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HONORARY WINE AMBASSADORS

Representing premier wine growing regions in Oregon, Washington, California and Internationally.

Each year, The Classic Wines Auction selects four Honorary Wine Ambassadors to be showcased at that year’s Auction. These Wine Ambassadors represent some of the most esteemed wine growing regions in the world and are world renown for their premium wine labels and vintages. The wines of our Honorary Wine Ambassadors are featured at the Ambassadors Dinner and the Classic Wines Auction each year. Additionally, each Ambassador sponsors a one-of-a-kind experience specific to their respective winery and region to be presented in the Live Auction at the Classic Wines Auction event.

BEAUX FRERES WINERY

Newberg, OR

Since their first vintage in 1991, the Beaux Frères philosophy remains the same; to produce a world-class Pinot Noir from small, well-balanced yields and ripe, healthy fruit that represents the essence of our vineyard. In pursuit of these goals, the Beaux Frères Vineyard is planted with tightly spaced vines, and yields are kept to some of the lowest in our industry. The grapes are harvested when physiologically (rather than analytically) ripe.

Their winemaking philosophy is one of minimal intervention with clean fermentations utilizing indigenous yeast. The wines are stored in French oak for 10 to 12 months adjusting the percentage of new oak to compliment the wine the vintage has given us. Beaux Frères is never racked until it is removed from barrel for bottling, which occurs without fining or filtration. These non-manipulative, uncompromising methods guarantee a wine that is the most natural and authentic vineyard expression possible. Previous vintages demonstrate that these methods also allow our Beaux Frères to develop significant perfume, weight, and texture in the bottle.

Visit Beaux Freres Online

ABEJA WINERY

WALLA WALLA, WA

In the rolling foothills of Walla Walla’s Blue Mountains, Ken and Ginger Harrison have carefully restored a century-old farmstead to create a pristine setting for the relentless pursuit of extraordinary Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Surrounding the winery are seven meticulously refurbished private cottages offering guests serene luxury alongside a modern, working winery and its estate vineyard. Carefully tended gardens, meandering creeks, wildlife and spectacular views are abundant on the 32-acre property.

Visit Abeja Winery Online

MAISONS & DOMAINE HENRIOT

Established in New York City in 2005 by the Henriot family, Maisons and Domaines Henriot America is an import company specializing in the distribution, sales and marketing of high-end wines produced by wineries which are references in their own region. Representing centuries of family wine making expertise, the portfolio includes the Henriot family brands, as well as leading producers from Italy and France.

Visit Maisons and Domaines Henriot Online

STAGLIN FAMILY VINEYARDS

Founded in 1985 by Shari, Garen, Brandon and Shannon, Staglin Family Vineyard takes pride in the tradition of family ownership and participation. With an uncompromising commitment to quality, their mission is to produce world class wines that reflect the distinctive character of their historic Rutherford Bench estate in Napa Valley. As stewards of the land, they farm the vineyard organically, tap in to solar fields for power and produce wines in a state of the art underground production facility.

“Great wines for great causes” has been an important motto of their business and personal lives. Since they began farming the vineyard in 1985, the Staglins have donated and raised more than $920 million to support charities, including their main cause, the Music Festival for Brain Health.

Visit Staglin Family Vineyards Online
Allison Sokol Blosser
Sokol Blosser

SOKOL BLOSSER WINERY

Dayton, Oregon

Co-President and CEO: Alison Sokol Blosser

Alison Sokol Blosser is CEO and Co-President of Sokol Blosser Winery. The daughter of founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, Alison feels a deep connection to the family vineyard and winery. Leading the business with her brother, Alex, she collaborates to guide the strategic future of the business while directly overseeing marketing, sales and administrative functions, including accounting, finance and human resources. Alison carries the torch in Sokol Blosser Winery’s sustainability efforts and commitment to social responsibility, most recently overseeing the notable achievement of the Winery’s B Corp certification.

In addition to earning an MBA at the University of Washington, Alison spent three years working in public relations and marketing communications. Her experience spanned startups to consumer branding giants, such as Nike and Nordstrom. In 2004, she returned to Sokol Blosser and assumed the role of director of marketing. Then, in 2008, she and Alex were named Co-Presidents and completed the transition of the family winery to the next generation.

Alison is involved in the Oregon wine industry as a board member and President-elect of Oregon Pinot Camp as well as a member of Women for Winesense. She is a member of the marketing committee for the Oregon Wine Board, as well as a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization’s Oregon Chapter. In addition, she is a founding board member of the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association.

