Wine Rows

Wine Business Institute Board of Directors


Gary Heck

Gary Heck - Board Chairman
President & Owner, F. Korbel & Bros. 
Gary Heck is the owner, President, and Chairman of Korbel Champagne Cellars. Heck was appointed as the President in 1982 and has continued the legacy of his father, Korbel's previous owner. Heck grew up in the champagne-making business and now produces the leading premium champagne in this country. Learn more about Gary Heck.

Caroline BaileyCaroline Coleman Bailey - Board President
E & J Gallo Winery
Caroline Coleman Bailey is a third generation member of the Gallo family and her experience within the company includes public relations, corporate and brand communications, as well as marketing and sales. She has served as the lead spokesperson for the Gallo Family. Learn more about Caroline Bailey.


Kaj AhllmannKaj Ahlmann

Proprietor, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery
In 2000, Kaj Ahlmann and his wife purchased a 4,300 acre ranch in Lake County and named it Six Sigma Ranch. The release of the first wine under the label, Six Sigma Ranch, was celebrated in 2006. Kaj Ahlmann applies the Six Sigma methods on this ranch in both the grape growing and winemaking processes, and continuously monitors and refines data at each stage. Learn more about Kaj Ahlmann.

 Tom BonomiTom Bonomi
President & CFO, Classic Wines
Tom Bonomi is the President and the Chief Financial Officer of Classic Wines LLC.  Tom and Bill Price established Classic Wines in 2007.  Classic Wines and its affiliates own interests in several wine companies including Buccella, Gary Farrell, Kistler Vineyards, LUTUM and Three Sticks.  Independent from the wine companies, Classic Wines and its affiliates own 300 planted acres and 6 vineyard properties including Durell Vineyards and Gap's Crown Vineyard.  Prior to joining Classic Wines, Tom was a Managing Director with Global Wine Partners.  Tom started his career with KPMG.  Tom currently serves on the Pride Mountain Vineyards Board of Managers and Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute Board of Directors. Learn more about Tom Bonomi. 

Chris BurtChris Burt
Vice President, Director West Division, Brown-Forman
Chris is the VP Managing Director for Brown-Forman, responsible for sales and marketing execution within the Western United States. Chris has been with Brown-Forman since 1985. Brown-Forman is a family owned publicly traded corporation that owns the Sonoma Cutrer Winery and the Jack Daniel's Distillery, and has sold Korbel Champagne for the the Heck family since the late 1950s. Chris is a 1985 graduate from Sonoma State University, has an MBA from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate from the UCLA Anderson Executive Program in Management. 
Learn more.


Roy CecchettiRoy E. Cecchetti
President & CEO, Cecchetti Wine Company
Cecchetti Wine Company marks Roy Cecchetti's second time founding a California wine brand. He also co-founded Cecchetti Sebastiani Cellar with his brother-in-law Don Sebastiani. The company grew to become one of the fastest growing California wineries. Learn more about Roy Cecchetti.



Perry DeLucaPerry DeLuca
Senior VP and Team Leader, Wine, Food and Beverage, Wells Fargo
Perry DeLuca is a a 10-year veteran of wine industry finance.
He is currently the industry head and team leader for the Wine, Food & Beverage group in Wells Fargo's Santa Rosa-based North Coast Commercial Lending Office. Learn more about Perry DeLuca.

Erik GreenyErik Greeny
Vice President of University Development, Sonoma State University
Erik Greeny has 11 years of development experience in the higher education sector. Learn more about Erik Greeny.


Steve GrossSteve Gross
Director of State Relations, The Wine Institute
Steve Gross is Director of State Relations at Wine Institute, where he has been employed since 1986.  Steve's duties entail overseeing the activities of Wine Institute's six State Relations Regional Counsels and Regional Managers as they address state legislation affecting the wine industry, as well as coordinating Wine Institute's legislative and regulatory activities with staff, contract lobbyists and member wineries. Learn more about Steve Gross.


dan_grunbeck.jpgDan Grunbeck
Executive Vice President, Client Services and Business Development, Young's Market Company
Dan Grunbeck is a 26-year veteran of the wine and spirits industry and serves as Executive Vice President of Client Services and Business Development at Young's Market Company. Young's is a 127-year-old family-owned company and one of the largest beverage distributors in the United States. At Young's, Dan leads a team dedicated to developing strong business relationships with client/supplier partners. Prior to joining Young's in 2009, Dan led national sales for Pernod Ricard, William Grant & Sons Distillers, and Seagram Chateau & Estates. Learn more about Dan Grunbeck.


George Hamel IIIGeorge Hamel, III
Managing Director, Hamel Family Wines
George has overseen the financial, sales and business operations of Hamel Family Wines since 2011, although he has been actively involved in his family business for 30 years. Prior to joining his family business, George was Financial Advisor with the Private Wealth Management group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New York City and Palm Beach. Learn more about George Hamel III.


