As president, Mari Jones oversees all aspects of Emeritus Vineyards. Like her father, Brice Cutrer Jones, Mari believes in a collaborative approach that empowers the talented Emeritus team. She works closely with Vineyard Manager Kirk Lokka and Winemaker Dave Lattin to cultivate high standards of excellence at Emeritus.
Mari grew up playing, camping, and even learning to drive on the Sonoma–Cutrer Estate. At the age of 12, she took her first trip to Burgundy with her father to buy barrels. It was there where Mari discovered Pinot Noir. In a centuries-old cellar, she turned to her father with a glass of Pinot in hand and told him, “This wine is better than yours. You should make wine like this.” Brice was speechless (and in complete agreement).
“That experience gave me a new perspective on my family business. It was also when I fell in love with Pinot Noir.”
Though an early passion for wine had been instilled in Mari, she was eager to chart her own path. After earning a philosophy degree at Colgate University, she moved to Colorado and worked at the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program. In 2012, after years of giving her father advice from afar, he invited Mari to return to wine country to build a tasting room. Over the next three years, Mari oversaw the design and construction of the Emeritus tasting room, and in 2017, USA Today named Emeritus the “#1 Winery Tour in the USA.” She also founded our E-Club, which in the years since has grown into a thriving community of wine enthusiasts.
“From the beginning, we’ve strived to create experiences and build relationships that are personal and meaningful. More than just sharing our wines, we want to share who we are, what we do, and why we love doing it. The more I focused on these goals, the more I knew that Emeritus was something that I wanted to be a part of for decades to come.”
As the dedicated second generation to our family-run winery, Mari is active in the wine community. She believes in the power of educating consumers and trade about the beauty of her region, and that together the community can accomplish more than any one individual. She is on the board of directors for the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and Russian River Valley Pinot Forum. She works with the Sonoma County Vintners International Committee to sell and promote Sonoma County wines all over the world. She also works with the Sonoma County Vintners New Gen Committee, who work to create a collaborative environment for young winemakers and owners, and to promote Sonoma County to the next generation of wine enthusiasts. Mari is a mentor to up-and-coming wine professionals through The Verasion Project and Batonnage. In part due to this work she was named one of the ’40 Under 40′ by the North Bay Business Journal in 2022.
At the winery, Mari works with the team to produce the most elegant expressions of Pinot Noir from our vineyards. These wines match the complexity and depth of the ones she first fell in love with in Burgundy, but with a style that’s all California (much like herself). She approaches her role with a long-term vision of sustainability in every sense, from the land to our Emeritus family and beyond.
When not at the winery or traveling the world to share Emeritus, you can find Mari snowboarding, hiking with her dog Mocha or volunteering.
Kirk Lokka has a well-earned reputation as one of the most accomplished and respected vineyard managers in North America. He has brought a meticulous level of detail and thoughtfulness to planning and planting Emeritus’ estate vineyards. This visionary approach includes dry farming at both vineyards—further elevating the remarkable quality of our California Pinot Noir fruit.
Kirk was born and raised in Sonoma. He first decided on a career in farming at age eight, while riding the tractor at his grandfather’s farm. After receiving his degree in plant science from Fresno State University, he worked on a large cotton farm in Corcoran, California. There, he learned two important things: he did not want to grow cotton, nor to work in the Central Valley. As soon as he could, he moved home to Sonoma County and took a job as a foreman at Sonoma–Cutrer in 1981. His knowledge and dedication quickly earned him the promotion to vineyard manager.
During his 23-year career at Sonoma–Cutrer, Kirk oversaw over 1,200 acres of estate vineyards, including the planting of acclaimed Vine Hill and Owsley Ranch vineyards. Throughout this period, Kirk also helped found the Russian River Valley Winegrowers association, where he served as two-time president. Sonoma County named him “Agri-Business Person of the Year” in 1997.
While at Sonoma–Cutrer, Kirk became good friends with the winery’s founder, Brice Cutrer Jones. They discovered Hallberg Ranch in the mid-90s and coveted it until 1999, when Brice sold Sonoma–Cutrer. When founding Emeritus together, Brice and Kirk did so with the goal of establishing the finest Pinot Noir vineyard in California. Several members of Kirk’s vineyard crew followed him to Emeritus, forming the core of our acclaimed 17-person, full-time vineyard team.
