Our Napa Valley Winemakers and Vinters
We have the best lineup of Boutique Napa Valley Wines!
Napa Valley winemakers and vintners use a combination of the latest research and equipment, intuition, and practical experience to make distinctive world-class wines from a small but diverse wine-growing region. These winemakers and vintners have an intimate connection on how the art of winemaking can bring out the best from some of the greatest vineyards in the world. Veritas Distributors is proud to carry the responsibility of representing the best group of elite winemakers and vintners from Napa Valley in the business.
Ann Colgin is the heart of Colgin Cellars, a true renaissance woman and vintner of uncommon passion. An avid art collector and dedicated philanthropist, her elegant, yet engaging personality is a telling reflection of her wines and winery. Ann founded Colgin Cellars in 1992 with a vision of making the finest wines from exceptional hillside vineyards in St. Helena and was instrumental in forging a world-renowned reputation for California’s small production hand-crafted wines. Ann began her career in the world of fine art with an M.A. from New York University, subsequently becoming President of Fairchild’s Fine Art, then establishing the Colgin label, where her own artistry found expression in the creation of her wines. Ann serves as consultant to the Sotheby’s Wine Department and has been instrumental in developing many major charity wine auctions.
Her generous donations of rare verticals and large format bottles of the Colgin wines have raised over $13 million for worthwhile causes involving health care, community services and the arts. Ann is a trustee and executive committee member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou Foundation. She and her husband Joe Wender also have an ownership interest in Camille Giroud in Burgundy.
Tony Soter, a California vintner who never received a formal winemaking degree but rose to the top of his profession, has left Napa Valley after more than 30 years as one of its most influential winemakers. Soter will work full-time with the Willamette Valley winery he co-owns with his wife Michelle: Soter Vineyards.
Beginning in 1975, Soter was consulting winemaker to lauded wineries like Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stonegate, Spring Mountain, Chappellet, Sequoia Grove, Robert Pepi, Spottswoode, Niebaum-Coppola, Viader, Dalla Valle, Shafer and Araujo.
In 1980, Soter bottled his own first wine, a Pinot Noir, under the Etude brand, in Carneros. He sold Etude to Beringer Blass in 2001, but remained as winemaker, overseeing development of its estate vineyard. He continues today in a consulting capacity at Etude.
In the mid-1990s Soter and his Oregon-born wife started up a new, personal brand, Soter Vineyards, in the Willamette Valley. With the move to Oregon, Soter plans to further develop his Mineral Springs vineyard, which produces Pinot Noir for the Soter brand.
Robert (Bob) Foley began his wine making career in the Napa Valley in 1977, having just graduated from UC Davis with degrees in both Viticulture and Enology. He spent his first year working for Heitz Cellars, followed by 15 years as the founding winemaker for Markham Vineyards. In 1992, Bob began another 15 years as the founding winemaker for Pride Mountain Vineyards. During this period, he also created the highly acclaimed Switchback Ridge, Hourglass, Paloma, School House, and Engel Family wines. He now focuses on Robert Foley Vineyards and Switchback Ridge wines, but also creates some of the offerings from Engel Family, Padis Vineyards, and Shelter in the Napa Valley.
Russell Bevan is a straight shooter and has brought his own style of vineyard management and wine making to Napa. In contemporary Napa, he is leading the charge – working with the best vineyards and producing wines that are opulent, energetic and rich. Russell followed Heidi Barrett at Showket and his mentor was Philip Togni. Russell has earned over 15 100-point wines in his career and began crafting Elyse wines in 2018.
Bob Levy started his career as a winemaker at Rombauer in the early 1980s and then devoted 15 years as winemaker at Merryvale. During his tenure at Merryvale, Levy partnered with Real Estate Developer Bill Harlan to create a ‘first growth’ Napa red wine. The wine, Harlan Estate, commands prices close to $700. Bob Levy is responsible for Harlan Estate and the two other Harlan brands: Bond and The Maiden. Since his success with Harlan, Bob Levy started a personal brand, Levy & McClellan, with his wife, winemaker Martha McClellan.