Ray JohnsonRay Johnson
Director, SSU Wine Business Institute




Walt KlenzWalt Klenz
Vice Chairman, The Vincraft Group
Walt Klenz began his California wine industry career in 1973. In 1976, he was named Director of Marketing at Beringer Vineyards. Klenz held a number of senior marketing, financial and operations positions at Beringer until his appointment in 1990 as President. After Beringer was sold to Foster's Group in 2000, he headed Foster's global wine business. Klenz served on the Advisory Board of ASC Fine Wines from 2008 to 2010 and also serves on the Board of Directors of J. Lohr Winery and Columbia Sportswear Company. He is a past President of Napa Valley Vintners and a past Chairman of the Wine Institute.  Learn more about Walt Klenz.


Ed LeMayEd LeMay
Senior Vice President of Marketing Services, Constellation Brands
With over 30 years of experience in the wine industry, Ed has a reputation for using his background in change management to transform organizations.  In his current role, he develops and oversees critical "Centers of Excellence", including Strategic & Consumer Insights, Wine Education and Digital Marketing. Ed also oversees several other support and shared services functions including Trade Marketing & Promotions, Creative Services, Brand PR, Retail Operations, Visitor Centers and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing. Learn more about Ed LeMay.


Erle MartinErle Martin
Former President & CEO, Crimson Wine Group
Erle Martin is a wine industry executive with over 25 years of experience consistently delivering outsized results through expertise in leadership, strategy, and skillful management. Erle has a demonstrated ability to recruit and build strong teams, and in turn, galvanize their focus on the organizational goals and objectives resulting in exceptional performance. He turned both the Coppola and Crimson Wine Group entities from small and unprofitable businesses into industry leaders with combined topline growth exceeding 5X during his tenture. During his tenure at Crimson Wine Group, he took the company public in 2013, which consistently traded at a premium to book value, improving shareholder value. Erle has served as President of the Stag's Leap District Winegrowers Association, and has been active on several Napa Valley Vintners committees. Learn more about Erle Martin.

Robert MerlettiRobert Merletti
Publisher/CEO, Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine, Vineyard & Winery Services, Inc.
Robert Merletti is the owner and Chairman of Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine. Vineyard and Winery Management has become one of the largest wine industry trade shows in the nation. The magazine has given Robert Merletti an exclusive perspective on the industry as a whole. Learn more about Robert Merletti.



Frederick PierceFrederick W. Pierce IV
President & CEO, Pierce Education Properties, L.P.; Trustee Emeritus, The California State University
Frederick W. Pierce IV is the President and CEO of Pierce Education Properties, a San Diego-based owner, manager and developer of student housing and education-based real estate. Learn more about Fred Pierce.


Ron RubinRon Rubin

Owner, River Road Family Vineyards & Winery, and CEO of The Republic of Tea
Ron Rubin is dedicated to enriching people's lives through premium teas, education and innovation - emphasizing a "Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp" lifestyle. Rubin is also the owner of the River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, a small-production winery located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley American Viticulture Area located in Sonoma County, California. Learn more about Ron Rubin.


Alex Ryan

Alex Ryan
President & Chief Executive Officer of Duckhorn Wine Company
Since 1988, Alex Ryan's visionary leadership has been instrumental in establishing and growing Duckhorn Wine Company. During his tenure, Duckhorn has grown into one of the most highly respected and fastest-growing luxury wine companies in the industry. Alex started at Duckhorn as the vineyard manager, was made general manager and chief operations officer in 2000, and promoted to President in 2005, earning him a reputation as a "winemakers president", known for his commitment to quality from grape to glass. At the same time, Alex's leadership has established excellence in every area, from the vineyards to operations, sales and marketing. Learn more about Alex Ryan.

William SilverWilliam Silver
Dean, Sonoma State's School of Business & Economics 




Stephen SterlingStephen Sterling
Vice President of Marketing & Sales, Esterlina Vineyards and Everett Ridge Winery
Stephen Sterling comes from generations of winemakers who believe in quality over quantity. Stephen is a senior executive with demonstrated track record of delivvering outstanding results in startup companies and in mature industries by using data analytics and business experience to devleop untapped/ignored market opportunities. He has extensive B2B experience  Learn more about Stephen Sterling.


Barbara TalbottBarbara Talbott
CEO, GlenLarkin
Barbara Talbott is former Chief Marketing Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. From 1989-2008 she led the effort which introduced Four Seasons to more than 30 new global markets and built a brand that is widely recognized as one of the world's most valued. In 2009 she founded GlenLarkin, where she advises CEOs and senior teams in hospitality and related industries. Working with them, she helps create competitive advantage through effective marketing and excellence in customer experience. Barbara began her business career at McKinsey & Co. Author of "The Power of Personal Service," she has received HSMAI's lifetime achievement award for marketing innovation. Learn more about Barbara Talbott.

Douglas ThornleyDouglas Thornley
Principal, Gould Evans | Baum Thornley Inc.
Douglas Thornley has an extensive background in architectural practice and education. A bay area native, Thornley has a special interest in built form within the urban context. Learn more about Douglas Thornley.


John YandellJohn Yandell
CEO, Yandell Truckaway, Inc. 
John Yandell started his tenure at Yandell Truckaway Inc. but eventually took over as President. While at Yandell Truckaway, he also founded Santa Clara Warehouses, Inc. John has become extremely active in the wine industry, serving a 20 year term as Chairman of the Wine Institute's Associate Members. Learn more about John Yandell.


Contact SBE
Contact SSU
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics. Reach.
1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928 • 707-664-2377