In 1989, Walt and Joan came across a small, three line classified ad for land on the Northern Sonoma Coast. The rugged 321 acre property situated just over two miles from the Pacific Ocean included a ridge top at elevations ranging from 1150′ – 1400′. Expecting the same foggy weather they had experienced along the coast, the Flowers were excited to discover abundant sunshine on the ridge. It did not take Walt and Joan long to see that they were standing on a “warm site in a cool climate,” the ideal growing conditions for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They purchased the property in 1990 and by 1991 had planted 23 acres on the narrow ridge, long known as Camp Meeting Ridge. Since their first visit to the property, the Flowers have maintained their belief that this tiny viticultural area could produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of the highest quality.
A native of Chattanooga TN, Dave’s love of the French language took him to McGill University in Montreal where he majored in Economics and Physical Geography. It was here that he discovered what he calls the “nuance of wine and gastronomic culture.” His first experiences in wine carried him to the Napa Valley where he first worked at Chappellet and later at Pine Ridge. He then set his sights on Sonoma County Pinot Noir and after his internship with William Selyem in 2007, Dave joined the Flowers team as Assistant Winemaker in 2008. During the growing season and especially during harvest, Dave is most frequently found in the vineyards assessing fruit development and monitoring vine health; but during the winter months, when the vines are dormant, he is full of energy skiing in the Sierra Nevada backcountry. His love affair with mountains carries him back to the Sierra during the summer for frequent hikes and climbs.
Chantal is a California native, growing up in the central valley and the world of agriculture. She started her winemaking career as a lab technician at Oak Ridge Winery in Lodi eventually climbing the ladder to Enologist. She received an introduction into Biodynamic farming, natural winemaking and terroir-driven wines while working with Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz. An internship at Quartz Reef in the Central Otago region of New Zealand established her love of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that continued to blossom when she returned to the Santa Cruz Mountains to work at Rhys Vineyards before eventually landing at Flowers in 2012. Chantal graduated from Chico State with a major in Biology and a concentration in Botany. In her spare time you may find her cultivating her bee colony, exploring “the City” (San Francisco), sipping bubbles and attending Giants baseball games.
Inspired by a single taste of wine in his hometown of Chicago, Greg moved to earn a degree in hospitality with an emphasis on wine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Although he enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the restaurant industry, he realized he belonged closer to the source. He moved to northern California and earned a second degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California at Davis while gaining practical experience at Napa’s Quintessa Vineyard and Winery. His successful studies at Davis backed by his love of the French language and culture led him to Burgundy through the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin where he worked alongside Véronique Drouhin and the winemaking team at the Maison Joseph Drouhin, an experience instrumental in his understanding of terroir and its expression through wine. Prior to joining Flowers, Greg was Director of Wine for Jordan Vineyard and Winery, helping to guide the wine from vine to table nationally. At Flowers, Greg brings a lively passion for the production and enjoyment of true, terroir-driven wines of distinction and their ability to deliver a genuine story of place and time. When not at Flowers, Greg can be found training for long-course endurance events, working in his home Pinot Noir vineyard and spending time with his wife Lauren, son Maxwell and their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
THE VINE WHISPERER
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Matt is a champion of natural farming and a steward of the Earth. His passion for wine and food began during a semester abroad in Vichy, France where he studied international business and marketing at Blaise-Pascal University. However, it was his study of Spanish in Chile at the Universidad de Vina del Mar that set him on his course to work with vineyards and wine. He interned with Rhys Vineyards in the Santa Cruz mountains for 3 harvests and also interned in 2010 in the southern hemisphere at Amani Vineyards in Stellenbosch, South Africa. His diverse background has been very focused on farming techniques and education including work on a Farmer-to-Farmer program in eastern and southern Africa. Matt joined Flowers in 2011 as our viticulturist and manages our biodynamic farming practices. He loves music, as much travel as he can manage, gardening (of course), Jiu Jitsu, snowboarding climbing and golf.
Jennifer’s first exposure to wine began when her parents began making homemade wines in their cellar in Linn, Missouri. After achieving her degree in Food Science at the University of Missouri – Columbia, she worked with the Missouri Grape and Wine Board educating people about the wines and wineries of the region. This work solidified her interest in wine and she left Missouri to pursue a graduate degree in oenology at Lincoln University in New Zealand. Following her graduation, she worked locally in vineyard management before deciding to return to the US and work at Flowers as an intern for the 2010 harvest. Following her internship, the allure of the extreme Sonoma Coast was too great and she decided to join Flowers full time as a lab oenologist. When she isn’t cooking up things in the lab, she is experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen or heating up the dance floor with ballroom dancing.
