UNITING THE HOSPITALITY COMMUNITY OF WINE COUNTRY

 

CANVAS Advisory Council

THE ADVISORY COUNCIL IS MADE UP OF TWO REGIONAL COUNCILS, NAPA & SONOMA. There will be a few members of each Regional Council who will be part of the Oversight Advisory Council to help support and nurture the most productive exchange and action between the two regions of Wine Country.


Colby Smith, Co-Founder, Executive Director of CANVAS; Proprietor, Wine Country Accesscolby10-02WebMatch.jpg

Having moved to Napa in 2005, Colby's first joy was sharing her new passion for Napa Valley with the Guests at Villagio Inn & Spa. This grew to collaborating with friend and colleague, Monica Stevens to form the Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley in early 2009 and continues to be Colby's primary focus. In addition, Colby operates a private Concierge service, Wine Country Access, arranging personalized, intimate access for her clients to the gems of Wine Country. Prior to moving to Napa Colby founded and directed a web development company strategizing web projects for both corporate and start-up companies integrating web marketing, branding and revenue models. She also founded and directed a Public Relations firm in New York, which represented a range of image conscious clients nationally and internationally, including Gianni Versaci and Revillon Furs, jewelry and cosmetics firms and a variety of top restaurants. Earlier, in Los Angeles, she was active in the film industry for many years as Production Manager and Producer for both feature films and commercials. She's been an actress, model, and even a stunt woman! When she moved to Napa, she found a wonderful little house in the middle of the vineyards and is enjoying the finches, quail and her two Birman cats, Sedona & Merlin. Life is grand.

"Being able to help others with marketing, perspective and expanded relationships is what is most rewarding to me. And doing that in this scenic, agricultural and sophisticated environment is truly an optimal experience."


2012 NAPA ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Dave Bryant, Director of Retail Sales & Marketing, John Anthony Vineyards  

A native of the Napa Valley, Dave brings extensive luxury sales, marketing, and hospitality experience to the Advisory Council. With a background managing food and beverage operations in high end hotels, Dave knows how to take care of a guest. His enthusiasm for creating memorable experiences and going above and beyond to exceed expectations is the driving force behind his success. Add experience selling some of the most expensive wine in the world, creating micro production brands for discerning clients, and owning a small production label himself, and you have a well rounded industry professional. 

While leading a small team at John Anthony Vineyards, Dave is redefining the traditional thought of a tasting room. Located in Downtown Napa’s new West End neighborhood, the John Anthony Tasting Lounge is open daily from 10am to 2am. These extended hours give Dave and his team the opportunity to provide their guests with unique experiences both day and night. From a private tasting or custom vineyard tour during the day to a glass or bottle to relax with at night, you know you’ll be well taken care of.


Richard M. Enos
, Compadres Rio Grille. President/CEO

A California native, born and raised in Sacramento, Rick graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Finance.   Commissioned as an Officer in the US Army, his service included studying at The Defense Language Institute in Monterey, where he met his wife Nancy, two years in Germany, and a tour of Vietnam.  Rick returned to Graduate School at Santa Clara following his Honorable Discharge from the Army.  It was during this time that he met the founders of the now legendary Victoria Station chain of restaurants and joined their management team to develop restaurants across the country, eventually numbering over 100.  Prior to conceiving and developing Compadres, Rick was a consultant in Food & Beverage operations, helping to launch the very successful Cantina in Mill Valley, California.  The Compadres developed and successfully operated restaurants in Hawaii and California starting in 1983.  

A Napa Valley icon for 20 years in Yountville, California, Rick and his family relocated the Yountville restaurant to Napa in 2007.   Situated on The Napa River just North of a rapidly re-developing Downtown Napa, COMPADRES RIO GRILLE continues a legacy of great food in the style of Northern Mexico and The Southwest, award-winning Margaritas, and casual hospitality.  Catering and group party sales at this unique facility are now a large part of the Compadres business plan.  Rick is an active (but Senior) Guardsmen, he is Chairman Emeritus of The San Francisco Giants Community Fund, and serves the local community by supporting, chairing, and participating in various events and activities.  Rick and Nancy, long time residents of San Rafael in Marin County, are parents of three grown children – Jeff, Scott, and Lauren – all of whom are partners in Just One More Restaurant Inc, and they are enjoying an expanding family that includes granddaughters Emma, Ava, and Mila.


