Ridge bought the land in 1982, but it really came into its own when Colleen came on the scene in 1993.
Colleen grew up on a family farm in rural Wisconsin, so her love for the land and farming is deeply ingrained. Her parents had ten children to feed, so cooking was a focal point in the McGlynn household. Colleen carried that passion for fresh, farm-raised food into her professional career as a chef.
Ridge, meanwhile, grew up in suburban Cleveland where despite the fact that everything came either frozen or wrapped in plastic he developed a real love for great food, and the land. When he first came to California in 1967, he knew it was where he wanted to live. And when he first saw the farm in 1982 he knew he’d found home. He’s had a long career in high-tech, but always in parallel with the farm, and it’s clear where his heart and passion are.
They share a commitment to creating a multi-generation, farm-based business that is economically, agricuturally, and environmentally sustainable.
Their love for what they do, and their passion for quality, are infectious.
Juan Valladares was working part-time on the farm the day in 1982 when Ridge first saw it. Juan’s English was little better than Ridge’s Spanish, so they just shook hands and said hello. Little did they know that that was the beginning of a deep, life-long friendship and partnership.
Juan has been at the heart of everything that has happened at the farm. Along the way, he has become a simply exceptional farmer, with intimate tree-by-tree and vine-by-vine knowledge of the land and what grows on it.
He has embraced both the concepts and the practices of Biodynamic farming, and is an exceptional steward to the land on both farms as well as the other properties for which we are responsible. He and his team are as good as it gets.
He is also as nice and kind a human being as you could ever want to know.
Michael Presley is our Soilkeeper, a role that is utterly pivotal in the health and success of our farm, and a task he took to like a duck to water. And he loves teaching, so if you see him (he’s often at the winery property), ask him about anything… and learn.
He grew up 100 miles south of here on a century-old apricot farm, then went on to get his degree in meteorology at UCLA, where he also studied soil, botany, and indigenous cultures.
Throughout his career he has been a grower and creator, starting in 1982 when, while at the Farallones Institute in west Sonoma county, he created an heirloom seed bank. He was co-creator of the Oceansong Farm and Wilderness Center, which in 1988 started the very first CSA in the county. He created the organic tea product line for Taylormaid Farms, learned to bake bread (and build ovens), and and and. And he makes compost like no one else.
He embodies Biodynamic farming, and is recognized as one of the leading practitioners — and teachers. His combination of scientific knowledge and spirituality makes him a perfect fit here at DaVero, and a welcome addition to the team.
Evan’s presence at DaVero stands as testament to the power of Serendipity.
He was born close by, in Santa Rosa, but grew up outside Columbus, Ohio from the age of 11.
He always had a deep interest in winegrowing and winemaking, and when it came time to go to college Evan selected Cornell, an Ivy League college that was founded as an agriculture school. He majored in viticulture and enology, and after graduation moved to New York City where he furthered his knowledge at the legendary Italian Wine Merchant.
His favorite wine? Sagrantino.
And so it was that one day his resume showed up in our inbox, and the rest was easy.
Evan is our Cellarmaster and is responsible for our wine(making) — a model in which we largely step out of the way and let Mother Nature take her course. He started with the 2013 harvest under Dan Fitzgerald (our very able consulting winemaker), but with the 2014 harvest he’s flying the plane himself, inagurating our new winery with a dozen different varietals! Judging from his results, It’s clear we’re in the right, very capable, hands.
Andrew’s enthusiasm for DaVero would make you think that he’s been here from the beginning.
But in fact he started his career in the restaurant industry, where he quickly rose to general management positions every place he worked.
Most recently he was Assistant General Manager at the incredible A16 in San Francisco, famed for its Italian cuisine — and the accompanying Italian wine list.
But his heart — both professionally and personally — brought him to the wine country, at just the moment that we were beginning a search for his role. His was the second resume we received, and it was clear that he was the right person.
His job is to make sure that every person who comes into contact with DaVero has an extraordinary experience.
Update: Jo not only was a part of our tasting room team from its inception in 2010, but actually helped build the tasting room itself. She also built a loyal following among our customers and club members, but after six years with DaVero, it came time for her to move on.
You’ll find her working at a nature conservancy and farm in Napa, where we wish her every success. You can reach her via email here.–> Jo does not work here any more. No one misses her. Her personal email is email@example.com
Shannon grew up loving her proverbially Californian girl life in Los Altos. The family enjoyed 4-H projects, flower and vegetable gardening, and wilderness camping trips, instilling a love of nature and gardening in all 5 children.
After a stint in social services, Shannon worked in the restaurant business before being recruited by a wine merchant. She also enjoyed 2 years as the Garden Manager at Foothill College where she studied Ornamental Horticulture.
Shannon and her husband Ron were eventually drawn to Sonoma County by the wine and agricultural community. Six years into a rewarding but very stressful marketing job she was ready for a big change and leapt at the chance to join DaVero.
As our Hospitality Manager, Shannon can be found leading guests on a walking tour and sit-down tasting at the farm, managing a private winery dinner, or checking on the farm animals. Regardless of the task at hand, she feels happy each day for the chance to personally share DaVero with her guests.
Tracey is the centerpoint of our long-term goal of making DaVero Farms & Winery sustainable economically, as well as agriculturally and environmentally.
She’s a relatively recent transplant to the wine country, but has a long background in business. A CPA by training, she worked as an auditor for Price Waterhouse Coopers, then spent several years leading complex business software integrations for their clients. She has four boys (three teenagers plus a husband).
At DaVero, in addition to the normal juggling of the books and internal administrivia, she coordinates all of our certifications, including Biodynamic®, organic, and Fish Friendly Farming, as well as production.
Rea, born in Israel and trained in Italy, was quite literally drawn to DaVero by Sagrantino — our Sagrantino, poured for him by a winemaker in Alsace in response to Rea’s question about where he should work next.
In his words, “I worked hard and learned in the great wineries of Israel, Tuscany, Rhone Valley and Alsace. But just one sip of DaVero 2010 Sagrantino in France, and I was on my way to California.”
If that’s not the Fates at work, nothing is!.
He works with Evan under an internship program, but his incredible intellect, experience, passion, and palate have quickly made him an indispensible, integral part of this family. We hope to find a way for him to be here for many years to come, because this is where he belongs.
Brian got his first exposure to wine when he was 11 or 12, traveling in France and Italy with his grandfather. “On that trip, I learned how to approve a bottle at dinner by swirling, sniffing, and tasting. The Italians got a huge kick out of a young American kid testing their wines; the French were not equally amused.”
After earning his degree in Biology, he found his way to the wine industry, cutting his teeth at Biodynamic pioneer Benziger. He discovered us in 2015: “Everything about DaVero just made sense to me. First off, I loved every wine I tasted. But once I got to experience the property, I was hooked.” So were we, on him!
Brian eagerly shares both his knowledge and his passion with everyone who visits.
We believe that the most important place in life is the table, and that the most important ingredient in a meal is the people at that table.
In that spirit, herewith the people of DaVero…
- Ridgely Evers & Colleen McGlynn
- Juan Valladares — Farm Manager
- Evan LaNouette — Wine(maker) & Cellarmaster
- Michael Presley — Soilkeeper
- Andrew Hock — Director of Operations
- Shannon Estill — Hospitality Manager
- Tracey Welch — Finance Director
- Brian Wortmann — Tasting Room Ambassador
- Rea Prince — Cellar Manager