Team Failla Spotlight - Sarah Cleveland

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Team Failla Spotlight - Sarah Cleveland

Team Failla Spotlight 

Sarah Cleveland - Wine Educator

My name is Sarah Cleveland and I am lucky enough to say that i was born and raised in Sonoma County. Considering I was brought up here, surprisingly my passion for wine did not come until my later years. I got a job catering in the town of Healdsburg at a place named Barndiva and was quickly immersed into the land of exquisite food, and coveted wines.

After a while, I worked my way into a bartender position where I was first exposed to Failla. We poured their Sonoma Coast Pinot by the glass, and it was a hit with the customers and our staff always spoke highly of the property. Our wine purchaser for the restaurant went as far to say that Ehren Jordan, Failla's winemaker, was his favorite in the area. That conversation always stayed with me.

After leaving the restaurant, I worked in a tasting room named Lancaster for a little while when I had Failla reach out to me, to have me help them with their annual holiday party. I graciously accepted, and was pleased to be able to meet the tasting room employees, management, production team, and lastly the wine maker himself. It was a pleasure to see such a tight knit team enjoying each other’s company, and being treated after a hard year’s work. A few short months later I was told they had a position open up in the tasting room and I jumped on the opportunity - and was lucky enough to make the cut!

The rest of my story is still to come, but I am so excited to be a member of the Failla team! 

Sarah Cleveland

sarah@faillawines.com

 

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Team Failla Spotlight - Bob During

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Team Failla Spotlight - Bob During

Team Failla Spotlight -

Bob During - DTC Admin

Bob comes to FAILLA after working at Clos Du Val and Grgich Hills in the Napa Valley and Basel Cellars in Walla Walla, WA.

Trained as a teacher and coach Bob fell into the wine business quite by accident in 1998 and immediately found a place he could call home.

One of the newest members of the FAILLA team, Bob’s is the voice heard frequently on the phone or the emails you receive when making a reservation.

Bob During

bob@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Allen Yoshinaga

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Team Failla Spotlight - Allen Yoshinaga

Allen Yoshinaga

Wine Educator

Allen’s just a small town boy from Oregon, living in a lonely world. He was first introduced to Failla before he could drink wine at the age of 20.  He was his Aunt’s designated driver to all of the wineries she wanted to visit while in Napa. This is where he first met co-owner Anne Marie Failla and chatted with her during a harvest lunch.  He was delighted with the wonderful hospitality and kindness that was shown to him.

He recently graduated college at Oregon State University (Go Beavers!) in the Spring of 2015. He started as a major in microbiology and minor in chemistry, but was interested in wine and beer making through a fermentation microbiology course at OSU.  At that point Allen added a minor in fermentation science.

After graduating, he worked on the production side of Failla during the 2015 harvest season, providing an opportunity to put some of the tools that he learned in college to good use! After harvest season ended he became curious about the other side to the wine business.  That is when the sweet, siren-like voice of Geoff Harner convinced this young soul to join the front lines of the Tasting Room team.  Allen hopes to show that same hospitality and kindness to the Failla guests that he was shown the first time that he was a guest at Failla.

Allen Yoshinaga - Wine Educator

allen@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Jane Drummond

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Team Failla Spotlight - Jane Drummond

Jane Drummond

Wine Educator

Jane was born and raised in a small Midwestern town on the Mississippi River, but through travel and family influence she developed a love for hospitality, fine food, and wine. After graduation in May of 2014, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jane decided to spend a year on the road working full time for her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. Living out of a suitcase and traveling to various universities and colleges helped reinforce Jane's love for meeting new people and visiting new places.

 

After a year on the road, Jane decided that continuing her education was the best way to enter the wine world and turn her passion into a career. In fall of 2015, Jane began the Graduate Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. Over the past eight months she has fallen in love with Northern California and is eager to plant her roots here and call it home. She is ecstatic to be a part of the Failla Team!