Alex Sokol Blosser

Co-President and Winemaker: Alex Sokol Blosser

Alex Sokol Blosser is winemaker and Co-President of Sokol Blosser Winery. Son of founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, he grew up in the family business and developed a love for the land and its fruits. As the fourth winemaker in Sokol Blosser’s history, Alex began this role with management of the 2012 harvest.

After attending college in Texas, Alex was drawn back to Oregon to complete his studies while acquiring valuable wine industry experience. He worked in neighboring vineyards and with a Portland wine wholesaler before joining the family business full time in 1998. Once he earned a master’s degree in business from Portland State University, Alex became vice president of sales at Sokol Blosser. He took an active role in the winery’s harvests and began serving as vineyard manager in 2006. In 2008, he and his sister, Alison Sokol Blosser, were named Co-Presidents and completed the transition of the family winery to the next generation. Most recently, Alex achieved a winemaking certificate from the University of California, Davis.

Alex continues his parents’ legacy by being instrumental in shaping Oregon’s wine industry. He spearheaded a project to develop six new American Viticultural Areas in the northern Willamette Valley in 2002.  He is also a past board member and President of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Visit Sokol Blosser Winery Online
Steve and Bridgit Griessel
Betz Family winery

BETZ FAMILY WINERY

Woodinville, Washington

Owners: Steve and Bridgit Griessel

As the managing owners, Steve and Bridgit are thrilled to be part of the next chapter of Betz Family Winery. They live at the winery and have 3 kids. They are dedicated to ensuring that the Company is true to its heritage, culture, wine making principles and patient growth, teaming with Bob who continues as the “patriarch” and winemaker.

In 2002 Steve and Bridgit came to the US from South Africa, a country with a centuries-old winemaking heritage. Their combined passion for wine led them to search the US west coast for a winery to call their own. They were exposed to the character and quality of Washington wine, and the rest is history.

Steve’s love for wine started at a young age while touring South African vineyards. He eventually became a student of the world of wines and then an avid collector. His decades of experience with the diverse wine regions of the world further enhanced his appreciation of Washington wines and his fondness for the wines of Betz Family. He started his first business when he was 25 and has been the co-founder and CEO of many businesses, both private and public, in South Africa and the US. He holds a Bachelors degree in Commerce, a Post Graduate degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Building Science. Over four years ending in September 2014 he completed the Certificate Program of Enology and additionally the Certificate Program of Viticulture at Washington State University.

Bridgit shares Steve’s passion for wine, as well as his business acumen. She grew up in Johannesburg South Africa where her fervor for wine started early with her father and Croatian grandfather making wine and brandy in their garage while she was growing up. She started her first business at 19! Her internet services business soon had offices in Palo Alto, New York, Sydney and London, and her business travels further enhanced her knowledge and appreciation of the world’s great wine regions.

Today Bridgit also owns a high end tour company for trips to Southern Africa, but spends the vast majority of her time engaged at Betz Family. She’s a computer whiz and has greatly enhanced Betz Family Winery’s website and e-commerce platform to deliver a better experience to our valued customers.

Visit Betz Family Winery Online
KR Rombauer
Rombauer Vineyards

ROMBAUER VINEYARDS

St. Helena, California

Owner: Koerner "KR" Rombauer III

KR Rombauer was born in 1963 in Escondido, California, however, he spent most of his early years in the Dallas area, where his father was a pilot for Braniff Airlines.

In 1972, the Rombauer family moved to the Napa Valley close to the town of St. Helena. KR attended public schools in the area through high school. His first hands-on experience in the wine industry came in 1978 at age 15, at Conn Creek Winery, where his parents were partners. KR worked in various capacities during construction, working the harvest and in the wine cellar.

After high school, KR attended California State University, Fresno, where he earned a degree in Business Administration. While KR was in college, his parents began construction of the Rombauer Vineyards winery. He assisted in many aspects of the construction and development of the new business during his time off from college. Upon graduation, KR returned to work at the family winery, primarily in production-related areas.

In 1990, as the winery became well established and the needs of the business evolved, KR moved from production to marketing and sales. There he gained valuable experience working in the national marketplace. He also has been general manager of the winery, and now serves on the Board of Directors and continues to consult with staff in the areas of marketing and sales.

KR and his wife, Laura, became the proud parents of a daughter, Ransome, in 1998. He shares his father’s interest in flying and holds his commercial pilot’s license. One of KR’s personal pleasures is enjoying the great abundance of Napa Valley’s fine foods and wines with family and friends.

