Wine Business Institute Board of Directors

The Wine Business Institute Board of Directors offers senior industry expertise to guide the Institute's work, expand deep connections with all aspects and regions of the wine industry, and ensure the Institute's long-term sustainability. 

 

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Gary Heck - Board Chairman

President & Owner, Korbel Champagne Cellars

Gary Heck is the owner, President, and Chairman of Korbel Champagne Cellars. Heck was appointed as the President in 1982 and has continued the legacy of his father, Korbel's previous owner. Heck grew up in the champagne-making business and now produces the leading premium champagne in this country. Learn more about Gary Heck.

 

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Ron Rubin - Board President

Proprietor, Ron Rubin Winery | CEO 

Ron Rubin is dedicated to enriching people's lives through premium teas, education and innovation - emphasizing a "Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp" lifestyle. Rubin is also the owner of the River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, a small-production winery located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley American Viticulture Area located in Sonoma County, California. Learn more about Ron Rubin.

 

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George Hamel - Board Vice President

Managing Director, Hamel Family Wines 

George has overseen the financial, sales and business operations of Hamel Family Wines since 2011, although he has been actively involved in his family business for 30 years. Prior to joining his family business, George was Financial Advisor with the Private Wealth Management group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New York City and Palm Beach. Learn more about George Hamel III.

 

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Kaj Ahlmann

Proprietor, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery 

In 2000, Kaj Ahlmann and his wife purchased a 4,300 acre ranch in Lake County and named it Six Sigma Ranch. The release of the first wine under the label, Six Sigma Ranch, was celebrated in 2006. Kaj Ahlmann applies the Six Sigma methods on this ranch in both the grape growing and winemaking processes, and continuously monitors and refines data at each stage. Learn more about Kaj Ahlmann.

 

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Caroline Coleman Bailey - Founding Board President 

Gallo Family 

Caroline Coleman Bailey is a third-generation member of the Gallo family and her experience within the company includes public relations, corporate and brand communications, as well as marketing and sales. She has served as the lead spokesperson for the Gallo Family. Learn more about Caroline Bailey.

 

 

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Tom Bonomi

President & CFO, Price Family Vineyards & Estates

Tom and Bill Price established Classic Wines in 2007. Classic Wines and its affiliates own interests in several wine companies including Buccella, Gary Farrell, Kistler Vineyards, LUTUM and Three Sticks.  Independent from the wine companies, Classic Wines and its affiliates own 300 planted acres and 6 vineyard properties including Durell Vineyards and Gap's Crown Vineyard.  Prior to joining Classic Wines, Tom was a Managing Director with Global Wine Partners. Tom currently serves on the Pride Mountain Vineyards Board of Managers. Learn more about Tom Bonomi. 

 

David Bowman

David Bowman 

Executive Vice President of Marketing, DTC & Digital, Jackson Family Wines 

David has led marketing management, direct-to-consumer sales, and digital/eCommerce organizations responsible for a brand portfolio of 22 wineries based in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Oregon. He has managed profitable growth of $600M+ P&L inclusive of national retail and on-premise sales, direct-to-consumer sales via subscription and allocation based models and eCommerce. Additionally, he has developed 5-year financial plans, 5-year business strategies, and executed successful commercial integration for five acquisitions (Siduri, Penner-Ash, WillaKenzie Estate, Copain, Brewer-Clifton). Learn more about David Bowman.

 

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Chris Burt 

Vice President & Managing Director West Division, Brown-Forman

Chris heads up sales and marketing execution within the Western United States. Chris has been with Brown-Forman since 1985. Chris is an alumnus of Sonoma State University, has an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and is a graduate from the UCLA Anderson Executive Program in Management. Learn more about Chris Burt.

 

 

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Brian Clements

Vice President/Partner, Turrentine Brokerage

Brian Clements, who has negotiated over half a billion dollars worth of wine grape contracts during the last twenty-five years, is well rooted in the agricultural side of the wine business, with all of its complexity and constant changes. Brian is Vice-President and Partner at Turrentine Brokerage, where he manages an industry-leading team of grape brokers dedicated to helping brand owners fuel sales growth, growers find the best homes for their fruit and financiers manage risk and take advantage of supply cycles.Learn more about Brian Clements.