“As a vineyard manager, it is incredibly rare when you are given the perfect piece of land to plant a vineyard, and all of the resources necessary to do it exactly the way you know it should be done.”
In 2007, Kirk and Brice took inspiration from their friends in Burgundy began transitioning into dry farming at Hallberg Ranch. The following year, Kirk began planting Pinot Hill, a smaller estate vineyard located in the Sebastopol Hills. Dry farming both vineyards established Emeritus as a viticultural leader. Today the two vineyards combined give Emeritus over 140 acres, forming the largest dry-farmed Pinot Noir estate in Sonoma County. Possibly in all of California! In acknowledgment of his pioneering work at Emeritus, the Sonoma County Winegrowers Association honored Kirk as the “Sonoma County Grower of the Year” in 2017.
Kirk lives on Hallberg Ranch with his wife. He raises sheep and goats at his house, occasionally running the sheep in the vineyard to mow and fertilize. A firm believer in passing on his knowledge to future generations, Kirk avidly supports local 4-H clubs and wine country ag programs.
As the son and grandson of West Point officers, Brice learned to fly when he was just 13 years old. He attended the brand new Air Force Academy and graduated as part of the second class ever in 1961. In 1965, after serving as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, Brice was appointed aide-de-camp to the general in charge of the Vietnam air war. The general also happened to be an avid wine enthusiast.
“One of the things I learned from him was how little I knew about wine. But the hook was set, and when I retired from the Air Force, I left with a passion for wine.”
Returning to the United States, Brice attended Harvard Business School for the knowledge needed to establish his own vineyard. After earning his MBA in 1972, he founded Sonoma–Cutrer Vineyards. Within the year he was planting estate vineyards in Sonoma County, focusing exclusively on Chardonnay. This made him an early pioneer in the white wine boom that quickly reshaped the American wine landscape. Over the next quarter century Brice established more than 1,000 acres of Chardonnay and built Sonoma–Cutrer into one of America’s most acclaimed wineries. He also developed enduring friendships with some of the most esteemed vintners in Burgundy. In 1999, he was inducted into the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin at a special ceremony at Clos de Vougeot.
That same year, Brice sold Sonoma–Cutrer Vineyards. Some might have embraced the moment as an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Brice, however, immediately began writing a remarkable new chapter in a story that has already seen him go from being an Air Force pilot to one of America’s most respected vintners.
He purchased Hallberg Ranch and founded Emeritus Vineyards with no intention of planting the grape he had built his reputation on. Instead, he had his heart set on creating a new benchmark for New World Pinot Noir. Unlike many California vintners, he has no qualms about citing Burgundy as the inspiration for Emeritus.
“Over the years, the things I have learned about growing and making Pinot Noir from my friends and colleagues in Burgundy have been incredibly eye-opening. While it’s been amazing to see what North America has accomplished over the past 50 years, the French have been refining their methods for more than 1,300 years.”
As the founder of Emeritus Vineyards, Brice has dedicated two decades to establishing one of California’s finest Pinot Noir estates. Today, his daughter Mari and the Emeritus Team makes some of the New World’s most dynamic and complex Pinot Noirs from more than 140 acres of vines spread between two grand cru-caliber, dry-farmed vineyards.
“Emeritus means to earn through service. I chose the name because Emeritus is the culmination of everything I have learned about wine throughout my life. But I also chose it because what we are striving to achieve is something unique and special. It is a goal that has to be earned. Everyone here believes passionately in what we are doing. This spirit is an essential part of our wines.”
Keith Hammond was born and raised in Sebastopol, a true Sonoma County native. From the start, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has set a high standard for Keith and has largely shaped his vision and expectations for fine wine. Keith originally joined the Emeritus Vineyards team in 2007 and honed his craft working alongside all three of his winemaking predecessors – Don Blackburn, Nicolas Cantacuzène, and David Lattin. Under the mentorship of founding winemaker Don Blackburn, Keith played a key role in crafting some of the winery’s earliest wines. After Blackburn’s passing in 2009, Keith spent six years working alongside Winemaker Nicolas Cantacuzène refining the Emeritus Vineyards style.