Visit Rombauer Vineyards Online
Xavier Barlier
Champagne Roederer Group

CHAMPAGNE LOUIS ROEDERER GROUP

Reims, France

Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communication: Xavier Barlier

Xavier joined Maisons Marques & Domaines (MMD) in 2001 after spending the previous four years in the position of Director of Corporate Alliances and Co-branded Marketing of Disneyland Paris, promoting the Paris theme park internationally. He was previously with the French automotive group Renault for seven years as Head of Public Relations.

Xavier’s wine industry career began in 1981 when he joined Champagne Moët & Chandon in the position of assistant Export Manager. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles to preside over a US wine brokerage company representing French family estates. During his 5 years in the US, Xavier served as a marketing consultant to French food and beverage firms, and also as a regular lecturer on wine marketing for University extension programs. His role today is to oversee all marketing and communication activities, including brand management, wine education, and supplier relations. Xavier holds a Master’s degree in General Management and post-graduate degree certificates from Stanford (’89) and Insead (’96). He was also the Chair of the Wine Market Council.

Visit Champagne Louis Roederer Group Online
Jay Christopher Somers - J. Christopher Wines
J. Christopher Wines

J. CHRISTOPHER WINES

Newberg, Oregon

Winemaker/Owner: Jay Christopher Somers

Jay Christopher Somers wanted to be a rock star. One of his earliest memories was the day his mother came home with the new Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Cosmos Factory. Jay eventually did get a guitar and learned to play with great skill. In terms of careers, however, he did what any college grad with a degree in philosophy would do: he made beer.

After several years as a brewer for McMenamins, he met Ronda, who liked Jay, but didn’t care for beer. Making two of the best decisions of his life, Jay married Ronda and got out of the beer business, deciding to focus, instead, on his latest passion: wine.

In the years leading up to the launch of his own winery, Jay had the great fortune to work with many great winemakers including John Paul at Cameron Winery in Oregon. In his five years at Cameron, Jay adopted an Old World style of vineyard management and winemaking — a style that resulted in wines that tasted more like the Burgundies he loved to drink. With John’s encouragement, he bottled his first J. Christopher vintage in 1996, using the Cameron facility and fruit purchased from the neighboring Charlie’s vineyard. His first vintage, like many to follow, sold out in less than a week. Jay spent the next 11 years making J. Christopher where he continued to develop his Burgundian winemaking style.

After working at the Dr. Loosen winery in Germany’s Mosel Valley in 2004, Jay and winemaker Ernst Loosen discovered that they had a mutual taste and passion for Pinot Noir. Over many bottles of wine, the two hatched a plan, and soon began making a collaborative Oregon Pinot Noir called Appassionata.

In 2010, they formalized their partnership, bought a 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon, and began building the new J. Christopher winery and Appassionata Vineyard. Today, in addition to making wine, Jay plays lead guitar for the all-winemaker band, Vin Halen.

Visit J. Christopher Wines Online
Bob Bertheau - Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chateau Ste. Michelle

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE

Woodinville, Washington

Head Winemaker: Bob Bertheau

A passion to find the perfect balance between science and artistic expression is what attracted Bob Bertheau to a career in winemaking and led him on a journey from Idaho and California to Washington state.

After making wine in Sonoma County, California for 16 years, Bob Bertheau returned to his Northwest roots when he joined Chateau Ste. Michelle in June 2003 as its winemaker of white wines. He was quickly promoted to head winemaker in 2004, overseeing the winery’s diverse wine portfolio including Columbia Valley, Single Vineyard, Ethos Reserve, Artist Series and Limited Release club wines.

Bob has spent the past decade working with some of the best vineyards in Washington state, including the winery’s Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards, and investing in cellar equipment designed to enhance wine quality. The move to Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2003 was not only a chance for Bob to make wine for Washington’s founding winery, it was also a chance to return home.

Bob was born in Seattle and went to school in nearby Idaho. He has a degree in chemistry from Boise State University and an MS in food science and enology from the University of California at Davis.

Visit Chateau Ste. Michelle Online
Larry Maguire - Far Niente
Far Niente

Far Niente

Oakville, California

President and CEO: Larry Maguire

With over 30 years of experience in the fine wine industry, Larry Maguire brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his roles as President and CEO of Far Niente, as well as co-owner of Far Niente and sister wineries Dolce, Nickel & Nickel and EnRoute.

