Ole Thompson

Ole Thompson

Having spent his entire adult life in the wine business, Ole has worked in every aspect of the industry. He started when he was still in college, setting up a small wine department in Washington that he would grow into one of the top wine retailers in the state.

From there Ole became the Wine Director of the Wild Ginger restaurant group in Seattle, at the time one of the most important in North America, where he transformed the program into one cellaring 37,000 bottles, employing 15 sommeliers, and garnering one of only two Wine Spectator Grand Awards in the Pacific Northwest. The 80-page wine list ranged from an entire page dedicated to different bottlings and vintages of Krug and Dom Perignon, to 12 pages of German Rieslings. Ole also created a yearly charity event in Seattle called ‘The Triple Sip’; one of the key wine events in the country where 400+ attendees and 45 of the West Coast’s top winemakers created a signature wine event in a renovated vaudeville theater.

More recently, Ole was part of the legendary Treasury Wine Estates Luxury Selling Division team, working under the direction renowned Master Sommelier Fred Dame, that was featured in the first ‘Somm’ movie. From there, Ole ran two Washington distributors that represented brands such as Turley, Bond, Evening Land, Domaine Leroy, and Beaux Freres. Ole has also run sales for the pioneering Spanish importer Classical Wines from Spain. He has been mentioned and quoted in many publications and programs including NPR, The Wine Spectator, Decanter, The Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits and was voted Washington State sommelier of the year by the Seattle Times Newspaper. Ole is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and is currently studying for the Master Sommelier exam.

Erik Andersson

Erik Andersson

Joining the eclectic Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador team from Sweden, Erik Andersson oversees the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.

Prior to his move across the pond, Erik was the Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador in Asia looking after markets including China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

His love affair with spirits began when he was a young bartender in his hometown Uppsala in 1998. Andersson holds dear over 15 years of experience in the industry, and has a deep and passionate love for travel, which led him to bar programs and ownership roles in London, China and Stockholm.

In addition to his wealth of knowledge in mixology, service, and product, Erik is fluent in Mandarin, which he now brings with him on his travels to exotic locales.

Most recently Erik passed the International Brewers and Distillers Certificate in distillation and was also inducted in the Gin Guild in the UK.

Erik spends his days exploring the most eccentric bars and speakeasies across the region, finding new ways to celebrate the unique rose and cucumber-infused gin in subtle and complex concoctions. Outside of mixology, Erik can be found enjoying the great outdoors hunting and fishing and playing classical music.

Jordan Bushell

Jordan Bushell

In his constant pursuit for the perfect cocktail, Jordan Bushell joined the Hennessy team in 2010 as the US Ambassador of Mixology and Brand Education. Travelling all around the globe to discover new flavors and techniques, he brings his knowledge, experience and passion when crafting cocktails and educating for Hennessy Cognac.

Since joining Hennessy, Bushell has traveled and mixed throughout the Americas and Europe, creating unique and prolific cocktails for celebrities, industry veterans and anyone that shares a passion for libations. Pairing Hennessy’s unique history and product with modern mixology, Bushell’s cocktails offer a diverse array of flavors for all palettes.

Through the National Trade Education Program, Bushell is able to share his knowledge of Hennessy’s history, complexity, and competitive set with bartenders across the country. He prides himself on developing courses and programs that inspire bartenders and aficionados, including the Hennessy Bartender Academy, now recognized by bartenders as one of the top alcohol training events in the US. His work has encouraged consumers both in the United States and outside its borders to further their thirst of knowledge for this spirit.

Bushell has lead Hennessy’s efforts to establish a strong presence in bars across the United States and played an integral role in the renewed appreciation of cognac across the country. As the National Hennessy Ambassador, he has published a Hennessy cocktail catalogue, designed high-end mixology tools, and appeared in countless television programs and print publications. He is also a regular presenter, activating countless events at key industry events like Tales of the Cocktail, Bar Institute among others.

Bushell holds certifications in wine education, a Pru D’homme beer specialization and countless spirit courses and seminars both at home and abroad. He also spent a decade honing his skills and gaining valuable experience at the forefront of the service industry, running distinguished cocktail programs to share the joy of the cocktail experience globally.

