Meet The Gary Farrell Team
Nancy Bailey, General Manager
Born in Syracuse, New York, Nancy spent a good portion of her school years overseas
in England. Her interest in food and wine was sparked by family travels abroad throughout
her childhood. After attending college and graduate school back in the States (she
earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Hamilton College and a Master
of Arts degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University),
Nancy ventured to California where she discovered a true passion for wine country
living. She lent her many marketing talents to such well-known brands as Chalk Hill
Estate Vineyards & Winery, Champagne Perrier Jouët, and Kendall-Jackson.
Her creativity and communication acumen placed her in high demand when she went
on to work as a freelance marketing consultant for a number of Sonoma County wineries.
Before accepting her current role at Gary Farrell in November 2011, Nancy was General
Manager of Wine Creek LLC (Quivira Vineyards & Winery, La Follette Wines and
Torbreck Vintners) for 4 years. Nancy lives in Sebastopol with her husband and two
DIRECT SALES & HOSPITALITY
Alyson White, Direct to Consumer Manager
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Alyson White earned a BA in Spanish from
Humboldt State University. But a passion for wine led her to Sonoma County, where
she embarked upon her career at Belvedere Winery in Healdsburg, then moved on to
Imagery Estate Winery in Glen Ellen. She then spent ten years at Francis Ford Coppola
Winery in the Alexander Valley, overseeing their tasting room, wine club, e-commerce,
hospitality and events. She is excited about the opportunity to apply her experience
in the smaller, hands-on environment at Gary Farrell Winery. Alyson lives in Windsor
with her husband and two children.
Kila Gomer, Wine Club Manager
Born in Kodiak, Alaska, Kila moved with her family to the wine country at a young
age. Growing up along the Russian River, in the quaint town of Forestville, vineyards and wineries
were always close at hand. After deciding
to explore her passion for wine and knack for customer service, Kila joined the Gary Farrell team in April 2013, and enjoys the opportunity to work
directly with Grand Crew wine club members. Kila resides with her husband and new baby in Santa
Rosa, and in her spare time pursues her interests in art, camping, hiking and all
Vernon Bratton, Private Client Liaison
After spending more than a decade in the beauty business, Vernon Bratton turned
his love of fine wine into a fulfilling career, beginning in Napa Valley before
joining the Gary Farrell team in 2014 as our Private Client Liaison. Vernon’s
knowledge of winegrowing regions and esteemed producers around the world makes him
an excellent resource to our members, friends and fans. Vernon enjoys personally
assisting our customers with all their wine questions, and is a wealth of information
for those looking to acquire Gary Farrell’s limited-production wines for their
Brian Shapiro, Business Development Manager
For Brian, wine is more than a career path, it is a lifestyle that has led him from
the beaches of Southern California to the heart of wine country. A passion for design,
architecture and all things culinary continues to fuel his desire to create a balanced
life that takes advantage of the diversity of Sonoma County. After returning to
school and receiving a degree in winery operations and production from Sonoma State
University, he chose to spend the majority of his direct-to-Consumer career with
a boutique Cabernet producer in Alexander Valley. But a chance encounter in 2009
with a 2006 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir had already planted the seeds of passion for
Pinot in his soul. Weekend trips to the coast have included the search for the perfect
bottle of Pinot Noir and continued visits to Gary Farrell Winery cemented his desire
to work in Russian River Valley. In the spring of 2016 he was able to fulfill that
dream and joined our team. Brian brings a talent for telling a story and a desire
to share the approachable elegance of Russian River Pinot Noir with all who will
listen. When he is not singing the praises of balanced fruit-driven wines, you’ll
find Brian working on his small hobby ranch with his wife Catherine raising heritage
breed goats, making cheese or motoring along the road less traveled and enjoying
the bounty of his adopted county.
Jessica Johnson, Hospitality Manager
Jessie was born and raised in Southern California. But after earning her Bachelor’s
degree and MBA at Humboldt State University, she knew Northern California was where
she belonged. Her love for wine began in college during weekly Thursday night dinners
with a group of close friends. She developed a passion for Pinot Noir, which inspired
her to pursue a career in the wine industry, leading her family to return to her
husband’s hometown of Sebastopol. Jessie spent six years at Francis Ford Coppola
Winery and a year a Dutton Goldfield before joining the Gary Farrell Winery team.
Jessie now lives in Bodega with her husband and two children.
