2025 Steering Committee

Brian Baker – Founder, Cultivar Marketing (Event Chair)


Brian is the founder of Cultivar Marketing, a sales and marketing agency which specializes in helping wineries increase profitability, optimize channel management and provide a path for importers to launch their brands in the U.S. in the DTC and Wholesale channels. Over the years, Brian has developed a key set of skills in sales, technology, research and traditional brand marketing. He has held a number of management positions in his career in the wine Industry. Most recently, he served as GM of Mayacamas Vineyards–the historic property on Mt. Veeder. Prior to that Brian served as the Vice President Sales and Marketing for Chateau Montelena. He began his career in wine as Vice President of Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) at Jackson Family Wines. (“We called it CRM in those days… and constantly had to explain the acronym”).

Brian is somewhat of a self-described corporate “gypsy”. Before pivoting to the wine industry, He spent 18 years in the travel industry including management posts as VP of Sales and Marketing for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (now SF Travel) and Director of Global Marketing for Dollar Rent-A-Car. He is a past chair of the California Travel Association and served as Chairman of the DTC Wine Symposium from 2009-2012. He is a sommelier, holds his CSW credential and serves as a distinguished judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Thea Schlendorf – Executive Director, Free the Grapes! and VP Operations and Wine & Spirits at The Brand Leader

Thea’s 20+ year career in the wine industry has included work with brands from every area and she is adept at developing strategies and campaigns to garner attention and meet objectives for a diverse client base. As of 2023, Thea also serves as the Executive Director of Free the Grapes! As such, she looks to continue the work of helping to expand consumer choice in wine through improving access to legal regulated direct to consumer winery shipping. The coalition’s campaign of public awareness, engagement, and lobbying success has helped to create a $4+ billion sales channel for U.S. wineries.

Susan DeMatei – President, WineGlass Marketing (Workshop Sub-Committee Chair)

Susan DeMatei has over 30 years of luxury direct marketing experience, but in the past 16, she has worked exclusively in the wine industry. In 2012 Susan started WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing agency for the alcohol space. The firm is based in downtown Napa and supports domestic and international clients with both B2B and DTC marketing in digital as well as traditional channels. For the past two consecutive years, Inc. Magazine recognized WineGlass Marketing as the only Napa company listed in the top 250 hyper-growth tier of the “5000 Series California’s Top Companies”. WineGlass Marketing has also been recognized by the community winning the North Bay Bohemian “Best Creative Agency” spot for 2021 as well as being honored by her clients in the North Bay Business Journal as Napa’s “Best Company to Do Business With.”

Susan holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and an A.S. in Viticulture from Napa Valley College. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist in Wine/Wine Education with the Society of Wine Educators, and awarded a DMA (Direct Marketing Association) award for strategic excellence. She is the marketing columnist for Grapevine Magazine and a frequent freelance writer and speaker at conferences. Susan also is the marketing instructor at WISE and an adjunct professor and lecturer at the Institute for Enology & Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College.

Barbara Gorder – President/Owner, Undisclosed Location, Inc. (Keynote Sub-Committee Chair)

Barbara is a graduate of Northwestern University with extensive senior level corporate, entrepreneurial and advertising agency experience. She has been an executive creative director, brand strategist, marketer and relationship team builder. With broad marketing and advertising expertise in omnichannel marketing with an emphasis on digital technology, she has helped to build and design some of the world’s most powerful brands over the past 30 years. She is known as a creative producer of innovative branding and advertising in wine, beauty, athletics, health and spirits categories, and has received the Coty Award, Clios, Addys, and been a finalist for Cannes Lions. Barbara also partners with her husband Tim on the Farley Family Charitable Trust.

