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Fun Stuff

Useful and fun things to download!

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.


John Sumners  -  General Manager

Being originally from the Hoosier State, one would expect a propensity for basketball and corn-dogs. But as fate would have it, I instead gravitated toward classical music and fine wine.

After surviving a six-year stint in the cutthroat NYC restaurant business, I set my sights on the West Coast.  Sunny days, foggy nights, exquisite food, and a world of beautiful wines beckoned. I brought my sommelier experience and wine knowledge with me to Napa Valley Winery Exchange. Fortunately for my colleagues and customers, I left the hard-edged attitude back East.


Chandler Pessah  -  Cellar Manager

Born here in San Francisco and a lifetime Bay Area resident, I am a true California Kid. I love the outdoors, fresh air, and sunshine on my face. I am a huge Bay Area sports fan, you can often catch me at any of the sport venues around.

I immediately took my first opportunity to work in the wine industry when I realized I would be called a professional instead of a drunk.

My first stint in the wine industry was up at Whitehall Lane Winery in Saint Helena where I fell head over heels for Napa Valley’s Cabernet (who wouldn’t). Since then I have been exploring and learning about all California wines with aspirations to start my own label. The universe has brought me back to the city by the Bay to continue sharing wines I love with friends and visitors of all kinds.


Yukari Matsuhisa  -  Director of Wine Marketing & Media, Japan


WSET Advanced Certificate、現在Diplomaに在籍。






Yoshinari Suwabe  -  Wine Associate - Japan

諏訪部 佳也