Maguire joined Far Niente in 1983, and together with his partners, led Far Niente from being a small, locally known winery into a critically acclaimed producer. In the succeeding years, the owners launched three sister wineries: Dolce, dedicated to the production of a single, late-harvest wine; Nickel & Nickel, devoted exclusively to producing 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines; and EnRoute, producer of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Today, Maguire oversees the sales and marketing for the four wine companies. Passionate about wine, Maguire regularly visits the great wine regions of the world, tasting in the cellars and homes of some of the world’s most acclaimed vintners.

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Marta Delfa - Torres
Torres

MIGUEL TORRES WINERY

Barcelona, Spain

Global Brand Ambassador & Educator: Marta Delfa

Marta Delfa was born in the heart of the Penedès wine region, home of the Miguel Torres winery. She studied German at the University of Barcelona and spent two years in immersion in Frankfurt, Germany. As a student she worked in her family’s business while independently gaining experience in the local wine industry.

Before finishing college she also spent time abroad in Ireland improving her English. Marta began working directly at the Miguel Torres winery in 2007. Experienced in presentations, wine tourism, client relations and with a very well-developed knowledge in Spanish wine, in 2011 she was promoted to the Torres Global Brand Ambassador. In late 2014 Marta embarked upon a new adventure being expatriated to the US to take on a key role as the Torres Brand Ambassador & Educator.

Marta is a Sommelier by trade and a tremendously passionate wine enthusiast at heart. She is WSET advanced certified and a member of an exclusive club with some of the best oenologists and wine producers of the Penedès region. She enjoys travel, is a culinary aficionado and has an insatiable love for conversation

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Chris Mazepink
Archery Summit

ARCHERY SUMMIT

Dayton, Oregon

Winemaker: Chris Mazepink

Established by Gary Andrus in 1993, a pioneer among winemakers who championed site-specific wines and stressed the importance of clonal selections, Archery Summit has been devoted to crafting exceptional Pinot Noir.

Archery Summit boasts an accomplished team of Pinot Noir experts led by Winemaker and General Manager Chris Mazepink. With years of experience running a large estate devoted to ultra-premium Pinot Noir, Chris came to Archery Summit in 2013 anxious to expand its own world-renowned wine program.

He describes his role as, “a dream job for a winemaker who specializes in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.” He also says,“I firmly believe that the best wines in Oregon are made from the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge AVAs. With Archery Summit’s six estate vineyards planted in these regions, we have all the ingredients to build upon the winery’s past successes.”

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Drew Bledsoe
Doubleback

DOUBLEBACK WINERY

Walla Walla, Washington

Winemaker: Drew Bledsoe

For former NFL Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, owning a winery has been a longtime aspiration that allows him to combine his passion for fine wine and love of the Walla Walla Valley. Drew returned to his hometown in 2007 to plant his first estate vineyard, McQueen, in SeVein Vineyards of Distinction. The following year, Drew launched Doubleback, an estate-focused winery with the goal to produce ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon from the Walla Walla Valley. To make this dream a reality, Drew and his wife Maura, are collaborating with Drew’s childhood friend and Consulting Winemaker, Chris Figgins of Figgins Family Wine Estates, known for producing Leonetti Cellar and FIGGINS.

Since the launch of the first vintage, Doubleback has received numerous accolades including a spot on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List. Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon scores highly by top-rated wine critics year after year.

The Bledsoe’s vision is to create a premium wine experience completely focused around quality. They are committed to using only the best viticulture and winemaking practices to ensure that Doubleback will be one of the best bottles of wine you will drink.

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Tony LeBlanc
Silver Oak

SILVER OAK CELLARS

Napa, California

Winemaker: Tony LeBlanc

As General Manager, Tony oversees all Silver Oak and Twomey facilities and has spent his career building “controlled” environments. He joined Silver Oak in 1992 when Ray Duncan and Justin Meyer purchased the Geyserville winery, which had gone bankrupt under its previous owners. As a carpenter, Tony had helped build that winery and started working in the cellar during the 1982 harvest. “I had to learn quickly about winemaking that first year,” he says. “But I loved it, and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my career.”

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Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta
Sassicaia

SASSICAIA

Tuscany, Italy

Winemaker: Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta

Sassicaia was initially produced as a “family wine” and the first vintage appeared on the market in 1968. During a 1978 Decanter tasting in London, the 1972 vintage was declared the best Cabernet Sauvignon among 33 wines from 11 countries. Since then, Sassicaia has been acclaimed by wine critics worldwide and placed Bolgheri on the wine map of the world. Within the new appellation “Bolgheri DOC” granted in 1994, Sassicaia was honored with a special sub-zone “Sassicaia DOC”, being so far the only wine in Italy with its own appellation. Sassicaia is owned and managed by Marchese Nicoló Incisa della Rocchetta and his daughter Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta.