Jane Drummond

Wine Educator

jane@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Paul Weldy

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Team Failla Spotlight - Paul Weldy

Paul Weldy

Paul for BIO.jpg

Production

Paul is a recent transplant to Failla from the commonwealth of Kentucky. A chef by training, Paul found a love of wine through working with food. He spent the better part of a decade working in retail and wholesale aspects of the wine business. As his wine education evolved, Paul felt a growing a desire to get his hands dirty and learn first-hand how to make the product he talked about every day. 

His first taste of production work at Martinelli in the Russian River Valley was enough to know it was time to jump in feet first. Paul landed a harvest internship at Failla in 2015 and has since transitioned to a full time member of the production crew...now his hands are dirty all the time and he couldn't be happier about it! 

Paul has a wife, Stephanie, and a dog, Odin. They like to cook, hike, drink Kentucky bourbon, and explore this new place they call home.

Paul Weldy

Production@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Liz Bell

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Team Failla Spotlight - Liz Bell

Liz Bell

Wine Educator

Liz Bell Wine Educator

Liz Bell

Wine Educator

I am an East Coast transplant who stumbled into the wine industry in my midtwenties. Having visited Napa multiple times in the past ten years I've lived in California, I wanted to understand the concept of swirling and sniffing wine in a glass. It wasn't until I had my first sip of sparkling wine, made from Pinot, that the light bulb turned on. Ever since then, I've been hooked.

I played around with different varietals, but always chose the road back to Pinot Noir. To be able to find a varietal that can be so expressive of the region it's grown in, as well as how approachable it is, is truly such a beautiful combination. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on my back porch with a nice glass of Pinot and some good tunes.

When the opportunity presented itself for me to see that Failla had a Wine Educator position available, I had to jump on the chance to work for a company that had such an amazing portfolio.

Liz Bell

liz@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Colette Larson

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Team Failla Spotlight - Colette Larson

Colette Larson

Wine Educator

Colette (aka CoCo) is as diverse as the wines she loves to sip and share, call her a good “Meritage” if you will! Colette’s heritage hails from the islands of Hawaii to a village called Skanevik in Norway, to the high plains of South Dakota. Colette comes from farming roots on both sides! Her Grandmothers were always peppering the house with yummy food and with the diversity of her nationality, this brought on a heightened sensory experience for food and wine. As a child she loved all things theatrical, including dance, drama and writing poetry, which accentuated her zest for life.

Being creative lead to expressing herself through the arts and touching the lives of others. With the culmination of all these unique talents, it’s always been her desire to make a difference through genuine hospitality. The launch pad began in Napa and Sonoma nearly a decade ago where she threw herself to the study of wine and becoming a sommelier in training. This amazing platform birthed fresh ideas of bringing all her talents together which in turn became the very pulse and passion for the wine industry. As her tag line goes, “some things are better off shared”. 

Colette Larson

colette@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Cat Fairchild

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Team Failla Spotlight - Cat Fairchild

Cat Fairchild

National Sales

Cat Fairchild made her way to the California wine scene by way of Colorado. Her path to Failla started with various years of dedication to the food and beverage industry including extensive terms at The Broadmoor Hotel, and most recently, The Roaring Fork Club.

She was introduced to Failla through her work with a legendary sommelier in Aspen, CO and eagerly jumped on the opportunity to work the 2014 harvest. Now, her role involves the enhancement of sales, presence in the market, brand recognition, and organization on an administrative front. When Cat is not enjoying herself in the world of wine, she can be found in the great outdoors hiking, running, or skiing. 

Cat Fairchild

Cat@faillawines.com

 

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Team Failla Spotlight - Donna Prewoznik

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Team Failla Spotlight - Donna Prewoznik

Donna Prewoznik

Human Resources

Donna came to the Napa Valley in 1984 and started her career in the wine industry. She worked for a larger Napa Valley wine organization for 25 years. During that career period she provided executive assistance to the winemaker and later was a corporate Human Resources Manager.

Donna loves working with the team at Failla and enjoys sharing the wine country experience with our guests. Outside of work, you will find Donna spending time with friends, cycling or gardening. If you plan to be in the Napa Valley and wish to visit Failla, Donna is the welcoming voice at 707-963-0530.