Katey Larwood

Katey Larwood

As Goldeneye’s winemaker, Katey Larwood possesses a deep affinity for the wild, rustic beauty of the Anderson Valley that she strives to evoke in her wines. “In the vineyards and the winery, I rely upon my senses in search of that connection to the land, and that essential Anderson Valley-ness that is the essence of our wines,” says Katey. Working with the Anderson Valley’s most acclaimed estate Pinot Noir program (which includes almost 140 acres of vines and 16 distinctive clones) requires having a reverence for the character of the grapes. “Pinot is notoriously temperamental, which is why the greatest wines are so prized. At Goldeneye, we have more than two decades of experience growing and making Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. That intimate knowledge of the land defines the terroir-inspired character of our wines.”

Katey was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. While preparing to attend San Francisco State University to study journalism, she took a wine appreciation class that completely changed her plans. “It was life-altering. The person who taught the class was so passionate that he almost teared up talking about wine.” Katey immediately began volunteering at a winery in Santa Barbara, and later worked in the cellar at Brander Winery in Santa Ynez Valley where she discovered she loved the camaraderie of winemaking, the hands-on work, and the artistry required to make exceptional wine. She also began exploring the Anderson Valley. “I felt an immediate connection to the valley—the region, its wines, and its vibrant community of winegrowers and winemakers.”

After earning a degree in viticulture and enology from Cal Poly, Katey worked for Lynmar Estates, where she began refining her approach to cool-climate Pinot Noir. Following Lynmar, she spent the next several years gaining international experience in New Zealand, France, and Australia. “Working abroad gave me a sense for the rich history of wine, its cultural significance, and the shared language of winemaking. As a young winemaker, it was thrilling to discover these deeper connections.”

Returning to the U.S., Katey spent two years as a winemaker in New York’s Finger Lakes region before joining Goldeneye as assistant winemaker in 2016. Two years later, Katey was named Goldeneye’s winemaker. To make wines that are true to the Anderson Valley, Katey and her team ferment more than 200 small lots of Pinot Noir each vintage to make wines that balance depth and energy, with the sophistication of exceptional Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. “This region yields remarkably distinctive wines. They are lush and complex, with an almost rustic grace. My role is to convey what makes this region so special, while honoring the traditions that have made Goldeneye one of North America’s great Pinot Noir wineries.”

Ambrogio Ratti

Ambrogio Ratti

Ambrogio Ratti was born in Milan, Italy, in 1985. After studying in England and Italy, he worked in renewable energies and real estate before taking over the wine estate founded by his mother, Erika Ratti, in 1994. Today, Ambrogio is based in London. He leads a team that is dedicated to his family’s dream of creating world-class wines that are the purest expression of Tenuta Sette Cieli’s terroir.

Liza Gallia

Liza Gallia

Liza Gallia has over 20 years of experience in the wine industry which began with her passing the Sommelier Certification with teacher Master Sommelier Andre Immer Robinson.
Now an advanced Sommelier though the court of Master Sommeliers, Liza has experience in all three tiers of the wine industry. Liza’s experience includes Sommelier for some of the top restaurants in NYC and the Hamptons, top wine sales rep for a NY distributor, California wine buyer for the largest buyer of California wine in the world the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and multi-state management for several highly rate California wineries including Judy Jordan’s J Vineyards, Paul Hobbs, Hundred Acre and now Frank Family Vineyards.

Yaël Sacy

Yael Sacy

I am the general manager of Champagne Louis de Sacy, with my brother Jonathan. It has always been a family estate since my grandfather started making champagne and my father developed the export part.

It is a job that I choose no one made me do it . When I was younger I wanted to be a veterinary or archeologist or maybe work in the finance/stock exchange. Then I got interested in the Wine in general and today it is really a passion, I love wines because I think there are always things to learn about it.

I like to be in the vineyard, I like tasting the wines from the cellar and decide how it will become a nice champagne with identity at the end.

The purpose of the environment and the biodiversity are also very important to me (and to us). Today, half of the vineyard is grown “organic” is a “smart way” and we are planting trees in the vineyard a little like it was when my grandparents were children!