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+ 2018 AMBASSADORS

BEAUX FRERES WINERY

Newberg, OR

Since their first vintage in 1991, the Beaux Frères philosophy remains the same; to produce a world-class Pinot Noir from small, well-balanced yields and ripe, healthy fruit that represents the essence of our vineyard. In pursuit of these goals, the Beaux Frères Vineyard is planted with tightly spaced vines, and yields are kept to some of the lowest in our industry. The grapes are harvested when physiologically (rather than analytically) ripe.

Their winemaking philosophy is one of minimal intervention with clean fermentations utilizing indigenous yeast. The wines are stored in French oak for 10 to 12 months adjusting the percentage of new oak to compliment the wine the vintage has given us. Beaux Frères is never racked until it is removed from barrel for bottling, which occurs without fining or filtration. These non-manipulative, uncompromising methods guarantee a wine that is the most natural and authentic vineyard expression possible. Previous vintages demonstrate that these methods also allow our Beaux Frères to develop significant perfume, weight, and texture in the bottle.

Visit Beaux Freres Online

ABEJA WINERY

WALLA WALLA, WA

In the rolling foothills of Walla Walla’s Blue Mountains, Ken and Ginger Harrison have carefully restored a century-old farmstead to create a pristine setting for the relentless pursuit of extraordinary Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Surrounding the winery are seven meticulously refurbished private cottages offering guests serene luxury alongside a modern, working winery and its estate vineyard. Carefully tended gardens, meandering creeks, wildlife and spectacular views are abundant on the 32-acre property.

Visit Abeja Winery Online

MAISONS & DOMAINE HENRIOT

Established in New York City in 2005 by the Henriot family, Maisons and Domaines Henriot America is an import company specializing in the distribution, sales and marketing of high-end wines produced by wineries which are references in their own region. Representing centuries of family wine making expertise, the portfolio includes the Henriot family brands, as well as leading producers from Italy and France.

Visit Maisons and Domaines Henriot Online

STAGLIN FAMILY VINEYARDS

Founded in 1985 by Shari, Garen, Brandon and Shannon, Staglin Family Vineyard takes pride in the tradition of family ownership and participation. With an uncompromising commitment to quality, their mission is to produce world class wines that reflect the distinctive character of their historic Rutherford Bench estate in Napa Valley. As stewards of the land, they farm the vineyard organically, tap in to solar fields for power and produce wines in a state of the art underground production facility.

“Great wines for great causes” has been an important motto of their business and personal lives. Since they began farming the vineyard in 1985, the Staglins have donated and raised more than $920 million to support charities, including their main cause, the Music Festival for Brain Health.

Visit Staglin Family Vineyards Online
+ 2017 AMBASSADORS
Allison Sokol Blosser
Sokol Blosser

SOKOL BLOSSER WINERY

Dayton, Oregon

Co-President and CEO: Alison Sokol Blosser

Alison Sokol Blosser is CEO and Co-President of Sokol Blosser Winery. The daughter of founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, Alison feels a deep connection to the family vineyard and winery. Leading the business with her brother, Alex, she collaborates to guide the strategic future of the business while directly overseeing marketing, sales and administrative functions, including accounting, finance and human resources. Alison carries the torch in Sokol Blosser Winery’s sustainability efforts and commitment to social responsibility, most recently overseeing the notable achievement of the Winery’s B Corp certification.

In addition to earning an MBA at the University of Washington, Alison spent three years working in public relations and marketing communications. Her experience spanned startups to consumer branding giants, such as Nike and Nordstrom. In 2004, she returned to Sokol Blosser and assumed the role of director of marketing. Then, in 2008, she and Alex were named Co-Presidents and completed the transition of the family winery to the next generation.

Alison is involved in the Oregon wine industry as a board member and President-elect of Oregon Pinot Camp as well as a member of Women for Winesense. She is a member of the marketing committee for the Oregon Wine Board, as well as a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization’s Oregon Chapter. In addition, she is a founding board member of the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association.

Alex Sokol Blosser

Co-President and Winemaker: Alex Sokol Blosser

Alex Sokol Blosser is winemaker and Co-President of Sokol Blosser Winery. Son of founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, he grew up in the family business and developed a love for the land and its fruits. As the fourth winemaker in Sokol Blosser’s history, Alex began this role with management of the 2012 harvest.