Kevin Patterson, Estate Sommelier & Wine Educator
Born and raised in Pacifica, California, Kevin moved to Sonoma County in 2006 to
pursue a degree at Sonoma State University. A frequent visitor to the area during
his childhood, Kevin shares a spiritual connection with the Russian River. He began
studying wine towards the end of his college career, inspired by several friends
working in the industry who taught him the ins and outs of tasting fine wines. Kevin
worked at Francis Ford Coppola Winery for more than six years, beginning in 2011,
where he had the chance to refine his service skills and increase his knowledge
of wine. He passed the Certified Specialist of Wine exam in August of 2016. Kevin
joined the Gary Farrell team in May of 2017, excited by the opportunity to represent
a portfolio filled with single vineyard designate releases of some of his favorite
varietals. Kevin’s true passion is educating people on the world of wine: viticulture
practices, production processes, tasting and cultural significance.
Tiffany Kuhn, Estate Sommelier & Wine Educator
A recent transplant to Northern California, Tiffany was raised in Orlando, Florida where she graduated from Rollins College in 2005 with a BA in Studio Art. A passion for creativity naturally led her to the world of food and wine where she worked for many years in fine dining restaurants across Central Florida. She eventually ended up at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse overseeing a multi-million dollar wine list that consistently won Wine Spectators coveted “Best of Award of Excellence”. Her first encounter with Gary Farrell Wines was at the Russian River Valley Pinot Forum and she was immediately enamored by their refinement and elegance. When she decided to move to Wine Country to further her education in her path to becoming a Master Sommelier, Gary Farrell Winery was a no brainer. Tiffany is currently a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and looks forward to constantly sharing her thirst for knowledge and hospitality here for years to come.
Chris Stowe, Estate Ambassador & Ambassador on the Road
A Washington State University alum, Chris has been working in the wine industry for the last 5 years. He began his wine career in college studying both Wine Business and Hospitality Business Management and worked the first 8 years of his working career in the hotel restaurant management arena. Following his passion for wine, Chris transitioned into the wine industry in 2014 and is now taking his abilities across the United States as a travelling ambassador for Gary Farrell Winery. Chris has expanded his knowledge of the wine industry by passing the Certified Specialist of Wine exam in March of 2017 and looks forward to a long career in the wine industry.
Stephen Neeld, Estate Ambassador
Stephen was an executive in sales and general business management for 40 years before his retirement in 2015. He was the founder and CEO of two successful technology firms that were acquired by Fortune 500 companies and held various executive positions with both privately held and publicly traded technology companies. His desire for a challenge and his love of fine wine brought him to Gary Farrell in April of 2017. Stephen and his wife Jennifer have six adult children, volunteer at several non-profits in Sonoma County and enjoy beach combing on the Sonoma coast.
Lisa Conway, Estate Concierge
Born and raised in Santa Cruz CA, Lisa moved to Sonoma County in 2009 to attend Sonoma State University. While finishing her degree in Wine Business Strategies and Marketing in 2013, Lisa began an internship at Gary Farrell Winery and has been here since that time. Lisa is one of the longest tenured employees at Gary Farrell and has been apart of many of the changes with the company over the last 5 years. She is a staple in the winery and is the first point of contact in creating memorable guest experiences. The long lasting relationships she has built in the industry over the last 5 years are instrumental in the success of our tasting and tours operation.
WINEMAKING & PRODUCTION
Theresa Heredia, Winemaker
Theresa Heredia joined Gary Farrell Winery team as winemaker in May of 2012. Theresa
earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo,
before becoming a Ph.D candidate in chemistry with an emphasis in enology at U.C.
Davis. She left the program to follow her calling as a hands-on winemaker. Coming
off a long stint as winemaker at Freestone Vineyards in Sonoma County, Heredia brings
considerable experience working with cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and
small-lot, single-vineyard wines. During her tenure at Freestone, Heredia’s
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought the Joseph Phelps-owned winery significant critical
acclaim. In early 2012 she was named “Winemaker to Watch” by the San
Francisco Chronicle, reflecting her interest in wines that offer a pure expression
of their vineyard site and her willingness to experiment with different winemaking
Brent McKoy, Assistant Winemaker
After earning a BA in English at East Carolina University, Brent took the long road
to winemaking working first in the Art Industry, then as a Landscaper, all while
managing to travel throughout Scandinavia, East Asia and Eastern Europe, where he
developed an abiding passion for wine. When he returned home, he joined the wine
industry at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, where he trained hands-on throughout
the lab and cellar. Brent joined Gary Farrell Winery in 2005 working in the cellar.