In 2016, eager to augment his experience working with other regions and varietals, Keith joined Inglenook as Cellar Master, where he worked with Philippe Bascaules, the Managing Director of Château Margaux and Inglenook. “Philippe showed me the Chateau Margaux way. He also cemented what I’d learned at Emeritus – that wines can shine when made in a graceful and restrained style.”
“My time away from Emeritus taught me that Pinot Noir is in my DNA, When I returned here, I knew that I wanted to spend my career crafting Pinot Noirs that explore the beauty and character of Hallberg Ranch and Pinot Hill. This belief has only grown over the past five years. The approach we have here—all Pinot Noir, all estate, all dry farmed—is so unique and special, as are the wines it produces. I’m proud to continue the work begun by Don, Nicholas and Dave, and to work alongside Mari and our amazing team to carry on the Emeritus Vineyards legacy.”
In 2017, Keith was invited to rejoin Emeritus Vineyards as Assistant Winemaker alongside Winemaker David Lattin. In the years that followed, Dave and Keith forged a highly collaborative partnership as they worked to perfect the Emeritus style. This included converting fermentations to native yeast, adopting new methods for cold stabilization, adding new forests to the barrel program, reducing toast levels, and working to identify the most extraordinary vineyard blocks to create new small-production wines. In 2023, Keith took over the role of Winemaker from David who transitioned to the consulting role of Winemaker Emeritus.
When Keith’s not making wine, he loves to explore new places, new wines, and new food with his wife Amber.
In 2023, David has taken on the new position of Winemaker Emeritus remaining part of the Emeritus family but acting in a consulting role to Keith and as a traveling ambassador for the winery. Since joining Emeritus in 2017, David embraced and drove the challenge of crafting profoundly vineyard-driven Pinot Noirs of uncommon purity and aging potential.
David’s contribution to Emeritus, beyond making the award-winning Pinot Noirs that reflect the terroir of Hallberg Ranch and Pinot Hill, focused on preserving the clonal diversity of the different estate blocks by doing as many as 50 individual fermentations each vintage. As all vines at Emeritus are dry-farmed, David also focused on assessing the maturity of different clones at different Brix levels in the pursuit of sophistication and finesse. In conjunction with Brice, David further refined Emeritus’s barrel program ultimately sourcing barrels from three different coopers, each family owned for multiple generations.
Prior to joining Emeritus, David made a wide variety of wines at renowned wineries like Merus, Storybook Mountain, and Kuleto Estate, he began his career at Acacia Winery in 1984. That was where he first fell under the spell of Pinot Noir.
“Pinot Noir is the varietal I cut my teeth on, and it is still the one I love the most. Making a great Pinot Noir—one with nuance, elegance and a deep and meaningful sense of place—is incredibly difficult, and to me is the ultimate challenge.”
David grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, and spent two formative years living in Europe, where his father taught university. From his first memorable sip of Mosel at the age of six, he has cultivated a keen palate and a passion for wine. After earning his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Oregon State University, David moved to California to pursue a master’s degree in enology from UC Davis. While at Davis, David met the winemaker for Acacia, who convinced him to join the winery’s team as an intern.
The work inspired him beyond his expectations and he quickly fell in love with winemaking. After turning in his thesis, David followed his girlfriend (now his wife) to Paris, where he developed a deep appreciation of French wines. On a shoestring budget, and at times living out of a tent, he regularly traveled to the great wineries of Bordeaux in search of work, ultimately landing a cellar job at Troplong-Mondot.
After returning to the U.S., he worked as the enologist at Robert Pecota, and later as the cellar master at Storybook Mountain, before rejoining Acacia, where he was promoted to winemaker, and to general manager/winemaker five years later. After eleven years at Acacia, David became the winemaker for Kuleto Estate and earned a reputation for making some of Napa Valley’s most alluring and sophisticated mountain-grown wines. In recognition of his skill, when vintner Bill Foley acquired Kuleto Estate, Dave also became the winemaker for Napa Valley’s acclaimed Merus Wines. In early 2017, Dave left Kuleto Estate and Merus to join the team at Emeritus.
Born and raised in Sonoma County, Riggs Lokka was raised in the wine industry—from going to work with his dad at Sonoma Cutrer to going with his mom to Glenn Ellen Winery. When Emeritus Vineyards was established, he planted vines alongside the vineyard crew and has been a piece of the puzzle ever since.