Erica Valentine - Vice President, Sales & Business Development, WineDirect
 
Erica Valentine was born and raised in Napa Valley, and has enjoyed developing some of the most prestigious brands in the world.  She spent the early part of her career managing sales and marketing at Markham and Shafer Vineyards.  She honed her wine business management skills at Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines (now Diageo) where she spent over a decade as Director of Marketing for a global portfolio that included Perrier Jouët, Mumm Champagne, Sandeman Port, Trimbach and Sterling Vineyards.  Erica left Seagram to start her own consulting firm, which focused on strategic planning, business management, sales and marketing needs of top-tier wineries, such as Robert Mondavi, Hanzell Vineyards, Chandon Estates, Jackson Family Estates and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

In 2004 she joined Constellation Wines where she spent several years enhancing her knowledge of wine production, marketing, sales, distribution and management of luxury wines, serving as Estate Director for Simi, Columbia Winery, Wild Horse, and Inniskillin Icewine brands.

Erica joined WineDirect in June, 2012 where she is able to pour all of her experience into serving the wine industry.


Margaret Meraz,  Hospitality Director of The Estate & The Room, Flora Springs
 

It takes a dynamic personality to be the life of the party and somehow still make everyone feel welcome. How does Margaret do it? Let’s just say she loves what she does!  It’s been nearly 10 years since the Flora Springs family first caught a glimpse of Margaret’s enthusiasm for the world of wine. Without hesitation the family asked her to oversee the entire guest experience at Flora Springs. Now, Margaret’s warm smile and welcoming personality is something people have come to expect when they visit Flora Springs.  Born in the sun of Bakersfield, California, Margaret received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics at San Francisco State University, but it was at Flora Springs that she realized her heart belonged to the Napa Valley. “I swear my first interest in wine was due to the health benefits that we studied about in school!” She says with a laugh, “it took just one glass of Napa Valley Cabernet and I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

In addition to planning our series of unforgettable events, hosting cave tours and summer lunches, Margaret also runs our daily Facebook posts and blog entries. In some circles she is even referred to as the ”queen of social media” and has been asked to share her expertise to those new to the social media scene. Her creativity and energy keeps fans of Flora Springs on the wine pulse.  So whether you’re looking for conversation and a glass of wine at The Room, or the 411 on the next party, Margaret has you covered.


Katie Prevost, Marketing Manager for San Francisco MagazineKatie Prevost.jpg

Katie hails from Boston, Massachusetts, attended The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2007. She immediately fell in love with San Francisco and finds that working for a magazine geared to the curious local is a fabulous way to continue to learn more about the city she loves so much. At San Francisco magazine, Katie holds many jobs including sponsorships coordinator, event planner, marketing guru, manager of circulation and promotions manager. In additional to these, duties being a foodie, literary addict, road running fan, and planning fun weekend excursions throughout the Bay Area keeps her quite busy. During her visits to Napa Valley, Katie finds herself basking in the beauty of the area. Katie also believes that The Wine Country and San Francisco must partner and work together in order to create the best visitor experience possible to Northern California as well as create a bond between the metropolitan city just south and it's fruitful neighbor. She is incredibly excited to be working with CANVAS to bring one-of-a-kind experience and life-long memories to all those who visit.

Tom Wark, Wark Communications

For many years Tom Wark has been one of the country’s strongest voices for   
wine consumer rights, liberalization of the alcohol sales and distribution system and reform of the three-tier system. Working early on with leaders of the small winery movement in California, he later went on to work with the Coalition for Free Trade, as Executive Director of the Specialty Wine Retailers Association and as a prominent consumer advocate through is influential blog, FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog.

