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Wheeler Farms

Team

Winemaking

Sarah Donley
Production Manager/Winemaker


"Wheeler Farms' winery is a functional and beautiful place to make wine in. I often refer to it as 'a winemaker's dream,' and it's truly as close as our clients can get to having their own winery. The commitment we uphold to the services we offer helps to create an outstanding winemaking environment. Our collaboration with our winemaking partners is seamless."

 

Nigel Kinsman
Consulting Enologist


"Using my familiarity with advanced winemaking technology, we employed state-of-the-art design, equipment, and monitoring systems when building the Wheeler Farms winery, ensuring no barriers to excellence in the winemaking process. The winery is spacious, calm, efficient, and purposeful. Elite winemakers choose Wheeler to make their ultra-premium wines and experience precision at every level, even down to the valves."

Cesar Sandoval
Cellar Master


"The design of the winery functions extremely well. The amazing equipment can do the work of many people, which allows us more time to efficiently get the important tasks done. The optical sorter is my new favorite technology. Wheeler Farms is an outstanding project for our family of luxury wine brands."


Hospitality


Photo by Adrián Gregorutti

David Schulze

Director of Hospitality


David Schulze’s focus and top priority while working in hospitality for over ten years is delivering a perfect guest experience with his team. His wine industry career began at Elizabeth Spencer Wines in Rutherford as a part-time sales associate for two years before joining the team at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in St. Helena, managing daily operations in the tasting room, developing new guest experiences and helping to launch the culinary program in 2017.

David was excited to join the Wheeler Farms team and reconnect with his love for Napa Valley in a new setting and at a new property. He enjoys the challenge of building a complete hospitality program from the foundation and is currently developing a wine club for Wheeler Farms, expanding culinary options and working with his team to fine-tune their hospitality offerings. David notes Daphne and Bart Araujo’s passion for the Wheeler Farms property and its deep history as one of the many reasons he enjoys working here. “Their vision for agriculture and land stewardship play a role in everything we do here, and that is extremely important to me in my work,” he says. If you can’t find him in the Hospitality House, check outside by the beehive!

David was raised in Wisconsin (he likes winter so much better here!) and loves cycling. You just might spot him pedaling his way around the Valley, even in our cooler months!

Elisabeth Russell

Culinary & Garden Coordinator 


Elisabeth Russell’s journey into the world of all things culinary was inspired by her grandmother’s Lithuanian cooking, her mother’s gardens and her father’s spirit of adventure. 

Obtaining a degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Elisabeth returned home to work for the Manchester Grand Hyatt, a 2000 room hotel, where she learned everything she could about the hospitality industry. In 2010, Elisabeth was invited to assist in opening Iron Chef Morimoto’s new venture in Napa. She then went on to open two other Morimoto locations in Hawaii and Mexico City. 

Her wanderlust ignited, Elisabeth went on to Australia, New Zealand, Columbia, Cuba and Central America in pursuit of her culinary passions.  She is now happily planted in her “Garden of Eden,” Napa, and is at the forefront of the farm to table movement.  There is no better place on earth for her to continue to develop and share her already extensive knowledge of growing and harvesting herbs, vegetables, fruits, flowers and grapes, turning them all into memorable experiences of food and wine shared with family and friends. 

Desireé Rigdon

Events Manager


Desireé Rigdon has worked as an Event Planner in the Napa Valley for over 15 years creating events for high-end weddings, wineries, corporate, social occasions and private employers. She has strong communication skills geared towards both event leadership and providing outstanding customer service. Not only is she an excellent planner, but she is also passionate about her clients and vendors while building meaningful relationships. Desiree is an active member of Wine Country Event Professionals, received her WSET Level 1 Award and studied Interior Design in college.  

Desireé currently resides in Napa Valley with her husband and two fur babies. She was born and raised in Laguna Beach but came to the valley to pursue more knowledge in the hospitality and wine industry. She is passionate about her family and her community and also loves being active either running a race, skiing or hiking.

Joining the Wheeler Farms team has been an absolute thrill for her. She looks forward to making the events department a tremendous success with her energy, positivity, organizational skills and creative imagination.