Guillaume Large

Guillaume Large

Guillaume Large was born in the heart of the Pouilly-Fuissé appellation in 1982. After first studying public law, Guillaume decided to turn his passion into his profession. Growing up, his grandfather, who was a grower, shared with him his passion for vineyards and wine. He graduated with an Oenologist’s National Diploma of the Jules Guyot Institute of Dijon, and joined Maison Joseph Drouhin, in Beaune, before joining the Chateau de Vinzelles in Maconnais in 2009.

In 2011, Guillaume joined Maison Louis Jadot and became the Assistant Technical Director under Frederic Barnier. In August 2017, he moved to Oregon and joined Résonance as Winemaker, working under the advisement of Jacques Lardière. The beginning of an exciting adventure! Guillaume is married and is a father of one child, Augustin. He enjoys traveling with his family, cooking and pairing his dishes with fine wines. He loves mountain biking and has a great passion for History.

Frédéric Engerer

Frederic Engerer

Frédéric Engerer is intense. Seriously intense. He dominates a conversation. Assuming you can get a question in, his answers are long but direct, loaded with information. If he has a filter, you wouldn’t know it—he seems to hide nothing. And he seems to care about one thing and one thing only: Château Latour. He has a reputation for being severe, though those within Bordeaux will tell you that once you know him, you’ll appreciate where he’s coming from.

For starters, he’s coming from outside Bordeaux. Engerer joined the team at the famed first-growth estate in 1994, as a self-professed Burgundy lover and former owner of a wine bar.
“I came here as a wine lover, which is a different background as opposed to a technician,” said the wiry-framed, steely-eyed Engerer.

By 1998, Latour owner François Pinault had appointed Engerer as CEO. The latter immediately changed the entire team at the property, with ’99 the first vintage he considers under his control. Then Engerer oversaw an entire renovation of the cellar facility from 2000 through 2002. From there, he went to work rethinking the wines.

“It was several steps,” said Engerer. “First, the old Cabernet parcels had always been kept together until 2000. So in 2000 we began to separate parcels. But then we realized we need to forget parcels and just vinify parts of the vineyard that are similar together, even if they are not in the same parcel.”

While explaining how he carved up the vineyards, Engerer pointed at a large map on the wall showing Latour’s 80 hectares of vines.
“We found old drainage systems that had broken, so water was influencing the vines through tunnels underneath the vineyard in different ways. So this sliver here we found out was acting differently from the parcel, and we realized it should go with the corner here,” he said, outlining small points in seemingly disparate parcels. As he continued, I could see a Burgundian approach to how he matched up smaller and smaller pieces of the vineyards. In a wine region where size matters, Engerer is going micro instead of macro.

In 2007, Engerer made another change, firing the maître de chai and assuming cellarmaster responsibilities himself. On the surface, it’s a slash-and-burn approach, but after spending some time with Engerer, you realize he is so singularly focused and driven that he does everything with a plan in place. Still, appointing himself in charge of the technical side came with a warning.
“Pinault said to me, ‘It’s like when a football team owner becomes the coach. It’s probably not the best way to do it. If it doesn’t work, I’ll know who to fire,’” recounted Engerer.

How’s that for having a fire lit under you? Though Engerer hardly needs it.
“But you have to understand. This place is like a Picasso on the wall. Maybe that’s not the best analogy. But Pinault doesn’t give a [bleep] what it costs to make it as perfect as possible. Nothing is ever sacrificed because of cost. Everything will be done as it needs to be. ‘Every 10 years in a business you have to rip up the paper, throw it away and start all over,’ he said.” Engerer stopped there to take a rare pause. That’s when you know he really wants the point to sink in.
And while Engerer has assumed full control of the day-to-day, he’s smart enough to know where he needs help. He’s also daring enough to get that help from unlikely places.
“Vineyards, geological analysis, how to launch a biodynamic program—these are my areas of weakness,” said Engerer.

So, did he hire a big-name outside consultant to come in and help? No. Instead, Engerer plucked a 30-year-old fresh-out-of-school, Pénélope Godefroy, and put her in charge of the vineyards. Her role will only grow, as Engerer looks to the future of Latour’s aging vines.

“You can replace vine by vine for a while, but eventually you have to replace an entire plot. We have no emergencies now, but this will be the biggest task we have in the next 10 years, as we do have an old vineyard,” he said.