Pioneers of the Napa Valley grape growing industry, the Beckstoffer family made the vineyards both their lives and their livelihood. When not playing in the vineyards, Tuck was learning about them. 1975 marked his first harvest, and since then Tuck can’t remember a harvest when he hasn’t tasted, smelled and picked the fruit straight from the vine. Studies with winemaking legends in wineries both at home and abroad only whetted Tuck’s appetite to create a wine of his own. After making Tuck Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon in 1997 to critical acclaim, collectors and connoisseurs asked for more. That demand continues today. His Semper Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are among the highest rated and most critically acclaimed Sonoma Coast wines produced today. Melee Grenache was hailed an “elegant expression of the land and a joy in the glass.” His Mockingbird and Tuck Beckstoffer Cabernets have been praised as “wines of remarkable character. A treasure to drink and to collect.” His Seventy Five Wine Company has been championed as “pedigreed wine for people who are above pedigree.”
Robert Egelhoff is one of Napa Valley’s most sought-after winemakers, with over thirty years of viticultural and winemaking experience. Egelhoff launched his career as vineyard manager for Beckstoffer Vineyards, where he worked for three years. From there he joined Bill Harlan’s Merryvale Vineyards, honing his winemaking skills under the tutelage of Bob Levy and consultant Michel Rolland. Further credentials include positions with prestigious wineries including Bella Vista and Robert Craig. In addition he has coordinated production for over three dozen nationally recognized brands. In one of his career highlights, Egelhoff made the Wine Spectator 1997 wine of the year, the Cabernet Sauvignon Elevation 1147, for David Arthur Vineyards, which catapulted him to cult winemaker status. An essential philosophy behind Egelhoff’s approach to winemaking is a hands-on involvement in directing vineyard and winemaking practices while closely monitoring the results. For Axios, Egelhoff selects grapes from premium vineyards and oversees all aspects of the winemaking process, a close involvement that is founded on his exacting demands for quality.
Andy Erickson has lived and worked in the Napa Valley since 1994, having redirected his efforts away from engineering and medicine, and toward growing grapes and making wine. Solidly hooked after his first harvest at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Andy went on to study enology at UC Davis while working with Spottswoode and Saintsbury wineries. After receiving his graduate degree, Andy officially embarked on an early winemaking career that would span over ten years between Harlan Estate, Staglin Family Vineyards and Screaming Eagle. Moving from full-time gigs to a range of independent consulting in 2011, Andy currently has his hands in some of the most spectacular fruit grown in Napa Valley at Dalla Valle.
A third-generation rancher from St. Helena, David Abreu graduated from the Viticulture and Enology Program at UC Davis and founded Abreu Vineyard Management in 1980. While overseeing vineyard operations at Inglenook Winery, Abreu frequently traveled to Bordeaux where he observed French winemaking and vineyard techniques. His popularity grew as wineries recognized his talents and hired him to plant and manage their vineyards. By the late 1990’s, he was considered one of the premier viticulturists in Napa Valley, growing grapes for wineries such as Screaming Eagle, Staglin Family Vineyard, Colgin Cellars, Harlan Estate, Bryant Family Vineyard, Araujo Estate Wines and Grace Family Vineyards. Upon joining Kenzo Estate in 2002, David made a stark departure from the northern Napa Valley vineyards he typically managed. He recognized the potential of Kenzo Estate’s elevation and proximity to the San Pablo Bay and was confident that the location would yield grapes of extraordinary quality and a uniquely refined style within Napa Valley. David’s precision farming & long-range vision is evidenced in Kenzo Estate’s consistently outstanding grape harvests.
Tim Mondavi is the winegrower, visionary and creative force behind all aspects of Continuum Estate. He has devoted his life’s work and passion to enhancing the art of wine. In 1974, armed with a degree from UC Davis in viticulture & enology Tim joined the winemaking team at Robert Mondavi Winery. It was there Tim guided wine research programs, led the development of Napa’s Appellation system and mentored many wine makers over the years. His first-hand experience in winegrowing extends to Italy, Chile, Australia and France where Tim developed, or was an integral part of, a number of luxury wines including Opus One in Napa, Ornellaia and Luce in Italy, and Sena in Chile. The Mondavi family lost control of their wine empire in 2003 amid internal strife over whether the wine company could remain true to its Napa Valley heritage, or whether it should continue to push case volume to meet Wall Street’s earnings expectations. In the end, the board of directors voted to sell the company to Constellation Brands, which left the Mondavis out of the wine business for the first time in decades. Tim and sister Marcia, along with dad Robert, regrouped and formed their own company, Continuum, to reflect their family’s ties to wine and their ongoing passion for it.