When the Lokkas moved to the ranch in 2004, Riggs enrolled at El Molino High School and took an agriculture class, where he discovered a love for animals. This also planted the seed for teaching. He actively participated in 4H as a member, and flourished in FFA where he excelled in career development events. While in high school, Riggs competed in Livestock Judging and Grapevine Pruning. His skills and hard work paid off there, propelling him towards being a State Champion Livestock Judge in 2007 and three-time Sonoma County Pruning Champion.
After completing high school Riggs moved on to Santa Rosa Junior College, where he earned associate degrees in Animal Science and Vineyard Management, and then to Fresno State for a degree in Teaching as well. While at Fresno State he managed the vegetable crop unit, sheep unit, and in his spare time would also cut meat in the 100% student-run Fresno State Meat Lab.
Riggs went into teaching in 2013 at Santa Rosa High School, instructing students in Animal Science and Viticulture. Three years later he decided to try something different; he moved south to Stockton and taught Agriculture Mechanics (welding and woodshop). Every summer, when not attending fairs and helping kids with projects, Riggs returned home to work alongside his father Kirk at Emeritus.
In July of 2020, Riggs decided that while teaching for seven years had been incredibly fulfilling, he was ready to transition to his final career. He moved back to Sonoma County and joined the Emeritus Vineyards crew full time, and these days can be found either out in the vineyards, popping into the tasting room to provide a laugh, or with his wife Emily, Mini Heeler dog Jade, and cat Ivy.
As national sales manager, Michael Burton leverages a quarter century of experience in almost every aspect of the wine industry to guide the sales program for Emeritus Vineyards. A dynamic and accomplished executive, he was drawn to Emeritus by the opportunity to work at a singularly focused, family-run winery.
“It is a rarity when a winery dedicates itself to doing one thing exceptionally well. The commitment Emeritus has made to focus exclusively on dry-farmed estate-grown Pinot Noir reminds me of the great wineries of Burgundy. My role is to help give voice to this exciting story.”
Michael was raised in Boston, MA, and spent a decade serving in the U.S. Army as a non-commissioned officer before returning to Boston. There he joined the founding team at Chef Todd English’s acclaimed restaurant Olives. At English’s invitation, Michael relocated to Las Vegas in 1998 to take on the role of beverage manager at Olives Las Vegas, where he worked alongside noted Master Sommelier Jay James. Following Olives, Michael spent four years at Las Vegas-based distributor Breakthru Beverage Group. Then he joined Wilson Daniels, where he served as a divisional vice president. Mentored by visionary executive Win Wilson, Michael spent the next decade representing an elite portfolio of clients, including Schramsberg, Silverado, Ponzi, Royal Tokaji, Dujac, Salon, Biondi Santi, and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Following his tenure at Wilson Daniels, Michael transitioned to the winery side of the industry, applying his knowledge and experience as the general manager for Oregon’s Rose and Arrow Estate, and as the general manager and head of national sales for Walla Walla Vintners. In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments, Michael holds a degree in business administration and management, and an MBA, from California State University, Fullerton. He is also a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a certified specialist of wine, and a certified sake professional.
Michael lives in Greater Los Angeles with his wife and two rescue dogs. Animal welfare and activism is an important part of their life. Together they also enjoy the Los Angeles lifestyle including the art scene, music, revitalized restaurant movement, and of course the beach!
While Hilary was first introduced to wine studying abroad in the sun-drenched vineyards of South Africa, she brings over two decades of working in wine to her position of Director of Sales and Marketing. With her other title being Inspirer of Joy, it really speaks to the heart of her role at Emeritus Vineyards.
Originally from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Hilary had her first wine tasting experience as a Rotary high school exchange student in South Africa. She then went on to earn a BA in international studies from American University, Washington DC, and both an MBA and an MS in agriculture from Cal Poly. While studying at Cal Poly, Berkey began her career in the wine and spirits industry at Wild Horse Winery. In the years since, she has held positions with Diageo, Constellation, Treasury Wine Estates, Vintage Wine Estates and most recently with Raventós Codorníu. In addition to her two decades of wine industry experience, Hilary is a Level II – Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds a Level 4 Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.