After attending college in Texas, Alex was drawn back to Oregon to complete his studies while acquiring valuable wine industry experience. He worked in neighboring vineyards and with a Portland wine wholesaler before joining the family business full time in 1998. Once he earned a master’s degree in business from Portland State University, Alex became vice president of sales at Sokol Blosser. He took an active role in the winery’s harvests and began serving as vineyard manager in 2006. In 2008, he and his sister, Alison Sokol Blosser, were named Co-Presidents and completed the transition of the family winery to the next generation. Most recently, Alex achieved a winemaking certificate from the University of California, Davis.

Alex continues his parents’ legacy by being instrumental in shaping Oregon’s wine industry. He spearheaded a project to develop six new American Viticultural Areas in the northern Willamette Valley in 2002.  He is also a past board member and President of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Visit Sokol Blosser Winery Online
Steve and Bridgit Griessel
Betz Family winery

BETZ FAMILY WINERY

Woodinville, Washington

Owners: Steve and Bridgit Griessel

As the managing owners, Steve and Bridgit are thrilled to be part of the next chapter of Betz Family Winery. They live at the winery and have 3 kids. They are dedicated to ensuring that the Company is true to its heritage, culture, wine making principles and patient growth, teaming with Bob who continues as the “patriarch” and winemaker.

In 2002 Steve and Bridgit came to the US from South Africa, a country with a centuries-old winemaking heritage. Their combined passion for wine led them to search the US west coast for a winery to call their own. They were exposed to the character and quality of Washington wine, and the rest is history.

Steve’s love for wine started at a young age while touring South African vineyards. He eventually became a student of the world of wines and then an avid collector. His decades of experience with the diverse wine regions of the world further enhanced his appreciation of Washington wines and his fondness for the wines of Betz Family. He started his first business when he was 25 and has been the co-founder and CEO of many businesses, both private and public, in South Africa and the US. He holds a Bachelors degree in Commerce, a Post Graduate degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Building Science. Over four years ending in September 2014 he completed the Certificate Program of Enology and additionally the Certificate Program of Viticulture at Washington State University.

Bridgit shares Steve’s passion for wine, as well as his business acumen. She grew up in Johannesburg South Africa where her fervor for wine started early with her father and Croatian grandfather making wine and brandy in their garage while she was growing up. She started her first business at 19! Her internet services business soon had offices in Palo Alto, New York, Sydney and London, and her business travels further enhanced her knowledge and appreciation of the world’s great wine regions.

Today Bridgit also owns a high end tour company for trips to Southern Africa, but spends the vast majority of her time engaged at Betz Family. She’s a computer whiz and has greatly enhanced Betz Family Winery’s website and e-commerce platform to deliver a better experience to our valued customers.

Visit Betz Family Winery Online
KR Rombauer
Rombauer Vineyards

ROMBAUER VINEYARDS

St. Helena, California

Owner: Koerner "KR" Rombauer III

KR Rombauer was born in 1963 in Escondido, California, however, he spent most of his early years in the Dallas area, where his father was a pilot for Braniff Airlines.

In 1972, the Rombauer family moved to the Napa Valley close to the town of St. Helena. KR attended public schools in the area through high school. His first hands-on experience in the wine industry came in 1978 at age 15, at Conn Creek Winery, where his parents were partners. KR worked in various capacities during construction, working the harvest and in the wine cellar.

After high school, KR attended California State University, Fresno, where he earned a degree in Business Administration. While KR was in college, his parents began construction of the Rombauer Vineyards winery. He assisted in many aspects of the construction and development of the new business during his time off from college. Upon graduation, KR returned to work at the family winery, primarily in production-related areas.

In 1990, as the winery became well established and the needs of the business evolved, KR moved from production to marketing and sales. There he gained valuable experience working in the national marketplace. He also has been general manager of the winery, and now serves on the Board of Directors and continues to consult with staff in the areas of marketing and sales.

KR and his wife, Laura, became the proud parents of a daughter, Ransome, in 1998. He shares his father’s interest in flying and holds his commercial pilot’s license. One of KR’s personal pleasures is enjoying the great abundance of Napa Valley’s fine foods and wines with family and friends.