Meredith Hayes – Director, DTC Sales and Marketing, Ram’s Gate Winery (Sponsorship Sub-Committee Chair)

With more than 15 years in marketing and managing customer-centric strategies in the art and wine industries, Meredith currently leads the DTC, brand marketing and distribution programs at Ram’s Gate Winery. Her experience includes growing membership, expanding ecommerce sales and driving traffic to art museums and tasting rooms in New Zealand, Arizona and California. With a love of travel, wine and good food, she’s a champion of the wine industry and has enjoyed visiting many of the exciting wine regions of the world. Originally from New England, she is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston is thrilled to be a part of the food and wine scene in Sonoma County.

Patricia O’Brien – Director of Operations and Marketing, Danza del Sol Winery (Logistics & Planning Sub-Committee Chair)

Patricia O’Brien is Vice President of Sales and Operations for Danza del Sol Winery & Masia de la Vinya Winery located in Temecula, CA. Metrics driven and well versed in relationship-focused customer service, Patricia has guided both companies since their successful launch in 2010 and 2015. She’s managed e-mail and web marketing initiatives, and has overseen all DTC channels (tasting room, wine clubs, gift shops, events and tour departments for both winery brands.

A native of California, Patricia has been married to her best friend, Patrick for 20 year and raised three amazing children. Patricia is also a WSET Level II graduate, Certified Hospitality Industry Professional (CHIP) for Temecula Valley graduate and is currently a member of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Heritage District Marketing & Educational Committees. Away from wine she’s the ultimate soccer Mama, who enjoys spending time with family and friends while enjoying great food and wine.

Kelly Petrillo, Director of Hospitality, Gandona Estates

With 20 years of experience in Sales and Hospitality, Kelly Petrillo was born and raised in the mild climate of Northern California. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies from Chapman University. Passionate about wine and people, the move to working in the Napa Valley wine industry was a natural fit. Kelly’s passion for wine pushed her to pursue further education within the industry; she graduated from Sonoma State University in March 2023 with a Global Executive MBA in Wine Business Management. In her role she oversees DTC wine sales, membership growth, ecommerce, events, and outbound sales. Kelly has been a member of the DTCWS Steering Committee for two years and is committed to continued education and growth within the industry.

Kelly has a love and appreciation for California wines, craft beer, kayaking, fishing, traveling, and enjoying life with her family and friends.

Jessah Diaz – Senior Digital Experience & Growth Manager, Cakebread Cellars

Jessah is an experienced manager in wine sales specializing in direct-to-consumer initiatives, eCommerce, and accelerated wine club growth. At Pernod Ricard USA, she has successfully helped to generate new revenue through her focus on user experience for newly developed eCommerce sites, customer service, marketing strategy, and new business development. Her prior experience in wholesale distribution at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits informs her work today and provided an early start with a diverse portfolio of brands from Constellation to Pernod Ricard.

Jessah is a WSET Level II graduate with Distinction, and she is currently studying for the WSET Level III. She is a McBride Sisters Scholarship recipient and is currently pursuing a Wine Business Management certificate at Sonoma State University. Originally from New York City, she lives in Lake County and enjoys running in the beautiful landscape and spending time with her two dogs.

Ed Feuchuk, General Manager, Farm Collective Napa Valley (Innovation Sub-Committee Chair) Ed Feuchuk Ed Feuchuk is a marketer and mistake maker with over 15 years of experience building innovative DTC wine brands. As the General Manager for Farm Collective Napa Valley, Ed has led creative, strategic, and technical initiatives for brands like Tank Garage Winery, James Cole Winery, Regusci Winery, and T-Vine Winery. With a passion for authentic experiences and renegade marketing, Ed and his work have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, Wine Spectator, and Playboy.

Kasey Helt – Director of Hospitality, Center of Effort Winery

Kasey began her career in the wine industry over 17 years ago working with a vineyard management company in Paso Robles CA where she was able to get hands-on experience. This led to her next opportunity working for Still Waters Vineyard, a small estate family vineyard also in Paso Robles, CA. At Still Waters, Kasey started in wine production but quickly transitioned to hospitality and was eventually named General Manager.