Aaron Pott is a winemaker and graduate from the University of California, Davis. After working at Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley, Aaron took a position as winemaker at Château Troplong-Mondot, a Premier Grand Cru Classé in Saint-Émilion. Pott left Château Troplong Mondont after a year to become director at Château La Tour Figeac, a Grand Cru Classé located in Saint-Emilion. He spent five years there and in the process earned a degree in Viticulture from the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France. Pott returned to the United States after six years, becoming head winemaker in charge of international brands for Beringer Wine Estates of the Napa Valley. In 2004, he accepted a position as winemaker and general manager at Quintessa Estate in the Napa Valley.
In 2007, Pott teamed up with his wife Claire to create Pott Wine, a Napa Valley label, produced in part, from the couple’s 76-acre vineyard property on Mt. Veeder. He continues to consult to a limited number of Napa Valley producers, among them, Stagecoach Vineyard, Blackbird Vineyards, Seven Stones Winery, Fisher Vineyards, Martin Estate, St. Helena Winery, and Joseph Carr.
In 1984, H. William Harlan, a real estate developer and Napa Valley resort owner, purchased a 240-acre property with steep hillsides, multiple elevations and exposures in Oakville with Harlan’s expressed ambition to “create a first growth wine”.
The first Harlan Estate wine label, a design inspired by a 19th-century engraving, was overseen by retired U.S. Treasury engraver Herb Fichter, was the 1990 vintage in 1996. On its qualities, Harlan has stated, “It was a label designed for a bottle that would sit on a table in candlelight, not on a store shelf.” Described by Jancis Robinson as “one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century”, and consistent acclaim from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker, including four scores of 100 “parker points” have further contributed to the wine’s high prices and long waiting lists. Released at $850 per bottle, the price soon rises on the speculative market, and the cost may range from $1200 and up. A 10-vintage vertical selection of magnum bottles sold at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction for $700,000.
The Director of Wine Making, Bob Levy, has worked with Harlan since 1983 when Harlan took part in founding the Merryvale Winery. The estate has retained Michel Rolland as consultant enologist since 1989.
Mia Klein is a Californian winemaker and entrepreneur in Napa. Her career has spanned decades in the food and wine industry. Before studying enology at the University of California, Davis, Klein was a professional chef in San Francisco. Mentored by well-known winemaker Tony Soter, Klein has made wine for several critically acclaimed wineries including Chappellet Winery, Araujo Estate Wines, Viader, Spottswoode, Dalla Valle Vineyard and Robert Pepi. After graduating from Davis, she worked at Chappellet Winery under winemaker Cathy Corison. In the early 1980s she became assistant winemaker. After Chappellet, she worked at Robert Pepi Winery and met Tony Soter. Soter and Klein would go start a consulting business, providing services numerous Napa Valley wineries. Klein also worked at Dalla Valle Vineyard. She replaced winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett at Dalla Valle. She is the winemaker for Boyanci and Cimarossa Vineyards, and has provided consulting services to Palmaz Vineyards, Spottswoode, Viader and cult wine label Araujo. Soter left the consulting business in 1999 and Klein continues to consult.
Thomas Rivers Brown is one of California’s most in-demand winemakers. Combining a craftsman’s precision with an artist’s intuition, TRB is set to join the modern pantheon of California’s most influential vintners. When Fred Schrader went looking for a winemaker in 2000, he hired a promising 29-year-old who was apprenticing at Turley Wine Cellars, known for Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. It was a gut-feeling hire for Schrader. The apprentice had never made Cabernet, but the relationship evolved and has paid off handsomely for both Schrader and TRB. When Napa Cab is debated, Brown’s name is mentioned. Of all the spectacular Cabernets made in the past decade, his is one of the most inspiring collections. Since 2000, he has made 37 bottlings of Cabernet for Schrader Cellars. Twenty have earned ratings of 95 points or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale, including a pair of 100-point 2007s. Ninety-one is the lowest score in the bunch. Brown’s Cabernet are opulent and polished, offering layers of dark berry and toasty oak.