Donna Prewoznik

donna@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Jonathan Walton

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Team Failla Spotlight - Jonathan Walton

Jonathan Walton

Production

Mr. Walton came to wine a little too early. Many of his childhood afternoons were spent sitting on the floors of tasting rooms around and about Paso Robles and Monterey, idly waiting for his father to wash down one more swirl of swill. Oh yes, much later as he headed the wine department of the Berkeley Whole Foods Jonathan became enraptured with the Biodynamic wines of the Southern Rhone and The Languedoc.

His tastes and passions followed him east to Brooklyn where he wore many hats for the upstart urban winery Brooklyn Oenology, but the lure of the Sonoma Coast was too strong. In 2013 Jonathan cut his teeth with the crew at Martinelli winery before doing a but-too-brief sojourn in the Wairau Valley at Huia’s sustainably farmed Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Vineyards. Once again, the siren’s song of cool climate Cali Pinot called to Jonathan, bid him to cross back over the Pacific. He had landed at Failla, and after one taste of the Chuy Big Egg, knew he’d found a winery whose vision he could embrace and call his own.

Jonathan Walton, Production

production@faillawines.com

 

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Team Failla Spotlight - Savanna Wright

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Team Failla Spotlight - Savanna Wright

Savanna Wright

Assistant Winemaker

Savanna Wright, born in Santa Cruz, CA, grew up on the East Coast. From her first gig at age 15— selling produce at a farm stand in Poughkeepsie, NY—to a career at such esteemed restaurants as Obelisk Trattoria in Washington, DC and Gramercy Tavern in NYC, food and wine have been her lifelong passion.

Having secured a harvest internship at Failla for the 2010 harvest, Savanna instantly found a home among the passionate folks who farm and make wine here. Savanna spends her free time cooking, knitting, playing guitar really, really badly, and occasionally singing along to her own bad guitar tunes…

Savanna Wright

savanna@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Steve Ponzo

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Team Failla Spotlight - Steve Ponzo

Steve Ponzo 

Production

Whether it was at my house or on the family ranch, I spent most of my childhood running around a vineyard. Because of this, instead of piggy back rides, my brother and I got harvester rides. We played hide and go seek on four-wheelers. I learned to drive a tractor before I learned to drive a car. My chores consisted of putting drip emitters into the irrigation lines and pulling “suckers”. I even got to use a machete to hedge the vines.

However, I took it for granted and moved away for college. After accomplishing next to nothing, I moved back. By this time, my parents were living at the ranch house and, since the grapes were right there, I decided to try and make wine. Let’s just say I didn’t have beginners luck. I needed to learn more, much more.

I found a mentor at Davis Bynum winery who taught me the basics; how to roll a barrel, how to drive a forklift, and most important, be gentle with Pinot noir. After he left, he sent me over to Ridge Vineyards where I got to walk through some amazing old vine Zinfandel vineyards as a field scout. I soaked up as much knowledge from those vines as they were willing to ooze out.

I also got my first taste of harvest there; 12-16 hour days, 6-7 days a week. By the end of the internship, I was tired, but very much hooked. I then landed at Preston Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley where my cellar skills were fine tuned. After gaining too much weight from their fresh baked bread, I left Preston and went back to school for winemaking. This time around I was much more focused and excelled in all of my classes. Once I was done with school, it was time to get back to work and so I applied to a post for harvest at Failla.

I remember looking at the website and being totally amazed by the vineyards and the people behind the wines and I am humbled and thrilled to be working with such amazing fruit and such a talented crew. 

Steve Ponzo

production@faillawines.com

 

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Team Failla Spotlight - Ehren Jordan

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Team Failla Spotlight - Ehren Jordan

Ehren Jordan 

Owner, Winemaker

Ehren began his preparation for winemaking at George Washington University where he majored in Art History with a minor in Classical Archeology. "Of course", you say, "obvious prerequisites for a winemaking career". In fact, Ehren has no formal degree in fermentation science from any institution, a fact he proudly credits with his success.