“From my roots in the Willamette Valley to my time at Wild Horse, Etude and Artesa, I have always been passionate about Pinot Noir, so the opportunity to work at a small, family winery dedicated exclusively to making estate-grown Pinot Noirs is incredibly exciting.”
A lover of dogs, Hilary’s first rescue was a schnauzer and she currently is mom to Quill, a tiny white sassy rescue schnauzer. An avid traveler, Hilary has traveled to six of the seven continents and thirty three countries to date and she is always looking to add another stamp to her passport.
Glen Kueffner was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has also lived in Colorado, Costa Rica, and New Mexico. Having seen a good portion of the continental United States in his early years, he decided that he had enough of long, sub-zero winters with no mountains.
Upon graduating high school, Glen set his sights on Sonoma County’s warmer winters and proximity to mountains. He attended Sonoma State University, pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Communications & Media Studies. After graduating in 2019, he attended Chico State University. There, he received a Master’s Degree in Parks & Recreation, Hospitality Administration, and Management in Spring 2021. Glen then returned his focus to Sonoma County and became the Member Experience Coordinator (eventually Director of Member Experience) at Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club.
Glen fell in love with Emeritus Vineyards after hearing about our commitment to sustainability and array of Pinot Noirs. He joined the team in early July of 2022.
While not working, Glen enjoys disc golfing, camping, cooking, traveling, visiting taprooms and breweries, watching the Chicago Blackhawks, and spending time with his partner and their dog, Reighn.
Sofia first encountered the Pinot Noirs of Emeritus during her time working in hospitality in New York City. An admirer long before moving to Sonoma County, she has been passionate about Emeritus’ vision and its wines since. Tired of the hustle and bustle, Sofia and her husband abandon the east coast and moved to Sonoma County for a six-month trial and never looked back. Captivated by the beauty of the vineyard, the relaxed lifestyle and exceptional climate, she has found a new home at Emeritus with her great team and exceptional wines. Sofia lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Lukas and William-the-cat. She is an avid Formula One fan and a lover of classic Porsche’s.
A recent transplant to Sonoma County, Leslie moved to Sebastopol from Park City, Utah. She and her husband, along with their 15-year-old dog, decided to leave the long winters behind and move to a warmer climate with a long growing season. Being in wine country was another plus!
Leslie has had an extensive career in the advertising industry, hospitality, and working at a nature preserve. She is a passionate gardener, a former florist, an outdoor enthusiast, and a naturalist. In her spare time, you may find her hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, growing organic fruits and vegetables, or observing the local flora and fauna.
Paige Hansen has been an E-Club member for years and is now our Ambassador of Fun! She has worked in hospitality for quite a while and has a degree in culinary arts.
When Paige and her husband moved to California in 2016, they spent their first day as Californians at our End of Frost Party. Drinking Emeritus and munching on pizza was a great way to wrap up their long drive from Pennsylvania.
Paige is an enthusiastic dog mom to three rescue pups – Zoey, Piper, and Wooly (her most recent foster fail). She loves making them lots of treats and exploring dog friendly restaurants and wineries. She is also a fantastic photographer and often has her equipment along with her. In her free time, you will likely find her discussing the meals she is planning or sharing her homemade treats with dogs and humans alike.
A California by birth, Rachel grew up in Wyoming and only moved back to California ten years ago. For the past two years, she has called Sonoma County home. Rachel comes to Emeritus with a unique blend of skills and experiences including a background in kinesiology and nutrition. Her many years in the health and fitness industry, allow her to bring a fresh perspective to the world of wine. Rachel’s passion for understanding the body’s interaction with food and drink pairs perfectly with her interest in learning about wine and it’s intricate aromas, flavors and chemistry. Her quick wit, passion and genuine curiosity make her an ideal ally to introduce and guide newcomers to the joys of wine tasting while offering unique insights into the potential harmony between wine appreciation and wellness. Her love of dogs, being Mom to “Lulu” a 115 pound Cane Corso, made her quickly embraced by the paw friendly team here at Emeritus.
Before coming to Sonoma County, Marc Goldman spent almost 45 years in the legal profession. He worked as a public defender, federal prosecutor, law professor, and federal judge in Michigan, his home state. When the United States District Court for the Central District of California offered him a judicial position in 2001, he relocated to Southern California. He retired in 2013, which is when he and his wife, Sonia Benson, moved up to Wine Country.