 

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Mary Jo Dale 

Marekting Director - the Americas, Vinventions

Mary Jo Dale honed her marketing expertise outside the industry via key positions including Director of Marketing for Westin Hotels & Resorts, Vice President Customer Marketing at AT&T Wireless and CMO for Gateway Computers. Over the last ten years she has partnered with many leading wineries and wine companies to build advanced marketing programs including Kosta Browne, St. Francis, Gary Farrell, Crimson Wine Group and Treasury Wine Estates. In her current position with Vinventions, the world's leading supplier of wine closures, she is responsible for developing marketing programs and strategic partnerships in the Americas to benefit the wine industry. Learn more about Mary Jo Dale.

 

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Steve Gross 

Director of State Relations, CA Wine Institute

Steve Gross is Director of State Relations at Wine Institute, where he has been employed since 1986.  Steve's duties entail overseeing the activities of Wine Institute's six State Relations Regional Counsels and Regional Managers as they address state legislation affecting the wine industry, as well as coordinating Wine Institute's legislative and regulatory activities with staff, contract lobbyists and member wineries. Learn more about Steve Gross.

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Dan Grunbeck 

Executive Vice President, Client Services and Business Development, Young's Market Company

Dan Grunbeck is a 26-year veteran of the wine and spirits industry. At Young's, Dan leads a team dedicated to developing strong business relationships with client/supplier partners. Prior to joining Young's in 2009, Dan led national sales for Pernod Ricard, William Grant & Sons Distillers, and Seagram Chateau & Estates. Learn more about Dan Grunbeck.

 

Richard Idell

Richard Idell 

Of Counsel, Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty

Richard J. Idell is the founding partner of The Idell Firm and of counsel to the law firm of Dickenson, Peatman and Fogarty in Napa and Santa Rosa (www.dpf-law.com), wine industry specialists. Richard’s litigation and transactional practice focuses primarily on the live entertainment industry and the wine industry. On the wine industry side of the practice, he represents and advises wineries, vineyard owners and other wine industry businesses on a variety of IP, business and real estate issues: trademark/branding, regulatory/environmental issues, winery and vineyard acquisition, Williamson Act, real property matters including permitting of wineries and tasting rooms, zoning, easements, vineyard leases, grape contracts, custom crush agreements and alternating proprietorship agreements. On the entertainment side, he represents presenters of live entertainment performances. Richard and his wife Susan are grape growers in Sonoma Valley since 2005 and produce wine under the brand: Idell Family Vineyards. Learn more about Richard Idell. 

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Ray Johnson 

Executive Director, Wine Business Institute

As executive director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, Ray's role includes organizational development and program execution as well as operational oversight of programs and events at the future Wine Spectator Learning Center. Previously his work in the VESTA alliance as well as with his company - TasteWine - has led to teaching seminars from San Francisco to New York. His international experience and network in Australia, Europe, Canada, and South Africa will connect students and alumni to wineries across the globe. Learn more about Ray Johnson.

 

James Kimball

James Kimball 

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Marin

As Chief Operating Officer, James is responsible for the management of the Bank's lines of business, including commercial banking, retail banking, wealth management & trust and marketing. Learn more about James Kimball. 

 

 



 

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Walt Klenz 

Vice Chairman, The Vincraft Group

Walt Klenz began his California wine industry career in 1973. In 1976, he was named Director of Marketing at Beringer Vineyards. Klenz held a number of senior marketing, financial and operations positions at Beringer until his appointment in 1990 as President. After Beringer was sold to Foster's Group in 2000, he headed Foster's global wine business. Klenz served on the Advisory Board of ASC Fine Wines from 2008 to 2010 and also serves on the Board of Directors of J. Lohr Winery and Columbia Sportswear Company. He is a past President of Napa Valley Vintners and a past Chairman of the Wine Institute.  Learn more about Walt Klenz.

 

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Erle Martin 

Executive Vice President, Wholesale West, The Winebow Group

Erle Martin is a wine industry executive with over 25 years of experience. Erle has a demonstrated ability to recruit and build strong teams, resulting in exceptional performance. He turned both the Coppola and Crimson Wine Group entities into industry leaders with combined topline growth exceeding 5X. During his tenure at Crimson, he took the company public in 2013, which consistently traded at a premium to book value. Erle has served as President of the Stag's Leap District Winegrowers Association, and has been active on several Napa Valley Vintners committees. Learn more about Erle Martin.

