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Thank you to Everyone Who Attended! 

Wine and Words, the event name, in decorative fonts

FEATURING FOUR SPECIAL WINEMAKERS

Thanks to all who joined in this lively and intimate evening on May 16, 2024

to meet St. Helena winemakers who shared their stories and prized wines, 

all in support of our library.

Friends & Foundation Board of Directors and Staff

also sincerely thank 

Chris Jones

Scott Mangelson and Heidi Bamburg

Melinda Kearney

Lars Bjorkman

JCB Collection for a taste of crémant de Bourgogne

And a toast goes to the event committee and its chair, Zia Wesley

Christopher Jones stands between wine barrels

Chris Jones
Claudio Family Cellars, St. Helena

Pouring 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder

Beginning with home winemaking in 1998, Chris’ journey led to professional winemaking, three years later, in Santa Rosa as a harvest cellar worker at Gravity Wine House. An internship with Sojourn Cellars followed the next year. Chris also processed the 2021 and 2022 wines for the Claudio Family Cellars label.

During this time hands on experience and mentoring was augmented with chemistry and winemaking courses taken through the University of California, Davis, extension program in Viticulture and Enology.

With an increase in varieties and quantities to process for the 2023 harvest, Chris will apply all of his efforts to winemaking operations for the Claudio Family cellars label. The winemaking operation has moved to Auburn James Winery, located in St. Helena.

Scott Mangelson
Night Wines, St. Helena

Pouring 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

Spring Mountain

After moving to the Napa Valley 20 years ago, the culture of food and winemaking drew Scott back towards his roots. Having grown up on his family’s dairy farm and orchards, his love of nature’s goodness runs deep. With a strong passion for food and wine, and a degree in microbiology, a wine-making adventure was inevitable. Making world class wines has been one of Scott’s “most invigorating endeavors,” and 15 years of experience is now producing award-winning wines, consistently rated 90+ points. Scott and wife Heidi own the elegant and intimate Saint Wine Bar on Main Street in Saint Helena, where you can taste one hundred wines from around the world.

Scott Mangelson and Heidi Bamburg greeting one another
Melinda Kearney in a vineyard, holding a glass of wine

Melinda Kearney
Lorenza Wine, St. Helena

Pouring 2022 Bechthold Vineyard Mokelumne River-Lodi Cinsaut  

Raised in a big family in Boulder, CO, Melinda worked in the restaurant industry and loved to cook. In 1988, she and her then husband moved to the Napa Valley. During dinner one night at Mustards Grill, Melinda met a vineyard owner who offered her a job as Director of Operations for a small winery with something of a "hippie" label. In that role, she learned the business, doing everything from inoculating Chardonnay and fermenting Pinot Noir to sales and marketing. She quickly discovered a love for everything about the wine industry, specially the kinetic energy and being able to build on things. 

 

In 1992, while they were in their growth phase, Melinda took on the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Frog's Leap Winery. She appreciated their lean, elegant, European style of making wines suitable to accompany foods, and remained a part of that growth for 10 years, even building markets in Europe and Japan.

Ten years later, in 2002, Melinda launched Melinda Kearney Wine Marketing, working with a number of top Napa Valley brands, such as Long Meadow Ranch, Altamura Vineyards, Wolf Family, BRAND Napa Valley, Evening Land, and others. 

In 2008, the inspiration for a rosé-focused business was born when her daughter returned from a modeling job in Europe with an enthusiasm for all-things Rosé. Melinda and her daughter and co-owner, Michelle Lorenza, also write Amuse Bouche on Substack: musings on wine, food, fashion, and travel.

Lars Bjorkman
Gro Wines, Rutherford

Pouring 2021 Chardonnay
Mt. Veeder, Haspel Vineyard  

Lars Bjorkman grew up in Fresno, CA, surrounded by table grape and raisin vineyards.  His family settled there from Sweden just before he was born, making him the first of his family to be born in the United States.  Using his offensive line football skills to get into University of California, Davis, he initially planned to pursue medicine like his father. A year later, he pivoted to graduate with a degree in viticulture and enology from the world-renowned program.  Lars has worked at Gloria Ferrer, R.H. Phillips, BRL Hardy’s in Australia, Flora Springs, and Saddleback in Oakville, where he now makes wine along with owner Nils Venge--the first Napa Valley winemaker to receive 100 points from Robert Parker.  

Lars Bjorkman beside a truck holding bins of chardonnay grapes

Lars and his wife, winemaker Molly Hill, founded Gro Wines while still working for Saddleback and Sequoia Grove Wineries respectively. They source fruit from “mini archipelagoes” within the Napa Valley Appellation and all wines are from single vineyard locations.

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