Visit Rombauer Vineyards Online
Xavier Barlier
Champagne Roederer Group

CHAMPAGNE LOUIS ROEDERER GROUP

Reims, France

Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communication: Xavier Barlier

Xavier joined Maisons Marques & Domaines (MMD) in 2001 after spending the previous four years in the position of Director of Corporate Alliances and Co-branded Marketing of Disneyland Paris, promoting the Paris theme park internationally. He was previously with the French automotive group Renault for seven years as Head of Public Relations.

Xavier’s wine industry career began in 1981 when he joined Champagne Moët & Chandon in the position of assistant Export Manager. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles to preside over a US wine brokerage company representing French family estates. During his 5 years in the US, Xavier served as a marketing consultant to French food and beverage firms, and also as a regular lecturer on wine marketing for University extension programs. His role today is to oversee all marketing and communication activities, including brand management, wine education, and supplier relations. Xavier holds a Master’s degree in General Management and post-graduate degree certificates from Stanford (’89) and Insead (’96). He was also the Chair of the Wine Market Council.

Visit Champagne Louis Roederer Group Online
+ 2016 AMBASSADORS
Jay Christopher Somers - J. Christopher Wines
J. Christopher Wines

J. CHRISTOPHER WINES

Newberg, Oregon

Winemaker/Owner: Jay Christopher Somers

Jay Christopher Somers wanted to be a rock star. One of his earliest memories was the day his mother came home with the new Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Cosmos Factory. Jay eventually did get a guitar and learned to play with great skill. In terms of careers, however, he did what any college grad with a degree in philosophy would do: he made beer.

After several years as a brewer for McMenamins, he met Ronda, who liked Jay, but didn’t care for beer. Making two of the best decisions of his life, Jay married Ronda and got out of the beer business, deciding to focus, instead, on his latest passion: wine.

In the years leading up to the launch of his own winery, Jay had the great fortune to work with many great winemakers including John Paul at Cameron Winery in Oregon. In his five years at Cameron, Jay adopted an Old World style of vineyard management and winemaking — a style that resulted in wines that tasted more like the Burgundies he loved to drink. With John’s encouragement, he bottled his first J. Christopher vintage in 1996, using the Cameron facility and fruit purchased from the neighboring Charlie’s vineyard. His first vintage, like many to follow, sold out in less than a week. Jay spent the next 11 years making J. Christopher where he continued to develop his Burgundian winemaking style.

After working at the Dr. Loosen winery in Germany’s Mosel Valley in 2004, Jay and winemaker Ernst Loosen discovered that they had a mutual taste and passion for Pinot Noir. Over many bottles of wine, the two hatched a plan, and soon began making a collaborative Oregon Pinot Noir called Appassionata.

In 2010, they formalized their partnership, bought a 40-acre property on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, Oregon, and began building the new J. Christopher winery and Appassionata Vineyard. Today, in addition to making wine, Jay plays lead guitar for the all-winemaker band, Vin Halen.

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Bob Bertheau - Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chateau Ste. Michelle

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE

Woodinville, Washington

Head Winemaker: Bob Bertheau

A passion to find the perfect balance between science and artistic expression is what attracted Bob Bertheau to a career in winemaking and led him on a journey from Idaho and California to Washington state.

After making wine in Sonoma County, California for 16 years, Bob Bertheau returned to his Northwest roots when he joined Chateau Ste. Michelle in June 2003 as its winemaker of white wines. He was quickly promoted to head winemaker in 2004, overseeing the winery’s diverse wine portfolio including Columbia Valley, Single Vineyard, Ethos Reserve, Artist Series and Limited Release club wines.

Bob has spent the past decade working with some of the best vineyards in Washington state, including the winery’s Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards, and investing in cellar equipment designed to enhance wine quality. The move to Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2003 was not only a chance for Bob to make wine for Washington’s founding winery, it was also a chance to return home.

Bob was born in Seattle and went to school in nearby Idaho. He has a degree in chemistry from Boise State University and an MS in food science and enology from the University of California at Davis.

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Larry Maguire - Far Niente
Far Niente

Far Niente

Oakville, California

President and CEO: Larry Maguire

With over 30 years of experience in the fine wine industry, Larry Maguire brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his roles as President and CEO of Far Niente, as well as co-owner of Far Niente and sister wineries Dolce, Nickel & Nickel and EnRoute.

Maguire joined Far Niente in 1983, and together with his partners, led Far Niente from being a small, locally known winery into a critically acclaimed producer. In the succeeding years, the owners launched three sister wineries: Dolce, dedicated to the production of a single, late-harvest wine; Nickel & Nickel, devoted exclusively to producing 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines; and EnRoute, producer of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Today, Maguire oversees the sales and marketing for the four wine companies. Passionate about wine, Maguire regularly visits the great wine regions of the world, tasting in the cellars and homes of some of the world’s most acclaimed vintners.