Year after year our estate vineyards provide us with fruit that expresses the unique character of the soil and climate of the extreme Sonoma Coast. When the fruit comes in it is rigorously sorted and fermented with traditional methods and cellared exclusively in French oak barrels. The wine is then put in the loving care of the cellar team that stirs the lees of the fermenting Chardonnays, monitors the wine’s progress, tops off barrels, and prepares the barrels during the blending process.
Ed settled in Sonoma wine country to obey his passion for wine, especially Pinot Noir. He studied Viticulture & Enology at UC-Davis, authored a popular wine blog, interned at Holdredge Wines in Healdsburg producing Pinot Noir and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). Ed joined Flowers to share our unique story from a personal perspective and that of the land. As chief messenger and consumer advocate, he will provide our customers with world-class service, a personalized experience and extend the reach of the Flowers brand with various digital and social media while never forgetting the value of a hand-written note or a phone call. Ed holds an MBA from Georgia State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business and when he’s not tweeting or nose deep in a glass you’ll find him on his bike.
Michelle moved to Timber Cove at age 10 and began living California History and the area’s pioneering ways while attending the original Fort Ross Schoolhouse. She has met some amazing people along the way including the Italian sculptor, Bene Bufano, who paid her 10 cents to help affix tiles to his statue at the Timber Cove Inn, and Julia Child, who would cook the mussels Michelle and her schoolmates would help gather from the ocean during her frequent visits. She started at Flowers in August 1998 as the Office Manager and created the first winery newsletter for a mailing list of only 300 members. All 150 cases of wine sold out in the first week. Over the years she has worn many hats including grape sorter, weigh master (and so much more) and is now providing exemplary customer service as our Member Concierge. She maintains a deep respect for nature, people and animals and in her spare time you’ll find her outside, usually with an animal or two or three.
Once the wines are bottled, packed and warehoused, Lani ensures they get to their final destination in the USA or some far corner of the globe. While at Flowers she processes Purchase Orders and keeps the wholesale market rolling; but, outside of work, Lani is an accomplished chef, performer, and most of all – a writer. A published author, poet and educator, Lani came out to the Sonoma Coast in order to enjoy the silence and introspective space that will allow her to craft her next work.
Yes, that is a club…. Safety is no small issue at the winery and Wendy wields her safety club during harvest in order to ensure everyone comes through without a scratch. As the Production Liaison, she is responsible for bottling, materials managment, and of course, safety. At home, Wendy is a talented baker (she shares with the team); and when she isn’t pulling loaves from the oven, she enjoys the bright skies and freedom of the open roads of the Sonoma Coast on her motorcycle.
Every organization has that one individual that just keeps the gears working, materials prepared, all things in their place and at the ready. Morgan is so talented at this that once she leaves a room, it hasn’t just been organized, it has been Morganized! In her spare time, instead of crosswords puzzles, you’ll find her working out advanced algebraic equations. She is an avid itunes and podcast listener and will amaze you with her universal knowledge.
DAR BQ and RIZZO TOO
Dar is a native Californian, avid Sharks Hockey fan, part of a garage winemaking team, and a lady who has never met a piece of meat or vegetable she can’t grill. She is a 20 year professional in the accounting and retail management fields and joined the Flowers Team as our Staff Accountant in 2011 ensuring bills are paid and assets are managed. Every day, Dar is joined at the winery by her beloved black labrador, Rizzo, who is adored by all who meet her and often can be found frolicking in the vineyards in search of her tennis ball.
Carmen joined Flowers in 2003. In a small family owned business, we all have to wear many hats during the course of the year and Carmen is no exception. In the early spring she can be seen working in the vineyard at Camp Meeting Ridge to position canes along the vineyard wires. In the fall, during harvest she overseas the sorting tables, assists with harvest lunches and generally keeps things spic and span at the main house where we host private events and dinners.
All great wines depend on fruit quality and that starts in the vineyard. The mission at Flowers is to produce Sonoma Coast wines that express the unique character of our vineyard sites. This requires regular maintenance and loving care in order to coax the vines to deliver beautiful fruit that is perfectly ripe and bursting with flavor with balance in the sugars and acid. Our vineyard team works tirelessly as stewards of the land and shepherds of the vines.
THE UNITED NATIONS
Each year Flowers brings viticulturalists, oenologists, and winemakers from all over the world to intern with us during harvest. In 2013 we have a diverse team with team players coming from around the world.
Beginning on the left of top image: Annemarie (Germany), Gabriela Paz Cabrera (Chile), Lara Paternoster (Italy), Burkhard Schopferer (Germany), Antonio Bunster Zegers (Chile), Theresa Hofmann (Germany)
Beginning on the left of bottom image: Anna Everly (CO), Ty Guarino (MT), Ian Brown (CA), Reid Kinnett (CA/VA), Marci Stoval (GA), Mara Ambrose (Canada/UK), Gianna Fugazi (CA)