Engerer uses the same buzzword—”precision”—as others in Bordeaux. The cellar gleams with new stainless-steel tanks and the the barrels in the chai look like they were aligned with a laser. But while cost is not a concern and Engerer is clearly a modernist, he does not rely solely on technology. Three manual double sorting tables sit in the reception area. Where’s the optical sorter, the new-fangled toy that has become the darling of many châteaus of the region?
‘Never,” he said flatly. ‘If you control the quality of fruit in the vineyard, you never need one of those things. I will never, ever buy one,” he said, taking one of those pauses. ‘If I need sorting done, I have three table de tris (sorting tables), double-sorting, and can have 18 people checking fruit for three straight weeks.”

Engerer will get a chance to show what all the hard work has led to in the ’09 and ‘10 vintages. As a first-growth estate, Latour is expected to excel, but Engerer wants to take it higher than that, and he hints at where he thinks he may have hit the mark.

‘In ’09 everything was really extroverted and there were one or two lots that crossed the yellow line,” he said. ‘In ’10 it’s a rocking-chair vinification. Higher acidity, great balance.”
There are now three wines produced here, starting first with the Pauillac de Château Latour, a 5,000-case wine that sees no new oak. The 2009 is tight, with a gorgeous beam of unadorned black licorice and graphite and a driven finish. No throwaway, it’s easily outstanding.
‘The Pauillac is rich and chewy, but fun,” said Engerer, using a word that seems a little incongruous for such an intense individual.

The second wine of the estate, the Forts de Latour (typically 12,000 cases produced) sees up to 50 percent new oak. At this point, the 2009 version is very open, despite the oak, with inviting blackberry, roasted vanilla, espresso and mineral notes that are long and superbly focused.
‘In the Forts, you start to see how the selection comes in,” said Engerer. ‘There’s more length, finesse.”

The grand vin usually totals around 10,000 cases, and the Château Latour Pauillac 2009 is an awesome wine in the making. It’s dense but lithe, super fine-grained and with incredible length that lets a range of red and black currant, black tea, roasted espresso bean and mineral notes sail on.
‘It’s rare to have a rich, lush, long vintage that’s also dense and compact underneath,” said Engerer. ‘The personality is a bit crazier, more fun, than the ’05, which is much more serious.”
So perhaps that’s the key now for Latour. Mixing in a little fun with all the serious intensity?

Mollie Battenhouse

Mollie Battenhouse

Mollie Battenhouse found her way into the food and beverage industry by supported herself through art and business school by working in restaurants. Post-college, the pace and energy of restaurants beckoned, and Mollie made it her mission to assemble a stellar resume. She enrolled in The Culinary Institute of America and graduated at the top of her class. She worked at acclaimed restaurants like Payard Patisserie and Bistro and Pondicherry in New York City. Battenhouse’s wine career began with a part-time job at Joshua Wesson’s Best Cellars wine shop in Manhattan. After 8_ years, she returned to the restaurant world to work as head sommelier at Tribeca Grill, where she was responsible for maintaining a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list. Then, Mollie moved to the distribution side of the business and became the Director of Sales and Business Development for V.O.S. Selections. The Education side of the business came calling, and Mollie went to work for Jackson Family Wines in 2016, where she is currently the National Director of Wine Education. Mollie is also an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Partner at RingIt, Inc./Wine Ring, and an instructor at The International Wine Center. In her free time, Mollie is an avid gardener and swimmer, and runs the occasional half-marathon.

Michele Zuckerman

Michele Zuckerman

Michele Zuckerman is a wine industry professional for the past 20 years. She has been studying wine for 31 years and has earned a CSW (Certified Specialist of Wine) from the Society of Wine Educators. She is the Managing Director of The LUX Group of Fedway Associates with a small team of specialists focusing on the luxury and esoteric portfolios as well as and boutique wineries. Michele has the honor of Gaja Ambassador for New Jersey since 2013- one of nine throughout the country.

Having traveled extensively to many vineyards around the world, her areas of expertise include France, Italy and California. She hosts 25-30 wine dinners a year with various topics and regions including Gaja Estates wine dinners. Embedded in her discussions are the history of the great wine families she represents, with an imaginary walk through the vineyards and time.