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Marta Delfa - Torres
Torres

MIGUEL TORRES WINERY

Barcelona, Spain

Global Brand Ambassador & Educator: Marta Delfa

Marta Delfa was born in the heart of the Penedès wine region, home of the Miguel Torres winery. She studied German at the University of Barcelona and spent two years in immersion in Frankfurt, Germany. As a student she worked in her family’s business while independently gaining experience in the local wine industry.

Before finishing college she also spent time abroad in Ireland improving her English. Marta began working directly at the Miguel Torres winery in 2007. Experienced in presentations, wine tourism, client relations and with a very well-developed knowledge in Spanish wine, in 2011 she was promoted to the Torres Global Brand Ambassador. In late 2014 Marta embarked upon a new adventure being expatriated to the US to take on a key role as the Torres Brand Ambassador & Educator.

Marta is a Sommelier by trade and a tremendously passionate wine enthusiast at heart. She is WSET advanced certified and a member of an exclusive club with some of the best oenologists and wine producers of the Penedès region. She enjoys travel, is a culinary aficionado and has an insatiable love for conversation

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+ 2015 AMBASSADORS
Chris Mazepink
Archery Summit

ARCHERY SUMMIT

Dayton, Oregon

Winemaker: Chris Mazepink

Established by Gary Andrus in 1993, a pioneer among winemakers who championed site-specific wines and stressed the importance of clonal selections, Archery Summit has been devoted to crafting exceptional Pinot Noir.

Archery Summit boasts an accomplished team of Pinot Noir experts led by Winemaker and General Manager Chris Mazepink. With years of experience running a large estate devoted to ultra-premium Pinot Noir, Chris came to Archery Summit in 2013 anxious to expand its own world-renowned wine program.

He describes his role as, “a dream job for a winemaker who specializes in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.” He also says,“I firmly believe that the best wines in Oregon are made from the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge AVAs. With Archery Summit’s six estate vineyards planted in these regions, we have all the ingredients to build upon the winery’s past successes.”

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Drew Bledsoe
Doubleback

DOUBLEBACK WINERY

Walla Walla, Washington

Winemaker: Drew Bledsoe

For former NFL Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, owning a winery has been a longtime aspiration that allows him to combine his passion for fine wine and love of the Walla Walla Valley. Drew returned to his hometown in 2007 to plant his first estate vineyard, McQueen, in SeVein Vineyards of Distinction. The following year, Drew launched Doubleback, an estate-focused winery with the goal to produce ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon from the Walla Walla Valley. To make this dream a reality, Drew and his wife Maura, are collaborating with Drew’s childhood friend and Consulting Winemaker, Chris Figgins of Figgins Family Wine Estates, known for producing Leonetti Cellar and FIGGINS.

Since the launch of the first vintage, Doubleback has received numerous accolades including a spot on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List. Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon scores highly by top-rated wine critics year after year.

The Bledsoe’s vision is to create a premium wine experience completely focused around quality. They are committed to using only the best viticulture and winemaking practices to ensure that Doubleback will be one of the best bottles of wine you will drink.

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Tony LeBlanc
Silver Oak

SILVER OAK CELLARS

Napa, California

Winemaker: Tony LeBlanc

As General Manager, Tony oversees all Silver Oak and Twomey facilities and has spent his career building “controlled” environments. He joined Silver Oak in 1992 when Ray Duncan and Justin Meyer purchased the Geyserville winery, which had gone bankrupt under its previous owners. As a carpenter, Tony had helped build that winery and started working in the cellar during the 1982 harvest. “I had to learn quickly about winemaking that first year,” he says. “But I loved it, and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my career.”

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Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta
Sassicaia

SASSICAIA

Tuscany, Italy

Winemaker: Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta

Sassicaia was initially produced as a “family wine” and the first vintage appeared on the market in 1968. During a 1978 Decanter tasting in London, the 1972 vintage was declared the best Cabernet Sauvignon among 33 wines from 11 countries. Since then, Sassicaia has been acclaimed by wine critics worldwide and placed Bolgheri on the wine map of the world. Within the new appellation “Bolgheri DOC” granted in 1994, Sassicaia was honored with a special sub-zone “Sassicaia DOC”, being so far the only wine in Italy with its own appellation. Sassicaia is owned and managed by Marchese Nicoló Incisa della Rocchetta and his daughter Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta.

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