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Rick Jones - General Manager
Certified Specialist of Wine
Haven been born and raised in San Francisco, Rick has spent his entire adult life in the food and wine industry. Having experienced virtually every side of the business over the course of time, beginning with restaurant management and ownership here in the Bay Area. During that time, he’s developed and managed award-winning wine programs, as recognized by Decanter Magazine in 1999, as being in the Top 50 worldwide. With over 12 years as a wine judge in annual wine competitions around the Bay Area, he’s been a contributor to the SF Chronicle’s Panel Tasting Program and the “100 Best of the Year” column. In 2001 he transitioned into the sales and distribution of fine wine, working for local distributors in various capacities and responsibilities.
Rick has found a home at the Napa Valley Winery Exchange where we are fortunate and privileged in leading our team along with some of the very best people in the industry. NVWE has a long history and reputation for providing the finest wines California has to offer at every price level. Culling those wines from the seemingly endless list of weekly samples is a demanding task, but one that everyone at NVWE takes seriously. NVWE continues to be a leader in sale of CA wines, and it’s a tradition and Rick is very proud to be a part of the NVWE family.
Donald Gillette - Senior Wine Specialist
Yes, the rumors are true, I have been selling wine retail since the Flood. My tasting notebooks began accumulating sometime around 1972. People say that my opinions are strong and I confess that I spend little time on the fence. If there is a desert island somewhere, stocked with old Riesling, I shall retire there.
I first began tasting and selling wine in Santa Barbara more than thirty years ago. I liked the job from the beginning and enjoy it even more working in San Francisco. During my first fifteen years in the industry I tasted and sold wines from around the world, learning to appreciate the best examples from Europe's great appellations, while experiencing first hand the explosive growth of our local wine industry. Since 1988 I have sold small production California wines almost exclusively. My first and most important function at NVWE is to taste wine.
I evaluate wine in a straightforward, orderly manner. I first survey impressions of scent, then flavor and it's ability to linger on the palate; then I progress to the wine's mouthfeel and textural impact; this leads to decisions about its varietal accuracy, internal harmony and overall appeal. All these impressions are tallied before I make judgments concerning its value, appropriate drinking times, market demand or appropriateness for our store.
Kristen Leonardini - Wine Sales
I have been raised to enjoy food and wine. I love different varietals and especially like matching them with first courses.
I have been at the Napa Valley Winery Exchange since the day we opened the doors. I have a practical approach to the wine tasting, drinking and buying. I don't look for chemical components in wine or dissect a wine to the point where I can't enjoy it. If a wine is good, I will drink it. If a wine is not so great, well that's another story. One of my favorite times for wine is when I am either cooking, eating or getting together with family. There is a place for wine in everyone's life and I can help you whether you are looking to consume, collect or give wine as a gift.
Heather Schultz - Cellar Manager
I recently relocated to the Bay Area from the Midwest, but I’ve been vacationing in California wine country regularly for the last few years. I decided to leave the corporate world behind and find a new opportunity in wine!
I enjoy a fabulous wine with a great meal…or by itself. I also enjoy learning about new flavors and how to incorporate them into a delicious meal. When I’m not exploring wine and food, I’m discovering San Francisco with my family and taking our dogs for long walks on the beach.
Yukari Matsuhisa - Director of Wine Marketing & Media, Japan
WSET Advanced Certificate、現在Diplomaに在籍。