Wark has spoken at numerous wine industry events on topics as diverse as media relations, direct shipping legislation, public relations, and small winery marketing essentials. In addition he has testified numerous times at hearings in state legislatures across the country on behalf of wine retailers and consumers. He is the founder of the American Wine Blog Awards and the author of the American Wine Writer Survey.
Through Wark Communications he continues to serve a variety of clients from technology companies and media firms to wineries and industry associations. Wark is a regular source for writers and editors across the country on issues of alcohol regulations, wine marketing and wine writing. He obtained a Masters Degree in Diplomatic History from San Francisco State  University and currently lives in Napa, California


Lisa Ross, Concierge, Carneros InnLisa Ross.jpg

I came to Napa on a fluke as a teenager on a cross country camping trip. Planned on seeing CA and heading back to MY CITY.... as only a New Yorker would say. Arrived in here with $5.00 to my name. Spent a few nights on a brand new friend's couch and used my incredible skills I acquired bartending in NYC, to score a job at Franciscan Vineyards. Of course, the only wine I'd served in NYC was Mateuse Rose over ice! 30 years in wine, schlepping cases at Caymus, Silver Oak, Grgich Hills...I love the industry. Although when Hurricane Katrina hit I decided it was time for a shake-up. I had worked for Mike Grgich for 13 years. I had had wine every day for many, many years, it was and still is a big part of my life... the food, the wine, the whole Napa Valley lifestyle. However, wine is a beverage, not a cure for cancer, a not a child's life. So I joined the Red Cross and for a month distributed bottled water, mops, sandwiches, hugs and encouragement just outside the French Quarter. Lived in a church in La Place, Louisiana with 150 other volunteers. I returned to Napa with renewed vigor and continue to love Napa Valley every day.  It was a natural progression to become a Concierge because I wanted to show visitors to the Valley why I love it. And you know what...I think I'm pretty darned good at it!



2011 SONOMA COUNCIL MEMBERS 


Nancy Boerum, Concierge, MacArthur Place Inn & Spa, Sonoma

Nancy, originally from the East Coast, has called The Bay Area her home since the '70's having migrated north from SF, to Marin and then finally settling in Sonoma in 1992. Falling in love with MacArthur Place as it was being built turned Nancy's life around as it was then that she decided she wanted to work there. The Hotel will be celebrating its twelfth birthday this fall, and Nancy is proud to be one of only three original employees! The Hotel is a small, 64 room boutique Hotel with lovely gardens, a spa and Saddles Steakhouse just four blocks south of Sonoma's main plaza. Nancy enjoys the small town atmosphere of Sonoma (pop. 9,000) where she is involved in local community activities. Nancy sings with the Sonoma Valley Chorale and is past chairperson of the Greve-in-Chianti Sister Cities Committee.  "I thrive on contact with people so I can't think of a better job for me and besides, being a Concierge is such a fun job - we get to make memories for people! When we arfortunate enough to live in such a beautiful place and enjoy the good things in life that are in such great abundance here in Wine Country, how can I not be enthusiastic about wanting to share this with visitors to the area and want to make their experience the best it can be?  The way I view those of us in the Hospitality business is this: we are in the "YES" business ~ it's up to us to do whatever we possibly can to insure that they leave here smiling, not only with good memories but with a desire to return!


Ramon Meraz, Concierge, Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & SpaRamon Meraz.jpg, Santa Rosa


A native of Chihuahua Mexico, Ramon moved to the USA in 1985, where he attended Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He has been a Sonoma County Resident since 1992, where he has attended SRJC and graduated from SSU (Mexican-American Studies). Ramon has been concierge at The Hyatt Vineyard Creek since 2006 and has worked at The Sonoma County Hilton, Double Tree and The Sonoma Mission Inn in the 10 years before that.  He brings strong language skills to his work speaking Spanish, Italian and some Japanese. Also Ramon has worked seasonally for the last 5 years with the Agricultural Commissioner's Office, walking vineyards, orchards and gardens in an effort to protect Sonoma County against invasive and destructive pests, like the Glassy Winged Sharp Shooter, Ligth Brown Apple Moth and the European Vine Moth. While working both at the Hyatt and the Ag Office at the same time was difficult, Ramon is thankful for the intimate insight that he gained as a result of driving all over the county during the day, while describing it during the night and weekends to the visitors.