Currently Kasey leads the hospitality program at Center of Effort Winery where she was named Director of Hospitality in 2018. In April 2019, Kasey was instrumental in opening the newly built, state of the art member hospitality center. She manages a team of wine educators that have a passion for service and delivering elevated and luxurious wine experiences to VIP members and other guests through private tastings, tours and member events.

When not sharing her knowledge of wine with others, Kasey and her husband spend time with their two young sons looking for the perfect campsite, playing baseball or hiking the beautiful local trails.

James Lovaas – Director of Sales & Hospitality, David Bruce Winery

James works as the Director of DTC Operations for Korbel Champagne Cellars supervising e-commerce, email marketing, and the wine club. He has worked in winery hospitality and operations in Napa and Sonoma since 2017. Before moving to Napa, he spent more than 15 years in marketing and training roles and served as the director of corporate training for a private midwestern university. James holds an MBA from Liberty University and a BA in Psychology from Vennard College.

Kelly Mantel – Director, DTC Marketing & eCommerce, Harney Lane Vineyards

Kelly serves as the Director of Marketing at Harney Lane Vineyards in the heart of Lodi Wine Country. As a member of the senior leadership team, he steers brand strategy and oversees an array of integrated marketing initiatives encompassing advertising, PR, packaging, and on-premise experiences. With a deep appreciation for education and the wine industry, Kelly also hosts instructional tasting workshops in partnership with local wine producers and tourism bureaus.

Prior to joining the team in Lodi, Kelly led brand strategy for food and beverage brands with leading agencies in Central California, bringing a diverse perspective of consumer insights and industry expertise to Harney Lane.

When he’s not marketing or instructing, Kelly’s grilling in the backyard, enjoying time with his wife and two small children.

Neil Ferguson – Director of Marketing, Oregon Wine Board

Neil was most recently with the Oregon Wine Board, which he joined in 2021. He brings a unique range of experience in communications, marketing, and journalism to the table. Neil has worked in the world of agriculture and commodity promotion and it was here that he discovered his passion for telling the stories of farmers and producers through creative and results-driven initiatives. Neil’s diverse skill set, flexibility, and open-minded approach make him well-suited to communicate and serve a constantly evolving industry.

Neil earned a B.A. in English and Communications from the University of Texas at Austin, where he lived for ten years before moving to the Pacific Northwest. Based in Portland, Neil is also an accomplished journalist who writes about food, wine, beer, and music.

Galen Becker Drace – Founder, Becker Drace Network

Galen Becker Drace’s career in Napa Valley has been a unique blend of wine, hospitality, and systems management. Looking to better combine his skills and diverse interests he founded Becker Drace Network, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) consultancy. As a result he has been able to bring a strong analytical mindset, passion for effective communication, and a proven ability to navigate complex challenges to many renowned brands and organizations; including Arkenstone Vineyards, Covert Estate and the Napa Valley Vintners, among others.

In addition to his own business, he is the Executive Director of the Napa Valley Hospitality Forum (NVHF). The NVHF is a volunteer-run trade organization that offers its services and resources at no charge to industry members; the guiding principle is to provide a collaborative environment that improves the standards and careers of all participants.

Outside of work, a highlight of every week is reading to students at Calistoga Elementary through the Soroptimist Read Aloud Partners program, woodworking, gardening, and cooking for friends.

Heather Daenitz – Owner, Craft and Cluster – Photo and Social Media Consulting

Heather is the founder of Craft & Cluster, a photography and social media consulting company based in Santa Barbara Wine Country that helps small wine brands tell the true story of how they get their wine from grape to glass. With over 14 years in the wine industry and a B.S. in Viticulture & Enology from Oregon State University, Heather’s journey from tasting room to cellar to vineyard has honed a deep understanding of the wine world’s nuances and how to communicate them with consumers. Her work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Sunset Magazine, and Edible and she is a finalist in the 2024 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Awards. Heather is a fervent advocate for women in wine, amplifying their voices and contributions to the wine industry. Now, when she’s not out photographing the amazing people behind some of her favorite wine brands, Heather can be found hanging out in her garden with her chickens, dogs, and amazing husband!

