Meet Our Team

Taylor Martin

Managing Partner

College Station, TX

taylor@italicswinegrowers.com

Taylor Martin

College Station, TX

taylor@italicswinegrowers.com

An alumnus of Texas A&M University, Taylor Martin left a career in national produce logistics management and relocated to the Napa Valley with his wife, Sara, to take on the role of Managing Partner for his family’s new business venture in Coombsville, Italics Winegrowers. Bringing with him a keen understanding of logistics, team management, farming and agriculture business practices, Taylor has been pivotal in the opening Italics Winegrowers. In addition to his role as Managing Partner, you can find Taylor on the road a few months a year, but when home he is usually hanging out in Coombsville with his wife and daughter, Aubrey.

Sara Martin

Director of Accounting & Administration

Cary, NC

sara@italicswinegrowers.com

Sara Martin

Cary, NC

sara@italicswinegrowers.com

Sara is from Cary, North Carolina and attended Appalachian State University majoring in Healthcare Management. After meeting her husband, Taylor Martin, in Charlotte, NC they decided to move to Dallas so Taylor could pursue a position in global produce logistics. It was living in Dallas that they received the opportunity of a life time. Little did she know, that would lead her to Napa, California as the Director of Accounting and Administration where her attention to detail and organization have been instrumental in the launch of Italics Winegrowers. Sara and Taylor live the vineyard life with their daughter Aubrey and dog Gambit.

Marbue Marke

Director of Winegrowing

Freetown, Sierra Leone

marbue@italicswinegrowers.com

Marbue Marke

Freetown, Sierra Leone

marbue@italicswinegrowers.com

After starting a pre-med program at UC Davis, shifting directions and taking a winemaking internship, Marbue received his degrees and began his winemaking journey. Bringing with him experience from an impressive selection of Napa and Sonoma’s famed wineries - J Winery, Cosentino, Benzinger, and industry giant, EJ Gallo, Marbue was named Bonfort’s 2018 U.S. Winemaker of the Year for his modestly sized but impressive portfolio of hand-crafted boutique wines. If you ask him, the culmination of these experiences together lead him right where he was meant to be: crafting small lot, ultra-premium wine. He brings an extensive knowledge of Coombsville’ s unique terroir and a track record of producing a beautiful and a well-balanced portfolio of wines.

Natalie Boltz

Director of Operations

Benicia, CA

natalie@italicswinegrowers.com

Natalie Boltz

Benicia, CA

natalie@italicswinegrowers.com

Natalie is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California, 14-year wine industry veteran and Director of Operations for Italics Winegrowers. Starting out as a ‘Girl Friday’ at [the then little known] Alpha Omega she moved on to assist in the opening of Dario Sattui’s Castello di Amorosa before taking on the role of General Manager at Reynolds Family Winery and finding her way to be one of the original team members and very hands on in the opening of Italics Winegrowers. In addition to her role as Director of Operations, you can find Natalie on the road a few months a year, but when home she is usually hanging out with her boyfriend Mark in their hometown of Benicia.

John Trant

Director of Brand Development

Hudson, NH

john@italicswinegrowers.com

John Trant

Hudson, NH

john@italicswinegrowers.com

John brings nearly 12 years of wine industry experience after graduating with a B.A. degree in Hospitality Business. With three years in restaurant service, wine list management, wine education followed by nine years dedicated to Hospitality and Business development in both the Napa and Sonoma. Working with small startups, larger wine corporations, classic household brands and new producers, John brings a unique eye for brand management to the table. Relocating to St. Louis, Missouri in early 2019 John will be taking on the bulk of the National Sales duties for Italics Winegrowers. When home, you’ll usually find John in the kitchen or in-front of the television, he is self-described as a foodie, avid sports enthusiast and movie buff.

Jeff Warren

Director of Hospitality

Nolensville, TN

jeff@italicswinegrowers.com

Jeff Warren

Nolensville, TN

jeff@italicswinegrowers.com

Jeff brings nearly two decades of stellar hospitality experience to Italics team. After spending 14 years in fine dining at some of the hottest restaurants in Nashville, Miami and Sacramento, Jeff’s passion for wine brought him to Napa Valley in 2015. It was in the Napa Valley that Jeff polished his wine knowledge and has helped build hospitality dream teams. In addition to his role as Director of Hospitality for Italics Winegrowers you can find Jeff on the road a few weeks a year hosting wine dinners, in home or curated tasting events. When home he enjoys golfing, playing nearly any sport, cracking jokes in the caves, or entertaining friends with his wife Courtney and their dog Amadeus.

David Gunkle

Estate Host

Raleigh, NC

david@italicswinegrowers.com

David Gunkle

Raleigh, NC

david@italicswinegrowers.com

David was introduced to wine while working in restaurants throughout college. The complex relationship between grapevines and their growing conditions influenced David to pursue a degree in Geology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. After college David worked for his family company before taking a job at a wine store in Raleigh, where he would grow to manage the fine wine department and teach wine classes. In 2018 David took a leap of faith and relocated to join the Italics team, moved across country with his wife and they now live in Napa with their 2 dogs. When he doesn’t have a glass in his hand, David is an avid Braves baseball fan and enjoys sneaking up to Tahoe with his snowboard in the winter.

