Our Board

Denise-Trione-Hicks
Denise Trione Hicks

AVWG PRESIDENT
Owner & Director of Sales/Marketing

Trione Vineyards and Winery

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Denise was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California and attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where she pursued a degree in Business Administration, earning her degree from the university’s College of Business in 2000.

The Trione family has a rich history in the Sonoma County wine industry as grape growers for 40+ years and winery owners. When Denise graduated from college, her family sold Geyser Peak winery which they owned from 1980-1998, but Denise wasn’t finished with the wine business, and dreamed of forging her own opportunities in the wine industry. In 2008, together with her dad Mark, uncle Vic and winemaker Scot Covington, she opened Trione Winery.

Jim Rickards

AVWG VICE PRESIDENT
Owner
J. Rickards Vineyards & Winery

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Jim Rickards has been growing some darn fine wine grapes in northern Alexander Valley since 1976. A full-time ICU nurse at the time (a job he’s now retired from after 50 years), Jim built his vineyard operation from the ground up, growing his own food, building his own house, and making sure his tractor always had working headlights for farming at night.

Jim was old-school before old-school became hip. He’s used environmentally sustainable vineyard practices from the get-go, and he and his highly skilled, small vineyard crew have hand-grafted every one of the 54,000+ vines on his property. Together, they grow some of Sonoma County’s most outstanding crops of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petite Sirah – to name just a few.

A farmer first and foremost, Jim still sells half of his fruit but expanded his operation in 2005 to include J. Rickards Winery. His passion for grape growing shines in his handcrafted, small-lot wines, stunning representations of varietal style and unique reflections of the diverse soils and varying microclimates of their vineyards.

Alice Sutro in the vineyard
Alice Warnecke Sutro

AVWG SECRETARY
Owner / Founder
SUTRO

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Alice Warnecke Sutro is an artist, writer, and wine producer. She founded the wine label SUTRO in 2012 and manages all aspects of the business. She is also proud to be a part of her family business: Warnecke Ranch & Vineyard, where she sources premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc for her own label. Warnecke Ranch is an amazing family owned and operated business since 1911 situated on the Russian River in Sonoma County.

Dwight Monson

AVWG TREASURER
Partner

Monson Vineyards

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Dwight has been on the Board since 2006 and the Treasurer since 2007.  He is the third generation of his family to be engaged in farming and ranching on the family ranch in the hills at the south end of Geysers Road. 

In the mid-1950s, the Monson family started a cattle operation and small orchard on their 240 acre ranch, and began converting their hillside pasture land to cabernet and merlot grapes in the early 1980s.  Dwight’s brothers Arch and Jay, his wife Kathy, and two younger generations, live on the family ranch and are involved in its operation.  Dwight has also been a practicing lawyer for more than 35 years.

Jake-Hawkes
Jake Hawkes

Proprietor
Hawkes Wine

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Jacob Hawkes is a bald man in his late forties. He wears glasses and a beard and has a sort of athlete-gone-to-seed figure. He was born and raised on the farm on Chalk Hill Road, where his mother and father still live.

Jake never thought he would make wine for a living. His greatest aspiration was the same as every other child in America: to live anywhere but here. To that end, he left home and bumped around from place to place starting at the age of seventeen. His occupations were various. A construction worker in Rodarte, New Mexico, nightclub doorman in New York, woodchopper in California, grape-picker in Australia, alcoholic in Mexico, metal worker in Oakland, English teacher in San Marcos, Texas, but one common thread ran through all of this: wherever Jake went, he failed. And, when he failed, he came home and worked in the vineyard.

Today, Jake has resigned himself to permanent failure. He will not be this country’s first African American president. For one thing, he’s not African American. The upside is, to his great surprise, he loves what he does at Hawkes. He believes the wines are splendid. In his dreams, he wanders alone on the landscape of great American Cabernet, listening to the wind blow on the stripped branches of the birch trees and looking out on the scorched and empty plain. “I will make great Cabernet for our time”, he shouts into the emptiness. “Pipe down,” his wife says, “You’ll wake the baby.”

Mark-Houser
Mark C. Houser

Director

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Mark is a 1980 Fresno State graduate in Viticulture, and has worked in the San Joaquin Valley, Napa Valley and Alexander Valley. His knowledge in the vineyards began as a Viticulturist, to Vineyard Manager, and Director of Grower Relations for both vineyard management companies and premium wineries. Since 1999, Mark has been the Vineyard Manager of one of Alexander Valley’s oldest winegrowing and winemaking families – the Wetzel and Green family. He is a believer in protecting the complex natural environment while growing the best grapes possible, Mark’s philosophy is both practical and ecologically sensitive.

“I love this business. I’ve made it my life. And when I die, they will have to pry that half-bottle of Cabernet from my grape-stained hands.”