Jasmine Egan – Hospitality and Membership Manager, Winery Sixteen 600

Jasmine has over 15 years of hospitality experience in fine dining, luxury travel and wine education. Her career started through her culinary studies in 2009, which eventually fueled her passion for food and fine wines. She fell in love with wine and, more specifically, Rhône varietals when she started working at the Girl and the Fig in 2015. After leading their wine program for several years, she continued her education in Rhône wines by accepting a wine educator position working for Winery Sixteen 600, owned by The Coturri Family. During her 6-year tenure at Winery Sixteen 600, Jasmine has been promoted to the Hospitality & Membership Manager and continues to educate members and visitors of the Coturri’s family’s organic farming practices that they pioneered within Sonoma Valley in the early 1970s. In her spare time, she co-hosts a blind tasting group for others in the industry, conducting tastings of wines of the world. Jasmine is married to Ian Freiwald, a local restaurant manager. Together they parent their Jack Russell terrier, Pheobe. Of course, they share the love of wine, food and music.
Sara Sindicich – Membership Director, Danza del Sol Winery & Masia de la Vinya Winery
Sara’s journey from the little-known Rancho Cucamonga wine region to her role managing the wine club departments at Danza del Sol and Masia de la Vinya wineries is marked by her dedication, education, and community engagement. Graduating as her class’s valedictorian from California State University, Fullerton, with a background in Photography & Experimental Media, she brings a creative and meticulous approach to her work in the hospitality industry. Throughout her 17-year career, Sara has cultivated a deep passion for customer service and community involvement. Her consecutive nominations for the Hospitality & Ambassador Xenia awards highlight her commitment to excellence and her ability to connect with members and the broader community. Sara has shown strong leadership and collaboration in managing the wine club, partnering with the events department to create local-centric experiences that highlight and promote area businesses. Her work enhances the wineries’ reputations and supports the local community. Earning her “Certified Hospitality Industry Professional Certification” demonstrates her dedication to her craft and professional growth. With her experience and expertise, she continues to make significant contributions to the hospitality industry while fostering community connections.
Megan Currie – Director of Membership and Fulfillment, Heitz Cellar
Megan gained her passion for wine through her background as a food and wine translator, applying her passion for communication towards wine sales and marketing. She has built and developed programs that engage wine club members through a strong sense of community and brand purpose, and is dedicated to helping wineries elevate their print and digital communications all while improving efficiency, transparency and collaboration in sales operations and inventory systems. Megan leads the Wine Country Membership Professionals’ Network, a community of colleagues dedicated to uplifting each other through the open sharing of ideas, perspectives and expertise. She also still enjoys her work as an independent translator for local and international wine and spirit brands, which allows her to combine her love of wine and language while continually learning about the global wine industry.
Vicki Tomiser – Elevator in Chief, Wine Flight Consulting
Vicki is a daughter of the South; born on a Georgia army base and raised in Kentucky; in the heart of bourbon and horse country. The restaurant business was how she worked her way through college, where she studied theater and social work. As it would happen, theater and social work paired with a deep abiding love of people, the spotlight, and bourbon, make for a mighty fine bartender. Introduce wine into the mix, and you have a career path. She has spent decades learning and teaching about wine and spirits. She has held positions as both buyer and seller for extremely large and extremely small companies. Curiosity and the willingness to step outside of the box has made for an eclectic journey in the food and beverage industry to include hospitality and direct to consumer, event conception, planning and management, wine sales, and wine education and sales training. Her current role of elevator in chief for the newly formed Wine Flight Consulting is a way for her to use her skill set and varied experience in the industry to help other wineries with engagement, retention and cultivation strategies for high value customers, collectors, wine club members and prestige trade accounts. She believes wine and food are her love language, and don’t even get her started on terroir. When not talking about, tasting or traveling for wine, you will find her on the front row of one of her daughter, Willow’s performances or in her garden talking to the tomatoes.