Instead, one of those "thousand insignificant choices we make everyday" set him on his course: he got a part-time job as stock boy at Bell’s Wine Shop down the street from ABC Studios in Washington, D.C. While Bell’s proprietors, the brothers Luskin, certainly introduced young Jordan to the possibilities of connoisseurship, Ehren tells more anecdotes about waiting on Sam Donaldson and Andy Rooney than about sublime vertical tastings of Chateau Latour. (Ever heard the expression "Youth is wasted on the young"?)

Eschewing traditional routes to a winemaking education, Ehren instead worked his way up the vertical integration ladder. After graduating from college in 1989, he left for Denver, Colorado where he worked briefly as a sales rep for a large wine distributor. But the siren song of ski season in the Rockies grew louder as winter approached and Ehren headed for the restaurant scene in Aspen. Schussing by day and bussing by night, our 21-year-old would-be winemaker went from wine steward to sommelier/manager by the end of the season.

As the snows and drinking crowds melted, Ehren headed to the Napa Valley with a posse of associates from the restaurant on the first leg of what was to be an extended journey during the Aspen off-season. However, finding the funds low, our hapless hero presented himself on the doorstep of Joseph Phelps Vineyards looking for a temporary job as a tour guide…. Three years later, after stints giving tours, working in the cellar, making sales calls with then VP Bruce Neyers, and managing retail sales, Ehren finally left Phelps to try his hand at winemaking in the venerable vineyards of the Rhône Valley.

Celebrated oenologist Jean-Luc Columbo took a chance on the erstwhile Ehren, whom he had met the prior year. A Francophile since adolescence, Ehren threw himself into all aspects of what seemed like turn-of-the-century winemaking in age-old caves and endurance-sport viticulture on the terraced hillsides of Cornas. During the sodden 1992 and 1993 vintages Ehren helped make Les Ruchets, Columbo’s own label, and visited many of Columbo’s clients, among some of France’s most esteemed wine brains.

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Team Failla Spotlight - Benjamin Richardson!

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Team Failla Spotlight - Benjamin Richardson!

Benjamin Richardson

Director of Hospitality

Benjamin comes to Failla locked and loaded with a wine knowledge from various stints as a sommelier at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the US such as Frasca (Boulder, CO) and The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena, CA). He not only helps guide our staff, but creates magical experiences for our guests.  

Benjamin joins Failla Wines after 12 years in the high-end restaurant industry. Having held the post as the Sommelier at Michelin 3-Star rated The Restaurant at Meadowood; in addition to helping run the wine program at James Beard Award winning Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, Benjamin has had the opportunity to cultivate his hospitality skills at some of the top restaurants in America.

Whether working with Chef Christopher Kostow to create memorable experiences for discerning guests, or working the floor alongside Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey to achieve an attentive yet casual neighborhood feel, Benjamin has honed a deft touch as a wine and hospitality professional.  

As an Advanced Sommelier, he brings his passion for wine and his craft of developing unique and meaningful experiences to the Failla team as their Director of Hospitality. A native of Georgia and having spent over 14 years in Colorado before making his way to California, Benjamin now lives in St Helena with his wife and daughter. When he isn’t at the winery or enjoying the outdoors with his family, you might find him trail running in the local wilderness.

Benjamin Richardson

707-963-0530 Ext: 200

benjamin@faillawines.com

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Team Failla Spotlight - Brian Miracle!

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Team Failla Spotlight - Brian Miracle!

Brian Miracle

National Sales, Mid-West

The Miracle Man sure knows how to sell wine in the Mid- West. As a native ‘cheese head,’ Brian worked in the world of wine distribution for years in Wisconsin and Illinois where he ultimately sold his own distributorship and ventured to California to work for Failla. 

Brian is a 25 year veteran of the wine industry. He caught the “wine bug” while attending the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where he worked at a local wine shop, and his wine addiction escalated from there. His vast experience in the wine business includes a tenure as Beverage Manager at a boutique supermarket/wine shop, Midwest Sales Manager for Robert Kacher Selections in Chicago, opening a successful wine bar (Balzac Wine Bar, Milwaukee, WI), and as an owner/partner of 3 successful wholesale distributorships. Brian resides in Napa, CA, where he enjoys biking and goofing off. 

 

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