Ryan Moore, Director, Direct-to-Consumer SalesRyan Moore.JPG, Ridge Vineyards


Ryan Moore possesses over ten years of experience in luxury hospitality, business management, event logistics, restaurant operations, and direct / viral marketing.  An accomplished leader and manager, he has worked with a diverse range of companies, from large, publicly traded corporations to small, entrepreneurial, family organizations. As Director of Direct-to-Consumer Sales for Ridge Vineyards, he is responsible for all consumer-direct sales including retail, wine club and eCommerce as well as hospitality and guest experience at their two winery estates in Healdsburg and Cupertino.  Prior to Ridge, Moore was Director of Retail Operations at Duckhorn Wine Company overseeing retail sales and hospitality for Duckhorn’s three properties; Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx and Goldeneye Winery.  Additional experience includes managing direct-to-consumer sales for Russian River Pinot Noir pioneer, Gary Farrell and overseeing retail sales and hospitality for Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary Rubicon Estate.  Early in his career, Ryan managed operations, service and sales for Convito Italiano, a Chicago based food & wine group consisting of multiple restaurants, gourmet grocery, catering and award winning wine retail businesses. Moore has earned a variety of professional awards and recognition, including Beam Wine Estates Top Performer in 2007 and being named one of Convito’s “25 most significant contributors” to the company over its storied history spanning three decades.   His wine education includes studies with several of the world’s leading Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine recipients including Evan Goldstein, Fred Dame, Keith Goldston, Larry Stone and Patrick Fegan.

He notes “The great pleasure of my professional career has been learning the craft of effective hospitality and being able to apply these philosophies across a variety of diverse industries.”

Don Rickard, Owner/Operator of Platypus Tours

Don was born & raised in California, growing up for the most part in Modesto.  He came to the wine country by way of San Francisco, Rhode Island and Seattle. Formerly a restaurant manager, (Market Restaurant in St. Helena), he founded Platypus Tours in 2004 and is the president of that company.  Don lives in Napa with his magnificent wife, Kathy and their three splendid dogs, Gertie, PJ and little Roscoe. He loves folk music and most any type of casserole.


Sally Srok, Vice President, Francis Ford Coppola Winery
                        

Sally Srok enjoyed a long career in Manhattan in both retail management and in the world of fashion on Seventh Avenue. Her work in marketing, communications, sales and event for Go>Silk, Emanuel Ungaro and Carolina Herrera brought her to locations around the country.  When she moved to the Bay Area from New York 10 years ago, she continued her career in marketing and sales, working in various fields including design, construction, and non-profit organizations. She also became a writer for parenting magazines and published her first book in 2010. Sally found the perfect match for her background and her passion for wine and hospitality as Vice President of Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, where she has worked since 2010.


Scotti Stark, Hospitality Director, Fisher VineyardsScotti Stark.jpg

Scotti Stark has been in the Business of wine for just over 15 years, in the business of people, all his life.  Working in restaurants to pay his way for college, he had an epiphany when his wine mentor let him taste a 1982 Chateau Leoville Las Cases.  Soon afterwards he was promoted to Assistant Sommelier at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston, Texas.  Two years later he took over as Wine Director and grew the list from 500 to well over 2,000 selections and garnered his wine team Best Sommelier(s) in Food and Wine Magazine.  Throughout his ten years at the Steakhouse, Scotti made many friends both personally and professionally.  His next move would be to the distribution phase as he worked with Glazers Distributing.  A special position was created for him to cater to the needs of the top 50 accounts in the city of Houston.  Education on service, hospitality, liquor, beer and wine was his forte, but sharing this knowledge was his true passion.  In 2004 an old friend and customer from the Steakhouse approached him for an opportunity in Napa Valle, Dr. Revana.  Dr. Revana had hired Heidi Barrett and Jim Barbour to produce a World Class Cabernet and needed someone to introduce this wine as well as take great care of the guests that visited the winery, Revana Family Winery.  Needless to say, Scotti moved to Napa and began making great friendships and relationships with visitors, concierges and other wineries.  Just over two years later he was enticed by another great winemaker to develop a hospitality program at Crocker and Starr.  Once this was achieved, Fisher Vineyards was next to ask him to develop and maintain a hospitality program as well as oversee the sales of their wines in Texas.  It is here that he continues to share his passion of wine to those that will listen.



 

 
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