 

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Steve Meyers 

Managing Director, North America of Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners

Since 2010, Steve Myers has served as the Managing Director for Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners, owner and importer of highly acclaimed wineries from Oregon, California, Australia, and New Zealand - including flagship brands Argyle Winery and MacRostie Winery in the US. Steve previously served on the executive teams for Duckhorn Wine Company, Beam Wine Estates, and Allied Domecq Wines in sales, marketing, and business development roles. Learn more about Steve Myers.  

 

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Carol O'Hara 

Managing Partner, Northbay Practice and Consumer Products, Wine and Craft Beverage Industry Group Leader, BPM

Carol brings more than 20 years of professional experience, delivering services to a wide spectrum of companies, including winery & vineyard, craft beverages and spirits, natural products, manufacturing, health care, government, real estate, nonprofit, financial services, and hospitality. Carol is recognized by her colleagues and clients for exceptional client service. An astute technical audit professional, Carol has advised clients through difficult accounting issues and several acquisitions. Prior to joining BPM Carol spent 18 years, seven as a partner, with KPMG in San Francisco and London. Her responsibilities included overseeing services to the fourth largest U.S. Bank. Learn more about Carol O'Hara.

 

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Michael Osborn 

Founder and Vice President of Merchandising, Wine.com

Mike Osborn has been a pioneer in online wine retailing since founding Wine.com as eVineyard in 1998. Mike leads the company's efforts in merchandising its wine and gifts, and holds key wine industry relationships worldwide. From 1992 to 1998, he held senior management roles as VP Sales and VP Marketing for CTR Business Systems, a software and systems integration business. In 1992, Mike merged his six-year-old software business he founded as a high school student, Expert Technology Corporation, with CTR.Learn more about Michael Osborn.  

 

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Frederick W. Pierce IV 

President & CEO, Pierce Education Properties, L.P.; Trustee Emeritus, The California State University

Frederick W. Pierce IV is the President and CEO of Pierce Education Properties, a San Diego-based owner, manager and developer of student housing and education-based real estate. Learn more about Fred Pierce.

 

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Alex Ryan 

President & Chief Executive Officer of Duckhorn Wine Company 

Since 1988, Alex Ryan's visionary leadership has been instrumental in establishing and growing Duckhorn Wine Company into one of the most highly respected and fastest-growing luxury wine companies in the industry. Alex started at Duckhorn as the vineyard manager, was made general manager and chief operations officer in 2000, and promoted to President in 2005, earning him a reputation as a "winemakers president", known for his commitment to quality from grape to glass. Learn more about Alex Ryan.

 

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Barbara Talbott 

Founder and CEO, GlenLarkin Advisors | Former CMO of Four Seasons Hotels

Barbara Talbott is former Chief Marketing Officer for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. From 1989-2008 she led the effort which introduced Four Seasons to more than 30 new global markets and built a brand that is widely recognized as one of the world's most valued. In 2009 she founded GlenLarkin, where she advises CEOs and senior teams in hospitality and related industries. She helps executives create competitive advantage through effective marketing and excellence in customer experience. She has received HSMAI's lifetime achievement award for marketing innovation. Learn more about Barbara Talbott.

 

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Karen Thompson 

Managing Director, School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University

Formerly the interim dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University, Dr. Karen Thompson's current role as managing director focuses on AACSB accreditation, . Dr. Thompson's expertise is in leadership and organizational behavior, and her pre-academic background included positions in the financial services and digital print technology industries, among others. Learn more about Dr. Karen Thompson.

 

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Douglas Thornley 

Principal, Gould Evans 

Douglas Thornley has developed a reputation for designing successful, award-winning winery projects in Napa and Sonoma Counties. As a Principal of Gould Evans, he is involved in every aspect of design for the firm’s winery projects, from concept design through construction.  He has been published in Wines & Vines and Practical Wines & Vineyards Journal and recently authored a chapter in the book “Strategic Winery and Tourism Management,” which was named by The Gourmand Awards as the national winner in the Best Wine Book Professionals category. Whether working with clients or jointly leading the San Francisco Studio, Douglas is a “hands-on” collaborator. Learn more about Douglas Thornley.

 

Michael Walker

Michael Walker 

Vice President, Public Affairs, Constellation Brands 

Learn more about Michael Walker.

 

 

 

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Diane Wilson 

Winemaker, Wilson Artisan Wines 

Diane Wilson has been chief winemaker at Wilson Artisan Wines since 1998. Learn more about Diane Wilson.