Though a relative newcomer to the wine world, Marc has always been interested as a consumer and home cook. Retirement allowed him the time to actively engage in the art and science of wine and food. He enrolled in various classes at Santa Rosa Junior College Wine Studies Program for his first formal comprehensive look into the wines of California. Though mainly focused on Sonoma & Napa Counties, he also studied the wines and growing regions of France, Italy, and Spain. Other classes introduced him to viticulture and enology.
Encouraged by fellow students and faculty at SRJC, Marc then began dipping his toe in the local wine industry. His first winery job was as a part-time tasting room associate in Alexander Valley.
A resident of Sebastopol, Marc had driven by Hallberg Ranch several times a week. He always marveled at the beauty of the vineyard, so when a position opened at Emeritus he eagerly applied. The initial interview included a tasting of Emeritus wines, which he found deeply impressive. Sold on both quality of the wines and the enthusiasm, professionalism, and skill of the Emeritus team, he accepted the position and has been here ever since! In every tasting he pours for, Marc strives to make the experience at Hallberg Ranch educational, informal, and fun.
“I see my role as explaining grape farming practices and wine production to visitors in a relaxed and entertaining manner, particularly as they pertain to Emeritus Vineyards. While this is technically a sales position, Emeritus wines sell themselves and my goal is to ensure that visitors enjoy their experience at the winery.”
Outside the tasting room, Marc enjoys cooking, yardwork, travel, and wine tasting with Sonia and their dog, Ozzie. He volunteers as a docent at the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, while Sonia volunteers at the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
Tina Settineri is Emeritus’s Pinot Ph.D. After growing up in Pennsylvania and attending college in Ohio, Tina moved to California for graduate school, where she received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, SF. She spent 20 years working in application development, product management, and executive management in the biotech industry in the SF Bay Area.
During that time, she spent many weekends and vacations wine tasting in the Northern California area, where she learned about wines and winemaking as a tourist. As part of this process, she came to appreciate what a quality wine-tasting experience should include.
After her leaving her corporate career to start her own consulting business in 2017, she moved to Sebastopol. With her eye on working in the local tasting room, she improved her wine education by taking the Napa Valley Wine Academy WSET level 1 and 2 classes. In the meantime she continued exploring the local wineries and joined our E-Club. Soon after, she joined the Emeritus tasting room team in 2019.
When not in the tasting room or working in her consulting business, Tina is an avid landscaper and gardener. She enjoys cooking and baking with the vegetable and fruits that she harvests—and loves pairing them with wines from Emeritus as well as from her other wine clubs—and of course sharing these with friends! Tina enjoys traveling with her husband and volunteering in the garden at Food For Thought in Forestville. Tina and her husband, Dave, have two grown children, Sarah and Jeremy.
Juan has been in the Sonoma County wine industry for 35 years, and during his 22 years with Emeritus has been an integral part in the growth and success of both Hallberg and Pinot Hill vineyards. Because of his vast experience through our ranches, Juan sees the benefits of sustainable farming and takes initiative to assess situations accordingly.
As the lead foreman and Pinot Hill ranch manager, Juan’s integrity makes him honest and true to what he believes in, and those values of paving the way for future generations closely align with what we strive to be here at Emeritus. Each member of the team here is treated as one of his own family, collaborating with them effortlessly and encouraging teamwork among his peers. He will always greet you with a smile, and while working alongside him you find that his outgoing personality will make your day even better. When new employees are hired on, Juan is the first to welcome them and teach them the high standards we have in caring for our vineyards. He combines strategy with each employee’s strengths so that the jobs can be done accurately and efficiently. Our success would not come full circle without employees like Juan!
Juan ha estado en la industria del vino del Condado de Sonoma durante 35 años, y durante sus 22 años con Emeritus ha sido una parte integral del crecimiento y el éxito de los viñedos de Hallberg y Pinot Hill. Debido a su vasta experiencia en nuestros ranchos, Juan ve los beneficios de la agricultura sostenible y toma la iniciativa para evaluar los problemas en consecuencia.