He quickly worked his way up to Cellar Master, and eventually Assistant Winemaker.
He works closely with Theresa Heredia, and is responsible for all day-to-day production
operations and manages the production staff. A native of North Carolina, Brent now
lives in Windsor with his wife and two young daughters.
Mark Osborne, Enologist
Educated in Australia, Mark earned a Diploma in Winemaking form the Northern Melbourne
Institute of TAFE as well as a Bachelors of Applied Science (Wine Science) from
Charles Sturt University. He began his career at The Scotchmans Hills Group in Geelong
as a Cellar Hand, then worked various cellar positions in Geelong and the Mosel
Valley before taking the position of enologist at Naturaliste Vintners in Margaret
River. A stint at Gary Farrell Vineyards as a harvest intern in 2007 had Mark looking
to make the move to California, and he joined the Gary Farrell staff as an enologist
in July of 2009. He took a brief leave of absence to work as an enologist in Australia’s
Yarra Valley before returning to our cellar.
Peter Trelaven, Cellar Lead
Having grown up in Sonoma County, Peter is especially proud to work in the wine industry and participate in such a vital part of what makes this area so special. While considering his next step after graduating from UC Davis with a degree in philosophy, Peter began reflecting on his experiences growing up in wine country along with the enthusiasm and appreciation for wine and Sonoma County instilled in him by his parents. After taking a chance and getting his first taste of harvest at a custom crush facility in 2010, Peter fell in love with the challenge, intensity, and teamwork of being part of a winery crew and knew he wanted to pursue a career in wine production. Since then Peter has worked extensively within the Russian River Valley, as well as a harvest abroad in New Zealand, where his interest in producing small-lot, single vineyard wines led him to Gary Farrell in the spring of 2017. He feels incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute to the winery’s legacy of crafting elegant, balanced, terroir-driven wines and work with a world class team and exceptional vineyards to showcase the beauty of this area.
Laurence Donald, Vineyard Assistant
Born in Canada to Kiwi parents, Laurence spent the majority of his youth living
in San Francisco, and was first exposed to vineyards and wine on yearly family wine
tasting outings to the Napa Valley. After graduating from Sonoma State University,
he pursued a successful career in finance, but eventually gave it up and headed
back to graduate school to answer the call of the vines. After earning a Viticulture/Enology
degree at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, he spent several years
globetrotting and pursuing harvests in Australia and New Zealand, returning locally
to work with Merry Edwards and Thomas Brown before settling in with Theresa, Brent,
and Mark at Gary Farrell in May 2013. Laurence lives in Calistoga and holds dual
citizenship in the US and New Zealand.
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION
Mike Bellaran, Director of Finance
Mike grew up in New Jersey and lived in Boston for 10 years after graduating from Boston College in 1998. On a trip to Napa and Sonoma in the spring of 2008, Mike was inspired to merge his career in finance with his personal passion for food and fine wine, relocating to California in the fall of that same year. He worked for Winery Exchange for 5 years before arriving at Gary Farrell in March of 2014. Mike lives in Novato with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, a fish, two shrimp, and a snail.
Rachelle Sanders, Winery Administrative Assistant
Rachelle grew up in the small rural town of Orland, near Chico California. She spent much of her youth on the softball fields, where her mother coached her and her two sisters. She met her future husband, Brad at the Crazy Horse in Chico, were beer was much more prevalent than wine. Her beverage of choice now is Gary Farrell Rose’ or Chardonnay. In 2006 she left her career as a medical assistant to join Brad in his home town of Healdsburg. In the same year, she began a job share at Gary Farrell Winery as she pursued her degree in Social Behavior Sciences from SRJC. Rachelle has been with GFW for the past twelve years and while her title is Winery Administrative Assistant, her talents are plenty. You can find her in the office or in the cellar chasing weigh tags or timesheets and ready to help her teammates. Rachelle is also known for her mad baking skills, and loves treating her team member to their delight for birthdays and special occasions. Rachelle currently lives in Cloverdale with her husband and two children and can still be found on the softball field where she is the girls’ softball varsity coach for Healdsburg Senior High.