Our Board

Rick Toyota

AVWG PRESIDENT
Vice President, Direct to Consumer

The Family Coppola

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Raised in Southern California, Rick graduated from UCLA with a BA in Communications. He has worked in sales and operations management for companies like The Walt Disney Company, Sony Entertainment and Bloomingdales before entering the wine business.  Rick first started working for Robert Mondavi and has since worked for other wine companies in the Santa Cruz Mountain, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara wine regions of California, the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Woodinville and Columbia Valley wine region in Washington. He is now the Vice President for Direct to Consumer operations for The Family Coppola, which includes the Francis Ford Coppola and Virginia Dare wineries in Geyserville, and Domaine de Broglie in the Dundee Hills of Oregon.

Rick recently concluded his tenure with Advisory Board for Creative Sonoma, which is affiliated with the Economic Development Board of Sonoma County. Creative Sonoma provides programs and services to assist and promote the arts and creative businesses and communities in the county.

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.

Denise-Trione-Hicks
Denise Trione Hicks

AVWG SECRETARY
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.

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 early forties. He was born and raised in alexander valley and started making wine in high school in glass demi johns and drinking it down by the river. He spent his twenties moving around, doing odd jobs and living in motels, coming home to work harvests when he went broke. He moved back here permanently about ten years ago to make wine with his dad. His family has been farming Cabernet in Alexander Valley since 1972.

Mark-Houser
Mark C. Houser

Vineyard Manager
HOCV-AVV Joint Venture

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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!

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.”

Alice Sutro in the vineyard
Alice Warnecke Sutro

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.

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.