Como capataz principal y gerente del rancho Pinot Hill, la integridad de Juan lo hace honesto y fiel a lo que cree, y esos valores de allanar el camino para las generaciones futuras se alinean estrechamente con lo que nos esforzamos por ser aquí en Emeritus. Cada miembro del equipo aquí es tratado como uno de su propia familia, colaborando con ellos sin esfuerzo y fomentando el trabajo en equipo entre sus compañeros. Siempre te recibirá con una sonrisa y, mientras trabajas junto a él, descubres que su personalidad extrovertida hará que tu día sea aún mejor. Cuando se contratan nuevos empleados, Juan es el primero en darles la bienvenida y enseñarles los altos estándares que tenemos en el cuidado de nuestros viñedos. Combina la estrategia con las fortalezas de cada empleado para que los trabajos se puedan realizar con precisión y eficiencia. ¡Nuestro éxito no se completaría sin empleados como Juan!
¡Felicidades! Salvador! An important member of our vineyard crew, Salvador Buenrrostro just received the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation (SCGGF) Employee Recognition Award for his excellent collaboration with the team.
Salvador Buenrrostro has been an employee of Emeritus Vineyards for 8 years but has been in the industry for 25 years in Sonoma County. His job is to teach new employees the tricks of the trade, but he goes beyond that; Salvador takes the time to treat each employee as a part of the Emeritus family. Throughout the day, Salvador will accomplish his tasks, then teach employees how to create the vineyard we aspire to be. Being here for 8 years, he has seen many aspects of the company and is always willing to learn something new. In his first year, Salvador saw an opportunity to make the working conditions even better, not only for the vineyard crew but for the whole company. Salvador saw an open plot of land directly behind the winery and asked if he could plant a company garden. Without hesitation, Salvador asked everyone what should be grown and stayed after work to accomplish the garden.
While in the vineyard, Salvador is a true team player. This year he has been the main supporter of our new hires and continually works with them to teach the methods of our operation. Salvador is a very giving man. He is also our vineyard crew lead cook. During harvest, after the pick for the night, Salvador will offer breakfast to fellow employees. With a smile on his face every day, Salvador makes the most of everyone’s happiness.
Collaboration is key at Emeritus, and Salvador is a prime example. We are very proud of his mentality and drive to incorporate each team member.
¡Felicidades! Horacio! An important member of our vineyard crew, Horacio Lopez just received the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation (SCGGF) Employee Recognition Award for his efforts in creating a smooth and safe harvest. Horacio was integral for the entirety of the harvest. He would pick alongside the crew, operate the light vehicle, and assist in making sure all teams knew the time and place for harvest. Even with these responsibilities, he continued to excel by assisting with equipment placement and providing transportation throughout the vineyard. Horacio is a dedicated, hardworking individual that we can count on, even in high-stress situations. One night during harvest, some of our seasonal workers became lost in finding their way to our other ranch. Horacio jumped into the company vehicle, found the employees, and guided them to the ranch to begin the harvest. We are enormously grateful to have Horacio on the Emeritus team!
Tyler was raised in a small town about 30 minutes north of Kansas City, Missouri (Go Chiefs!!). After high school, he chased his California dreams, followed by a 3 month stint on Kauai, and in 2014 he decided to make a move to Arizona. Visiting his first tasting room, he immediately felt a connection to wine. Not just the finished product, but the history of the grapes, the sites in which they’re grown, and the like-minded people working within the industry.
Getting a feel for the world of wine through various wineries, tasting rooms, and festivals, it was an easy choice to become fully immersed into the Arizona wine scene. Beginning with very little knowledge and experience, he began working in a tasting room and soon enrolled in the Viticulture and Enology program at Yavapai College. After completing the 2 year program and obtaining an AS, he headed back to California with hopes of finding a winery to call “home”. Working for a fairly large producer during the 2018 vintage, he quickly realized that the smaller, family run wineries were his preference.
Looking for a seasonal position for the 2019 vintage that fit the desired criteria, Tyler felt Emeritus was the place he wanted to be as Emeritus focused on the aspects of producing exclusively Pinot noir, using only estate grown grapes, and fermenting with native yeasts. While there were no permanent positions available at the time, after working three harvests at Emeritus his persistence eventually paid off, as he started as Emeritus’ Cellar Master in March 2023.
