Meet Our Winemakers
Vice-President, Winemaking & Sourcing, Vineyard Veteran
Kurt oversees the WX global winemaking team. No small task, but with 30-plus years in the industry, it is something he does with ease and grace. Over his career, he has accumulated countless awards, not only as a winemaker, but also as a distiller and brewer. As the Winemaker at Estrella River Winery, he helped pioneer Paso Robles’ rise as a prominent wine region, then joined the founding team at Jepson Winery & Distillery, where he spent 15 years as a winemaker and master distiller. He has been with WX since 2000, where he continues to explore wine regions around the world and rack up accolades. His secret: finding small lots of wine with amazing pedigree and expressive varietal character. When he’s not in the cellar, you can find Kurt cycling, sailing or skiing. He resides in Mill Valley, California with his wife and dog.
Winemaker, North American Wines, Blend Poet
A highly accomplished and passionate winemaker, Richard applies his sophisticated intellect to everything he does. In college, he learned German just to meet girls. To party with his friends, he made wine. That brainy approach to having fun eventually landed him in the wine business. After earning his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Oregon, he moved to Germany for a 3-year apprenticeship, and completed his dual Master's degrees in Viticulture and Enology from Germany's famed Institute of Winemaking in Geisenheim. He then moved back to the States and established his own winery, Callahan Ridge, in Oregon. Driven to expand his knowledge and extend his mastery, he moved to Napa, where he honed his skills as Winemaker at well-respected wineries such as Stags' Leap Winery, Palmaz Vineyards and the Bradford Mountain Winery. He joined WX in 2008 and his experience and depth of knowledge made an instant impact on the team. He has a deep commitment to quality and an exceptional ability for creating innovative blends that bring forward the best in each varietal. Away from work, Mansfield spends time with his wife Leslie at their home in St. Helena.
Winemaker, European Wines, Sourcing Wizard
An dedicated scholar, Mike has devoted his professional life to learning everything he possibly can about wine. In 2009 he earned the highest recognition in the industry by passing the Master of Wine qualification. (There are less than 360 people in the world that have earned this prestigious title!) A native of Wales, Collier’s interest in wine was sparked while studying Food Technology at the National College of Food Science and Technology at Reading University. After earning his degree, he went to live in Portugal for four years where he studied wine and worked with a number of wineries. He returned to the UK and served as the Wine Technical Manager for PLB Group, a major UK importer. Prior to joining WX in 2011, he was the Wine Development Director at Diageo. He brings an unparalleled level of expertise and craftsmanship to the winemaking team. He has an uncanny ability for finding unique, high-quality wines and creating blends that excite consumers. When not sourcing and blending wines, Collier enjoys mountain biking, cooking, working on his allotment, and spending time with family and friends.
Winemaker, Organic Wines, Homegrown Traveler
Driving change in the wine industry is in Justin Weibel’s blood. His family’s winery, Weibel Vineyards, helped revitalize the quality of wine in America after Prohibition. Today, he continues in that spirit with his dedication to making organic wines. “Creating sustainable and organic wines is crucial,” Weibel observes. “This is our opportunity to ensure the health and growth for future generations.” Justin grew up in the vineyards and is fourth generation winemaker. His family emigrated from Switzerland in the 1930s and Justin’s grandfather and great grandfather made sparkling wine in the basement of San Francisco’s William Tell Hotel. Later, they established their family winery in the Central Valley, where Justin served as head Winemaker for several years. With an itch to travel, he took to the road as a winemaking consultant, spending several years in Turkey and at Iowa State University. He joined WX in 2013 to spearhead the organic wines. With his deep knowledge of winemaking and winegrowing, he has made a huge contribution to the team.
Winemaker, Southern Hemisphere, The Flying Winemaker
Part winemaker, part adventurer – Johnson Scutt has made wine from over 11 different countries, including Spain, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus. Originally from New Zealand, Scutt grew up on his family’s winemaking estate, which ignited his passion to pursue wine. He earned his Wine Science degree and worked for several years in Australia before setting out to travel the world. This adventure included double harvests each year, flying from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere to make wine. Finally, he settled in the UK to work with European wines. In 2004, he joined WX as the Director of Sourcing, first for Europe and now for the Southern Hemisphere. Scutt is devoted to finding and delivering honest varietal expression for the best value. He currently lives in New Zealand with his wife, kids and two Catalan cats.