Larry O’Brien

Larry Obrien

Larry O’Brien has been sharing his enthusiasm for wine for more than 25 years through positions at restaurants across the country, as well as roles as a wine judge and board member of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
O’Brien represented the United States in the prestigious international sommelier competition, Meilleur Sommelier du Monde Concours Mondial, in 2000 after winning the title of Best Sommelier in America earlier that same year. He has served as a judge for the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Jeuene Sommelier Competition as well as the the Starwine International Wine Competition and the TEXSOM International Wine Awards. He earned his Master Sommelier certification in 2001.
A dynamic speaker and educator, O’Brien demystifies wine while showcasing the entire Jackson Family portfolio in his current role as Jackson Family Winery Champion.

Tom Pillsbury

Tom Pillsbury

A Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), Tom spent 27 years with Young’s Market Company, eventually rising to VP Director of Marketing for the Young’s Estates Group. He joined DuMOL in 2011 and became a vested partner in the family-owned winery in 2014.

Guillaume Desport

Guillaume Desport

Guillaume Desport holds the position of Assistant Winemaker Sparkling at Chandon California. His first role in the U.S., he joined the premier sparkling producer in November of 2015. Guillaume works alongside Chandon Winemaker Pauline Lhote to execute all winemaking responsiblities. Born in Bordeaux, Guillaume knew early that his life would be wine-oriented. After earning a degree in biochemistry and graduating from the Oenology Faculty of Bordeaux in 2008, he had the opportunity to work for Chateau Calon Ségur and Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion in Bordeaux.

During this time, he worked with renowned winemakers who instilled in him passion, respect for terroir and a sense of detail. Then, Guillaume stepped more into business with an additional year of marketing and management studies in Paris, then developing his skills as manager of an exclusive New World-wine shop.

His desire to make wine remained strong so he went to Yarra Valley in Australia to participate in the 2011 harvest. When he returned to France we returned to the academic side of wine, working for a wine auction house while conducting wine education and wine tours in Champagne. This experience fueled his passion for the region and its wines, leading him to the winemaking team of the renowned Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and Krug Champagne houses, where he focused on wine communication and eventually to Chandon California. Bon-vivant and rugby enthusiast, Guillaume likes to share joyous moments with his family and friends around a good meal with nice bottles of wine.

Vince Oleson

Vince Oleson

Vince got started in the liquor world bartending at 19 years old and has devoted his life to a love of spirits and the art of distilling. With his bartending experience Vince brings a unique appreciation of mixology and the combination of flavors to his craft. His expertise on the varied styles and history of whiskey through his work as Whiskey Sommelier for The Flatiron Room, and Fine & Rare brings another layer to his role. He helps execute all of all of Widow Jane’s day-to-day distilling operations; managing cooks, fermentations, distillations, maturing, blending for bottling, and worked with farmers in the Hudson Valley, NY to grow unique corn varietals and isolate Widow Jane’s very own Baby Jane corn. As Distiller, Vince also helps develop and research new whiskey recipes for Widow Jane, and most importantly, takes care of the nine lovely Distillery chickens.

Jason Diefenderfer

Jason Diefenderfer

A Central Coast native, Jason “JC” Diefenderfer grew up on his family’s ranch in Templeton, just south of Paso Robles. He and Austin Hope attended high school together and forged a friendship that remains today. JC managed farm and ranch operations for King Ranch until 1997 when he began working with the Hope family to design and build their crush facility in Paso Robles. Recalling what sparked his passion for winemaking, JC says “it was the clear approach to winemaking that intrigued me about Treana & Liberty School: their passion and dedication to the vineyard.”

JC has been on the winemaking team at Hope Family Wines since 1998 when he apprenticed under then-winemaker Chris Phelps. He became the assistant winemaker for Liberty School in 1999 and head winemaker in 2006. JC works closely with Austin Hope to craft the blends of all the labels: Liberty School, Treana, Candor, Troublemaker, and Austin Hope. JC oversees Hope Family Wines’ winemaking and viticulture, including working with the grower relations team on vineyard selection and practices, fruit ripeness, and harvest decisions.
JC brings essential attributes and skills to the Hope Family Wines team: local, agricultural roots; familiarity with the wines and winemaking of the Old World and the New; and over a decade of experience with Hope Family Wines’ growers and wines.