Victoria Stewart

VIP Client and Operations Manager

Westport, CT

victoria@italicswinegrowers.com

Victoria Stewart

Westport, CT

victoria@italicswinegrowers.com

Tori joins us from the East Coast, born and raised in Westport, Connecticut. She studied Hospitality Business and Italian Language at both Michigan State University and the University of South Florida. On her first vacation to California, she was hired and started her career in wine. She furthered her education by earning a Wine Marketing & Sales Certificate from Napa Valley College. The next phase of her wine journey brought her to Italics Winegrowers, starting off as an administrative role and then taking on more responsibility as VIP Client and Operations Manager. Her appreciation for fine food, traveling, art and loving her rabbit, Olive, keep her busy when she isn’t working.

Jennifer Williams

Operations Admin

Napa, CA

jennifer@italicswinegrowers.com

Jennifer Williams

Napa, CA

jennifer@italicswinegrowers.com

Our only Napa native on the roster, Jennifer has watched the Napa we know today transform from a small town into a globally sought-out tourist destination. Bringing with her over 15 years’ experience on the administrative side of the business, she brings an extensive background and proven success in project management, logistics management, and customer service to the Operations Team. When she is not at Italics she can be found at the baseball field, a country concert, or on an outdoor adventure with her twin boys.

Arturo Irucuta

President - Irucuta V. Farming

Indaparapeo, Mexico

arturo@ivfarming.com

Arturo Irucuta

Indaparapeo, Mexico

arturo@ivfarming.com

Arturo is arguably one of the most diverse individuals you will meet around our property. Arturo left home in Indaparapeo, Michoacan, Mexico when he was 17 with the intention of traveling the world but got caught up in every child’s dream of being a professional athlete. While semi-professional soccer did not prove to be the long-term path that would become Arturo’s story, he still plays locally in a variety of leagues. In 1987 Arturo followed his father, who had relocated to Napa just after the famed Judgement of Paris, and began his own career in the up and coming growing region. For over 30 years Arturo has built a name for himself in not only the vineyards but in winemaking as well. Working for some of the blue bloods in the Valley, Arturo started in the vineyards at Luna and worked his way up to Assistant Winemaker, then on to S. Anderson [now Clif Lede], Reynolds Family Winery and in 2016 launched his very own Vineyard Management Company and the rest is history. Today Irucuta Vineyard Farming manages close to 100 acres in the Napa Valley.

Hillary Cole

Estate Host, Guest Experience Manager

Houston, Texas

hillary@italicswinegrowers.com

Hillary Cole

Houston, Texas

hillary@italicswinegrowers.com

Hillary started out as a military linguist and counter-terrorism analyst in the Washington, DC area, during which time she also had the opportunity to visit vineyards in Italy fairly regularly. The serenity and romance of the vineyards were a stark contrast to her Intelligence career and she felt at home every time she stepped foot on one. After leaving the Intelligence field, she moved to Sacramento to learn how to fly fixed-wing aircraft. She intended to be here for two years and then to fly airlifts in Africa, but gravitated instead to the wine industry via restaurant management as the General Manager and Sommelier for three Sacramento-area restaurant groups after finishing her MBA studies and Intro Sommelier exam. Her final position on the restaurant side of wine was running the wine program at Ella Dining Room and Bar in Sacramento. Hillary is a French Wine Scholar, WSET 3 candidate, and Champagne Master candidate, and Napa Wine Expert and is very excited to have an opportunity to continue learning about agriculture while putting her past experiences to practical use with Italics Winegrowers.

Bryan Upton

Assistant Winemaker

bryan@italicswinegrowers.com

Bryan Upton

Assistant Winemaker

bryan@italicswinegrowers.com

Bryan’s start in the wine industry was unforeseen...after graduating with an B.S. in Agribusiness degree in 2008 from Arizona State University, Bryan made the career defining decision to forego offers from agribusiness firms, pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker, and accepted a job as a cellar intern at a custom crush facility in the Napa Valley. From there, Bryan joined the team and Honig Vineyard and Winery in 2013 as Production Assistant, and became Enologist in 2017. Eager to expand his knowledge in crafting premium Napa Valley wine, Bryan joined the Italics team in 2019. Bryan lives in Napa with his wife Greta, their son Russell, and dog Fritz.

Kat Varela

Estate Host, Guest Experience Manager

kat@italicswinegrowers.com

Kat Varela

Estate Host, Guest Experience Manager

kat@italicswinegrowers.com

Kat was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she completed her undergraduate studies at Florida International University, earning a degree in International Business and Green Management with a minor in Hospitality, at Florida International University. Upon graduating, Kat dove into restaurant management and, in 2013, moved to California. As a restaurant manager, Kat worked in both Sacramento and Los Angeles. In 2018, Kat was accepted into a masters program for Wine and Spirits Management in Bordeaux, France, taking her dog Fiona with her. While in Bordeaux, in addition to studying, Kat earned her certification in WSET Level 3 and navigated the ins and outs of the wine industry in France. After completing her masters, Kat hoped to move from one capital of wine to the next so she came back to California and came to work at Italics. When Kat isn't immersed in the world of wine, she is taking Fiona on a hike, practicing yoga, or learning to play the piano.

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