LAURA DÍAZ MUÑOZ, WINEMAKER
Born in Spain, Laura grew up sharing sips of wine with her father while watching the fishing boats during their family vacations in the North of Spain. Her first sip of Albariño solidified her love of wines and her first winemaking internship solidified her future as a winemaker. After completing her post graduate degree in enology at the Polytechnic University of Madrid Laura started her career in La Mancha and worked in different wine regions in Spain. A few years later, Laura left Spain and traveled to New Zealand and Chile learning as much as she could about winemaking and the influence of terroir in different wine regions. Finally, Laura took a job in the Napa Valley. For over a decade Laura has been making wine in the Napa Valley as the Associate Winemaker for Cardinale, Lokoya, Mt Brave, La Jota and Galerie. She joined Ehlers Estate in July of 2018 and is excited to continue the legacy of this special property.
FRANCISCO VEGA, VINEYARD MANAGER AND CELLAR MASTER
Francisco grew up working in the fields of his family farm in Michoacan, Mexico. He left home at 14, and traveled to Los Angeles, where he spent two years learning English. At 16, he visited friends in Calistoga, and quickly decided to join them there. “The terrain reminded me of my home in Mexico,” he explains. Francisco began working on one of his friend’s vineyard crews, learning the business through the daily vineyard work of pruning and picking, experience that would pay off when he took first prize at the annual pruning competition held in Yountville. At 23, after five years of vineyard experience, he was promoted to foreman. He joined Ehlers Estate in 2001, and now manages the vineyard and physical plant of the winery, and assists Kevin with winemaking operations. Francisco says of his work, “It’s part of me, of my life. I grew up in the field picking tomatoes with my dad. For me, it’s almost the same.” Francisco lives on the estate with his family. He has three sons, the eldest of whom aspires to be a winemaker.
BRAD AKKERMAN, CALIFORNIA SALES DIRECTOR
Brad has been in the wine business since late 1998 after graduating from UC San Diego with a degree in business. He started his wine career at St. Helena Wine Center in the Napa Valley. After many exciting positions in wine sales, Brad started as the California Sales Director at Ehlers Estate in 2009. He manages all aspects of wholesale sales in California including selling wine to restaurants, small retailers, and private clubs. When not at Ehlers Estate or on the road, Brad is busy with his two young sons or drinking something interesting.