Bruno Giacosa

Bruno Giacosa

Sample the following wines at Table 110 in the Garden Room at The Grand Tasting:

  • Giacosa Barbaresco
  • Giacosa Barbaresco Asili
  • Giacosa Barolo Falleto
  • Giacosa Barolo Falletto La Rocche
  • Giacosa Barolo Falletto La Rocche Riserva
  • Giacosa Roero Arneis

Alessandra Angelini

Alessandra Angelini

Alessandra Angelini was born in Rome in 1983. She studied at the American Overseas School of Rome and Liceo Mameli. She earned her undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from La Sapienza University in Rome in December 2006. While at La Sapienza she participated in major research projects designing Formula 1 cars and racing dinghies. In 2013, she began working for Rolls Royce North America designing airplane engines. She returned to the family business of wine and hospitality in 2017, mostly working as a brand ambassador and export manager for Caparzo, Borgo Scopeto, and Doga delle Clavule wineries. In addition, Alessandra has been an active athlete since childhood, and in 2008 was a member of the Italian Olympic Sailing Squad.

TJ Evans

TJ Evans

Prior to joining Domaine Carneros in 2008, TJ Evans spent 10 years in a variety of winemaking positions around the world, during which he developed not only winemaking knowledge, but a deep love of Pinot Noir and the decision to make it the focus of his professional life.

Evans grew up in Northern California and completed his undergraduate studies at Amherst College, in Massachusetts. Early in his career, he landed winemaking internships at Robert Mondavi Winery and then Far Niente Winery, where his interest in winemaking was piqued. However, it wasn’t until a life-changing trip to the northern Rhône Valley and an apprenticeship that focused exclusively on Pinot Noir that he cemented his future in winemaking.

In 1997, after completing his master’s degree at UC Davis, TJ traveled to New Zealand to work harvest at Villa Maria Estate, and then to the Rhône Valley, where his time at 500-year-old Domaine Jean-Louis Chave put his winemaking life in perspective.

Upon his return to the United States, Evans took a position at La Crema Winery in the Russian River Valley, where he focused on crafting Pinot Noir—and ignited an obsession with the grape. He then went to Alderbrook Winery in Dry Creek Valley, where he continued to work with Pinot Noir in addition to single-vineyard Zinfandels. While his focus was to expand his knowledge of Pinot, working with Zinfandel was one of the most influential aspects in his understanding of blending. From 2005 to 2008, Evans returned to the southern hemisphere, this time developing a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir estate for Vinedos y Bodegas Corpora in the Bío Bío Valley of Chile.

Upon returning from Chile, and drawing from his past experiences, Evans knew that Carneros was where he could best use his Pinot Noir–making skills. Domaine Carneros was an easy choice: It allowed him to apply his 10 years of experience to the still wines while also exploring the use of Pinot Noir in a way that was new to him—in the production of sparkling wine.

In addition to Pinot Noir, Evans enjoys rock climbing, cycling and a little bit of yoga to get through the harvest.

Mike Waller

Mike Walker

A master of Pinot Noir, known for his terroir-driven approach to winemaking, Mike Waller has worked alongside legendary vintner Josh Jensen for more than a decade, helping to guide winemaking at Calera. Mike’s winemaking style honors the character and complexity of Calera’s six renowned sites on Mt. Harlan, which are the source for some of the New World’s most revered wines. In the winery, Mike captures the nuance of these grand cru-caliber vineyards to create sophisticated wines renowned for their layered elegance and aging potential.

A native of Hollister, California, Mike grew up just ten miles from Calera. An avid homebrewer, Mike fell in love with wine during a trip to Napa Valley in his early 20s. “That was the first time I experienced wine on a more cerebral level,” says Mike. “It was also when I started to see wine as a meeting point between science, agriculture and art.” Eager to learn more, Mike took a job on the bottling line at David Bruce Winery, and soon after enrolled at UC Davis. While earning his degree in viticulture and enology, Mike worked at Saintsbury, where he began to develop a passion for Pinot Noir.