Robin grew up among the vineyards of Inglenook, founded in 1879 by her great-granduncle, Gustave Niebaum, who pioneered fine winemaking in Napa. Inglenook was passed down to Robin’s grandfather and then to her father, John Daniel Jr., a true innovator (he was the first to put ‘Napa Valley’ on his labels, and pioneered varietal labeling) who produced legendary wines. Robin was touched by her dad’s passion and focus on tradition and excellence. In 1964, two years after Robin graduated from Stanford University, her father sold Inglenook. In 1970 after her father’s death, she shepherded the remaining estate vineyards. 7 years later she launched her career as Robert Mondavi’s personal assistant, who became her mentor. While at Robert Mondavi Winery, she directed the creation of the first Auction Napa Valley. In 1982 Robin co-founded Dominus with Christian Moueix, and in 1983 co-founded Merryvale Vineyards with Bill Harlan, where she served as president for 12 years. In the mid-90’s, Robin sold out of her partnerships with a vision of bringing her family’s exciting legacy into the 21st Century. In 1995 she and her two daughters, Erin and Shannon, launched Lail Vineyards. Today, the venture carries on the legacy of over 135 years of winemaking in Napa.
Michel Rolland is a Bordeaux-based oenologist with hundreds of clients across 13 countries and influencing wine style around the world. “It is his consultancies outside France that have set him apart from all but a handful of his countrymen.” It is frequently addressed that his signature style, which he helps wineries achieve, is fruit-heavy and oak-influenced, a preference shared by influential critic Robert Parker.
Rolland owns several properties in Bordeaux, including Château Bertineau Saint-Vincent in Lalande de Pomerol, Château Rolland-Maillet in Saint-Émilion, Château Fontenil in Fronsac, and Château La Grande Clotte in Lussac-Saint-Émilion as well as joint venture partnerships with Bonne Nouvelle in South Africa, Val de Flores in Argentina, Rolland Galarreta in Spain and Yacochuya (Salta) and Clos de los Siete in Argentina. Rolland’s first projects outside of Bordeaux were in California. He now consults for many highly regarded Napa Valley wineries, oncluding St. Supery, Dalla Valle Vineyards, Harlan Estate, Staglin Family Vineyard and Bryant Estate.
Philippe Melka is quickly becoming the name to listen for on wine tours and wine tastings. Additionally, look for this wine on lists in the finest restaurants all over the Napa Valley. This Bordeaux native studied geology, agriculture, and enology throughout his higher education. He cut his teeth studying and working in wineries everywhere from our own Yountville, in the heart of Napa Valley, to his home in France (Haut Brion & Petrus) and overseas in Australia. He has learned from some of the finest winemakers and wine houses in both France and the United States. Melka now consults at wineries throughout Napa Valley to help other brands build the complexity, texture, and depth of flavor associated with his name. He is also the co-proprietor of his own label but his artistry is evident in each of the winery portfolios above.
Robert Parker proclaimed Philippe Melka one of the top nine consultants in the world!
Coupe de Foudre
Heidi Peterson Barrett is a winemaker and entrepreneur and is responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines. Her career included stints at Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Paradigm, Grace Family Vineyard, David Arthur, Showket, Amuse Bouche and Revana Family Vineyards. Barrett is also a consultant for Kenzo Estate. Heidi Barrett grew up in Napa Valley in a winemaking family and was destined to become one of California’s leading winemakers. She created the famous “Maya” cult wine, a proprietary Cabernet blend that received 2 perfect 100 point scores from Robert Parker (’92 & ’93.) She started making wine for Screaming Eagle in 1992, which has also received 2 perfect 100 pt scores (’92 & ’97). A 6-liter bottle of ’92 SE set a world record for the highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction selling for $500,000. She is currently the winemaker for Amuse Bouche, Paradigm, Kenzo Estate, Au Sommet and Vin Perdu. Parker has dubbed her the “first lady of wine”. Heidi Barrett lives in Calistoga with her husband Bo, winemaker at Chateau Montelena.