Isaul Macías Jr

Hoot Owl Creek Vineyard
Alexander Valley Vineyards

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I was born and raised in the beautiful Alexander Valley. My father is to blame for me being in the grape growing industry, which I love and wouldn’t have it any other way. From a young kid getting out of Alexander Valley Elementary school and seeing the crews still picking grapes, I always wanted to be with my dad and the guys out in the vineyard. So, I spent my summers working in the vineyard doing anything from irrigation repairs to leaf pulling and suckering. I just knew this was where I wanted to be. Alexander Valley is my home, and I want to see this valley flourish.

In the mid-’90s, my mother, I, and two sisters lived in Mexico for two years. We went to school there at a private catholic school, and this is where I lived the Mexican culture, learned the language, and immersed myself in my heritage. It is here that I perfected my Spanish speaking, writing, and reading skills, which I believe allows for greater understanding and camaraderie within the Hispanic community.

I learned vineyard management from two of the Valleys’ great grape-growing families, the Greens and the Wetzel’s, and I’ll be forever grateful for their careful cultivation of my skills.

Growing grapes and working side by side with my father (who has been here at Hoot Owl Green Vineyards and Alexander Valley Vineyards since 1972) brings me great joy!

Dustin Moilanen

Founder
Acta Winery and Vineyards

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Dustin comes to the Alexander Valley having worked in wine production, sales and education nearly 20 years. In the Spring of 2021 he founded Acta Winery, Estate Vineyards and Farm on Highway 128 in Alexander Valley where he runs the day to day operations of the winery and oversees the farming of the estate vineyards and olive orchard. Acta produces small lots of quality driven wine, sourcing fruit from a number of small vineyards to accomplish this. Prior to Acta Wine, Dustin most recently spent over a decade as an employee of ZD Wines, working closely with the deLeuze family, and was involved and instrumental in the origin, vision, and then production of the Crush Challenge fundraising event, which is the primary funding mechanism for the deLeuze Family Charitable Foundation. The DFCF provides funding and resources to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to further the pursuit for non-toxic cures for Lymphoma and Dustin is proud and honored to serve on the Board of Directors for the foundation.  He’s involved in numerous other charity-based events from California to Florida, a passion he accredits to the many members of his family that have served in careers as public educators. Dustin is married to Leigh and is the father of Peyton (10), Reid (8) and Skylar (5). It is a family affair at Acta, and long days of work, overnights at the vineyard and an ever-growing appreciation for the land have been the status quo for the Moilanen Family as they rehabilitate, reinvent and invigorate the 16 acres that is Acta.  A University of Minnesota Alumni and Midwest transplant to California wine country, the “home away from home” for his family is Lake Tahoe for hiking, biking and days spent on the water.

Doug-Price
Doug Price

Grower Relations Manager
Constellation Wines

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Doug Price grew up near Rutherford in the eastern hills of the Vaca range, working the family hillside vineyard and olive orchards in Napa Valley. This is where he developed a passion for all things hillside, vines, porcinis and back packing trips to the high Sierra.

A Napa refugee with stretches at Joseph Phelps Vineyards and Domaine Chandon, college in Incline Village, travel throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America, he settled in Healdsburg. After years of growing wine grapes in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino he shifted that experience to the role of Grower Relations Manager for Constellation Wines, sourcing grapes from Alexander Valley growers to fill the must lines of Simi, Clos Du Bois and Ravenswood.

“Alexander Valley offers so many opportunities for grape sourcing, from double black diamond hillside Cabernet to luscious volcanic bench Old Vine Zinfandel, my job is a walk in the park, everyday.”

Ryan Stapleton

Sr. Grower Relations Manager
Delicato Family Wines

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Ryan is the Senior Grower Relations Manager for Delicato Family wines where he works alongside 200 growers throughout the state of California purchasing grapes to make wines under the Francis Ford Coppola Winery label.  He also oversees the 75 acres of premium estate vineyards in Sonoma County.

Previously Ryan worked at Allied Grape Growers where he was the North Coast Grower Relations Representative where he managed the sales of grapes in Sonoma and Mendocino County.

Ryan graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management with a concentration in Leadership and Entrepreneurship.  Ryan moved back to Sonoma County in 2009 and experienced his first harvest at Francis Ford Coppola Winery as a sugar sampler, he soon enrolled in Santa Rosa Junior College to earn his degree in Viticulture.

When Ryan is not traveling the state of California for work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jamie, and Seven-year-old daughter, Quinn and 19-Month-old Son, Luka. He is also an active member of the Santa Rosa Junior College Viticulture Advisory Board and currently a fellow with California Ag Leadership representing class 51.

Robert Young II

Hospitality Lead
Robert Young Estate Winery

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Born and Raised in Alexander Valley, Robert Young II is part of the fifth generation of the Robert Young Family. His roots run deep with his ancestors first settling in Alexander Valley in 1858. His grandfather, Robert Young was a pioneer in grape growing being the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in the valley in 1963 and later developing a proprietary Chardonnay clone, Robert Young Clone 17.

Robert grew up living and working in the family business. As a child, he worked in the vineyard and visioned himself staying in the family business. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College, transferred to Sonoma State University, and graduated in 2019 with a BA in Wine Business. He is now the Hospitality Lead at the family’s tasting venue and carrying on the family legacy.