After graduation, Mike spent a year as the wine chemist at Beringer, before moving home to the Central Coast to become the assistant winemaker at Chalone in 2004. Mentored by acclaimed winemaker Dan Karlsen, Mike developed a deeper, more vineyard-inspired approach to winemaking. “I grew up on the Central Coast reading books like Steinbeck’s ‘The Pastures of Heaven,’” says Mike. “This is a region of pioneers who have followed their own path, while embracing a connection to the land. In the world of wine, these are often the foundations for greatness.”

In 2007, when Josh Jensen invited Mike to become the assistant winemaker at Calera, he was thrilled. “Josh is rightfully a legend,” adds Mike. “He sought out a place to grow his wines that was so remote, with no electricity, little water, and challenging growing conditions. He put everything on the line because this is what he believed it would take to make some of the finest wines in the world—and he was right.”

Mike and Josh quickly discovered that they shared similar philosophies, palates and approaches to growing and making wine, and in 2009, Josh named Mike the winemaker for Calera. In the years since, Mike has developed an intimate understanding of Calera’s vineyards that allows him to make elegant, age-worthy wines recognized for their cool-climate purity. From his judicious use of new oak to his measured incorporation of whole clusters, each of Calera’s single-vineyard wines is made to frame the uniqueness of the winery’s six Mt. Harlan vineyards. “Because we have some of the oldest vines on the Central Coast, the roots dig deep, delivering remarkable complexity,” says Mike. “At the same time, each site is unique, with its own story to tell each growing season. These are the stories we strive to tell.”

Riboli Family Wines

Sample the following wines at Table 50 in the Garden Room at The Grand Tasting:

  • San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon
  • San Simeon Chardonnay
  • Maddalena Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Maddalena Chardonnay
  • Opaque Darkness

Van Duzer Vineyards

Sample the following wines at Table XX in the Saratoga Room at The Grand Tasting:

  • Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
  • Van Duzer Pinot Gris 16
  • Van Duzer Pinot Noir Rose 17
  • Smith and Perry Pinot Noir
  • Van Duzer Dijon Block 14
  • Van Duzer Homestead Block 14

Vintage Wine Estates

Sample the following wines at Table 1 in the Emerald Ballroom at The Grand Tasting:

  • Clos Pegase Cab
  • Sabotage Cab
  • Steady State Red
  • Clos Pegase Chard
  • Delectus Bolder Falls Cab
  • Delectus French Wedding Cab


Sample the following wines at Table 108 in the Rotunda at VIP Grand Tasting:

  • Sauvignon Blanc, Provenance, California


Sample the following wines at Table XX in the Rotunda at VIP Grand Tasting:

    • Chardonnay, Penfolds, Bin 311, Australia

Chateau St Jean

Sample the following wines at Table 108 in the Rotunda at VIP Grand Tasting:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau St Jean, Alexander Valley, California


Sample the following wines at Table 108 in the Rotunda at VIP Grand Tasting:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford, California
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Provenance, California
  • Petite Sirah, Stags’ Leap Winery, California
  • Chardonnay, Penfolds, Bin 311, Australia
  • Red Blend, Beringer, Quantum, California
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau St Jean, Alexander Valley, California

The Wine Group

Sample the following wines at Table 13 in the Emerald Ballroom at The Grand Tasting:

  • Concannon Petit Syrah
  • D’Orsay Rose
  • Imagery Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Imagery Chardonnay
  • Trapiche Medalla Malbec
  • 13 Degrees Celsius Sauvignon Blanc

Achaval Ferrer

Achaval Ferrer

Sample the following wines at Table 61 in the Garden Room at The Grand Tasting:

  • Achaval Ferrer Cabernet
  • Achaval Ferrer Malbec
  • Achaval Ferrer Quimera


Sample the following wines at Table 76 in the Napa Room at The Grand Tasting:

  • AF by Achaval Ferrer
  • Achaval Ferrer 2016 Malbec
  • Achaval Ferrer 2016 Cabernet

Perrin Family Wines

Sample the following wines at Table 104 in the Rotunda at VIP Grand Tasting:

  • Miraval Rose de Provence
  • Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages
  • Perrin Gigondas La Gilles
  • Perrin Chateauneuf du Pape Les Sinards
  • Coudoulet de Beaucastel
  • Chateau Beaucastel