Winemaker, Jamieson Ranch, Wine Whisperer
Very few people can attribute their careers to their grandparent’s garage, but for Linda, this little space was a place of magic and comfort. This was where the wine was made. This is where her family’s Italian culture reigned, as strong and thick as the smell of fermenting grapes. Ultimately, it inspired her to pursue a winemaking degree at UC Davis, then to study abroad in Italy at Universita degli Studi di Padova. During her time in Italy, she worked her first harvest in the Veneto. When she returned, she accepted a job with Gundlach Bundschu, where she worked for the next two decades crafting highly acclaimed wines, including two sabbaticals to make wine in South Africa and Chile. She then took a winemaking position at Swiftwater Cellars in Washington for five years. Recently, she moved back to California and joined Jaimeson Ranch as Winemaker in 2017. Linda’s signature style is one of balance and elegance. She lives by the words of William A. Foster, who said, "Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives." In 2018, Linda was named the North Bay Business Journal’s Napa Valley Winemaker of the year.
Winemaker, Chronic Cellars, Wave Rider
As a surfer, Josh understands waves – that gentle swell that takes you away from shore but always manages to bring you back. As a kid from a wine family, he rode a similar wave, away from the wine industry and his hometown of Paso Robles, only to return years later to start his own winery, Chronic Cellars, with his brother Jake. With a focus on high-quality wines, Chronic Cellars is a little edgy and a lot of fun. “We’re doing what microbreweries have been doing for years,” Josh points out. “We’re putting exceptional juice under a colorful label loaded with personality.” The counter-culture style extends to the wines themselves, where Josh experiments with non-traditional blends, such as Tempranillo combined with Malbec and Petit Verdot, or Zinfandel with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker, New Kid in the Vineyard
At 29 years old, Noel is one of the youngest winemakers on the Revel team, but don’t confuse her youthful energy and quick smile for lack of experience. While others spent years in school, Noel rolled up her sleeves and worked in the cellar, quickly accelerating her way through the ranks from Harvest Intern to Winemaker in just five years. With a hungry intellect and a killer drive to succeed, Noel has proved that passion is the most important thing you need to become a winemaker. In 2010, Noel graduated Boston College with Environmental Geology Science degree. Following her love of science, food, and the outdoors, she got an entry-level harvest job at Hahn Family Wines. She was a quick learner and a hard worker and by the end of harvest, she was promoted to Assistant Winemaker. She spent the next three years working closely with winemaker Juan Jose Verdina, blending wines and learning everything she could about winemaking. In 2014, she moved to Jaimeson Ranch Vineyard as a Production Winemaker. “My winemaking style reflects my hands-on education with a straight-forward approach. I like to extract the maximum character from the grapes and create high quality wines that people can enjoy.” Noel joined our team in 2017.
Winemaker, Reckless Love Wines, Mr. Personality
If energy is infectious, you’ll like Chip. If you like mustaches, you’ll like Chip. If you like good wine AND having fun, you’ll like Chip. Actually, it’s hard not to like Chip. He’s wild, intense and will turn all your ideas about wine upside down. And you’ll kind of like it. The Winemaker for Reckless Love Wines, Chip Forsythe puts 1000% effort into everything he does. So when he fell for wine, he fell hard. It was in college at Cal Poly, when he accidentally landed on a bus tour of wine country. That's all it took. When he got back, he quit wrestling, changed his major to Wine and Viticulture, got a job at a local winery and started making wine in his back yard. While in school, he worked five harvests and apprenticed under four different winemakers. After graduation he started his first winery, SLO Down Wines, which made only one wine called Sexual Chocolate. He sold it in 2012 and a year later, Chip started Reckless Love Wines. His all-or-nothing intensity is the foundation for Reckless Love Wines, which offers a small selection of wines. According to Chip, he doesn’t want to waste time making lots of mediocre wines when he can create a few truly exceptional wines.
Winemaker, Bread & Butter, Wine Geek
A third-generation Italian vintner and self-professed gearhead, Stefano is undeniably a 'Passionate Wine Geek.' And he’ll admit it (even the geek part, if you’re talking about his fascination with wine equipment). He grew up on his family’s winery in Northern Italy and has been involved with wine from the time he could walk. In 1998, he decided to move to California and went to work for Fransciscan Vineyards and then Gundlach Bundschu as Assistant Winemaker. Wanting to start his own business, he combined his love of winemaking and machinery to start Winetech, a company that serviced wineries with winemaking equipment (this is where the geeky part comes, think: rotary vacuum drum extractor, crossflow filtering and reverse osmosis). In 2006, he and his partners founded Ca’Momi Winery in Napa Valley. Rooted in soulful Italian tradition, they produced wines that were full-bodied, big-hearted and made for gathering around the dinner table. In 2013, he became Winemaker for Bread & Butter, a perfect fit for his energy and passion. (It's just coincidence that the wines are named for his favorite thing, the winemaking process.)