Marisa has a spitfire sense of humor, wears many hats to help keep the winery running smoothly, and makes the best homemade salsas. She helps every team with special projects and assists all departments by keeping them organized and fully supplied. Whenever the winemaking team needs another hand on the bottling line or sorting table she’s there, and on a busy day in the tasting room she’ll be polishing glasses. She is the glue that holds everything and everyone together!
Family is very important to Marisa. She has two teenage boys and is one of many in the Avila family to work at Emeritus. After over 11 years at Emeritus, she brings the same love of her family to our team. You know how our small production wines come in Emeritus tissue paper? That’s Marisa’s handiwork, wrapped as thoughtfully as she would a gift for someone’s birthday. We are truly lucky to have Marisa and her positive energy on a daily basis.
Marisa tiene un gran sentido del humor, usa muchos sombreros para ayudar a que la bodega funcione sin problemas, y hace las mejores salsas caseras. Ella ayuda a cada equipo con proyectos especiales y asiste a todos los departamentos manteniéndolos organizados y completamente abastecidos. Siempre que el equipo de elaboración del vino necesita otra mano en la línea de embotellado o en la mesa de clasificación, ella está ahí, y en un día ajetreado en la sala de degustación estará puliendo copas. ¡Ella es el pegamento que mantiene a todo ya todos juntos!
La familia es muy importante para Marisa. Tiene dos hijos adolescentes y es una de los muchos miembros de la familia Ávila que trabajan en Emeritus. Después de más de 11 años en Emeritus, trae el mismo amor de su familia a nuestro equipo. ¿Sabes cómo vienen nuestros vinos de pequeña producción en papel de seda Emeritus? Esa es la obra de Marisa, envuelta tan cuidadosamente como si fuera un regalo para el cumpleaños de alguien. Somos realmente afortunados de tener a Marisa y su energía positiva a diario.
Emiliano was recently awarded the October 2021 SCGGF Vineyard Employee Recognition Award for displaying incredible talent during our harvest season. During the 2021 Harvest he was a jack of all trades, from working in the vineyard at night to assisting on the crush pad during the mornings. Emiliano was integral for the entirety of harvest as a picker alongside the crew, a light vehicle operator, and tractor driver. Whatever we needed! On top of these responsibilities, he also assisted with bin retrieval from various wineries and delivering grapes to multiple sites.
His hard work and dedication shines through even in high stress situations. One night during harvest, a light vehicle had stalled in the vineyard and the lights stopped working. Emiliano jumped into action by fixing the vehicle and restarting the lights, allowing the harvest to continue without a hitch.
During the rest of the year he is our lead shop mechanic, in charge of facility maintenance and the lead on the landscape management around the winery. We at Emeritus are enormously grateful for Emiliano’s determination in the vineyard and eagerness to continually learn more on how to help the vineyard succeed, not only during harvest but throughout the year.
Emiliano recibió recientemente el premio SCGGF Vineyard Employee Recognition Award en Octubre de 2021 por mostrar un talento increíble durante nuestra temporada de cosecha. Durante la cosecha de 2021 fue un experto en todos los oficios, desde trabajar en el viñedo por la noche hasta ayudar en la plataforma de aplastamiento durante las mañanas. Emiliano fue integral durante la totalidad de la cosecha, ya que sería un recolector junto con la cuadrilla, un operador de vehículos livianos y un conductor de tractor según fuera necesario. Incluso con estas responsabilidades, continuó sobresaliendo al ayudar con la recuperación de contenedores de varias bodegas y entregar uvas a múltiples sitios.
Su arduo trabajo y dedicación brilla incluso en situaciones de alto estrés. Una noche durante la cosecha, un vehículo ligero se paró en el viñedo y las luces dejaron de funcionar. Emiliano entró en acción arreglando el vehículo y volviendo a encender las luces, lo que permitió que la cosecha continuara sin problemas.
Durante el resto del año, es nuestro mecánico líder en el taller, a cargo del mantenimiento de las instalaciones y el líder en la gestión del paisaje alrededor de la bodega. En Emeritus estamos enormemente agradecidos por la determinación de Emiliano en el viñedo y el entusiasmo por aprender continuamente más sobre cómo ayudar al viñedo a tener éxito no solo durante la cosecha sino durante todo el año.