaret River and the Yara Valley, Molly made her first trip to Napa Valley as an intern for the 2017 vintage and has been in the Napa Valley ever since, joining the Spottswoode team in 2018.
In this unique, hybrid role, Molly combines her passions for winemaking, environmental stewardship, and communications by helping craft the wines in both the vineyard and cellar, connecting with our customers in domestic and international markets, and managing Spottswoode’s many environmental and social initiatives.
Her passion for climate action and regenerative farming methods as well as her eye for detail in the cellar and constant pursuit of excellence has lead her to this very niche role at Spottswoode. When away from the winery, Molly can be found outside – hiking, running or doing yoga – usually with her border collie, Murphy, close by!
Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a coaching and consulting firm bringing social and environmental entrepreneurs more impact in their work and joy in their lives.
As an entrepreneur and serial non-profit Executive Director, Nikki has invited thousands of leaders and hundreds of business and organizations into more in-depth conversations around the intersection of ecology, economy, and social equity. Her 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. A nationally recognized thought leader and international keynote speaker, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.
Nikki serves as a Board Member for Greenpeace USA and is the Board Co-Chair of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE). She is a Faculty Member at the Food Business School (she co-designed and taught one of their inaugural courses, “Ethical Leadership in Food Business”). She is the recipient of numerous awards including ELLE Magazine’s “Gold” Award and OxFam America’s “Act Local, Think Global” Award.
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.
Dr. Liz Thach, MW is a freelance wine writer, wine market expert, researcher, educator and consultant based in Napa and Sonoma, California.
She is an award-winning author and educator, specializing in wine business strategy, marketing, leadership/executive development, and wine lifestyle. Liz’s passion is wine, and she has visited most of the major wine regions of the world and more than 50 countries.
Liz worked for more than 10 years as an HR executive and manager in Fortune 500 companies, before transitioning to Sonoma State University(SSU) in 2000 to teach management and wine business classes in their Bachelors and MBA programs. While there, she taught thousands of students, conducted multiple international research projects, presented at more than 100 conferences, and published 9 books and over 200 articles, including consumer/trade journal and academic publications. She retired from SSU in May 2020, but continues to teach wine and management classes there part-time.
With a curious palate, a nose for detail, and a deep appreciation of tradition, Hailey Trefethen is a passionate steward of the Trefethen legacy. Often the voice of the family within the company, the well-being of our employees and the state of the estate are foremost in her mind. After the South Napa Quake in 2014, she spearheaded the three-year restoration of our iconic historic winery. Its rebirth is a testament to her dedication. She works closely with Winery Chef Chris Kennedy and the estate gardeners to set up our La Huerta vegetable garden each year, providing fresh produce to our employees, and manages the annual Trefethen salsa competition. She also handles all of our sustainability certifications for both the vineyard and the winery, pushing us to constantly up our game. An active member of the production team, she participates in vineyard and winemaking decisions, and travels frequently to represent the brand. In addition to a stint on the board of the California Wine Institute, Hailey was one of the youngest members ever elected to serve on the Napa Valley Vintners’ Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Marketing & Communications Committee.
Elisa Turner is the Managing Partner at Impakt IQ. Elisa is a recognized thought leader on ESG and sustainable business models. She advises business leaders on evolving their businesses to become profitable impact organizations – helping them understand and harness the holistic interconnections between risk, reward and impact.
She has been recognized “As A TOP 50 Leader” by the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, listed by Gartner as a top 5 “Cool Vendors” in Sustainable Business Solutions and was a member of the United Nations Global Compact Business Leader’s Summit on Sustainable Business Solutions. She has collaborated with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Global Reporting Initiative, CDP and served as a speaker on sustainable business models for industry conferences.
Elizabeth Vianna attributes her career in winemaking to a glass of 1985 Sociando Mallet, which she enjoyed at a pre-auction tasting at Christie’s in New York. A biology major at Vassar College, Elizabeth was originally on the pre-medical school track. She fell in love with wine as a consumer while living in New York City, working as a clinical toxicologist at New York Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center. Her strong science background and sudden infatuation with wine propelled her to apply to the University of California – Davis, and its renowned winemaking program instead of medical school.
Elizabeth first came to Chimney Rock as a harvest intern in 1999, while completing her Master’s degree in enology at U.C. Davis. Upon graduation, she became an enologist at Napa Wine Company and was soon named assistant winemaker there, where she worked directly with many of the region’s top winemakers including Heidi Barrett, Erin Green, Pam Starr, and Celia Masyczek. Elizabeth was named to the position of assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock in January 2002 and advanced to the position of winemaker in 2005. In 2009, Vianna was honored by the University of California – Davis School of Graduate Studies when she was invited by the Dean of Graduate Studies to deliver the commencement speech.
Kelli A. White is the Director of Education for the Pacific Union Company 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, including Food & Wine, Vinous, The Wine Advocate, The Wine Spectator, the San Francisco Chronicle, World of Fine Wine, and Forbes; in 2013 she was named one of Food & Wine’s top ten sommeliers in the country. Her writing has appeared in World of Fine Wine, GuildSomm, Robb Report, Sommelier Journal, Le Pan, and Vinous. 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,
Brett manages MCE’s electric transportation programs and serves as the Agency’s subject matter expert on that topic. He currently manages programs and a growing team focused on expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, ensuring low-income residents can own & access EVs, demonstrating how EVs with managed charging benefit MCE customers and our grid, and a fleet electrification pilot supporting their municipalities, schools, transit authorities, and small/medium businesses.