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About Us

"We believe you can have all the elements of success - the land, the wine and the vision - but without the right team of people, success will remain out of reach." - Craig Becker

Our team at Priest Ranch strives to provide you with cultivated and unexpected wine country experiences – whether in our tasting room, in person or in the bottle.


Craig Becker

Co-founder, General Manager & Director of Winemaking

Craig Becker, a Southern California native, is a founding member of Somerston Estate. A strong love of the outdoors attracted Becker to winemaking. This attraction, combined with innate talent, led him to the helm of Somerston – an expansive project focused on great wines and an appreciation of the natural world.

Becker spent much of his childhood in Long Beach, California before moving north to attend Santa Rosa Junior College - with both the desire to be surrounded by nature and for the unlimited mountain biking opportunities. Soon after transferring to the University of California at Davis to study plant physiology and soil science, he met Courtney Siverson, who would later become his wife. While finishing his degree, Becker's interest in winemaking took flight after working a harvest job at Robert Mondavi Winery. Soon thereafter, he worked at Spring Mountain, before starting his own winemaking consulting company. It was during this time that he met our Proprietor, Allan Chapman, who had recently launched two wine brands - Priest Ranch and Somerston, from the Somerston Estate property in St. Helena

In Becker’s free time - which is extremely limited these days - Becker enjoys spending time with his family, gardening with his girls, woodworking (he hand-built many of the features in his St. Helena home) and flying planes. He admits, however, that for now he's committed to remaining on the ground to oversee the growth and success of the Somerston Estate and wine brands.

Cody Hurd

Assistant Winemaker

Cody is a large part of the magic behind the scenes at Somerston. He has been involved in the production of our wines since the beginning. After starting in the cellar, his hard work and dedication quickly had him promoted to Assistant Winemaker. When asked what his favorite part of the job is, he replies “making Napa Valley Cab!” He works closely with our Director of Winemaker to bring new and innovative winemaking techniques to the table.

Melissa Jackson

Marketing Manager

Before our tasting room in Yountville was complete, Melissa joined the hospitality team and helped kick off what is now the Priest Ranch tasting room. Now our Marketing Manager, she has worn several hats in our company including tasting room, wine club, events and DTC management since starting here in 2010. The opportunity to use her creative side and help build a brand from the ground up is the most invigorating part of the job for her.

Melissa can often be found around town supporting her girls in their many activities, including everything from water polo to basketball. Taking the time to unwind with her family next to the pool or ocean with a glass of bubbles in hand is her preferred form of relaxation.

Christine Sully

Vineyard & Winery Office Manager

Christine has been a part of the Somerston team since 2015 and is a real team player. From day to day, her job is never the same; however, she always finds the time to assist her co-workers across all departments.

When at home, Christine enjoys putzing around the garden with her puppies following close behind. She aspires to travel Europe with her husband and own a vacation home in Los Barrilles. Until then, you can find her weekend mornings filled with a sci-fi book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. However, come happy hour a Greyhound with real grapefruit juice is her drink of choice.

Jake Knobloch

Director of Vineyard Operations

Jake has been managing vineyards in Napa Valley for 21 years. He was raised in San Luis Obispo and attended Cal Poly, then after finishing his Bachelor’s Degree, he went work for J Lohr and fell in love with the wine industry. He quickly moved to Napa and worked for the Pina Family and Diageo before joining the team at Somerston.

Working at Somerston is a dream for Jake. His office is the vineyard of a 1,615-acre estate, and he feels blessed to manage a quality driven vineyard staff and a magnificent property. He takes pleasure in working where the team to goal is to farm the highest quality wine grapes safely and sustainably. For Jake, it doesn’t get any better that!

Jake lives in wine country with his wife Kristina and two children Cameron and Hunter. When he's not working, you will find him with his family camping, dirt biking or playing golf.

Shauna Herman

Enologist

"It’s cool to see people enjoying a wine you had a part in."

Shauna first joined us as an intern, before joining the Somerston team as our full-time Enologist. The thing she loves most about her job is how satisfying it is to watch fruit from the vineyard transform into wine in the bottle. For Shauna, being a part of the production team is rewarding in that it's hands-on and creative. We all appreciate her organization, good work ethic and passion for making wine.

When not working, Shauna is happiest BBQing with friends and hanging out with her dog. She enjoys football, cooking, shopping, and any time spent outdoors with good friends and family. She admires her Mom because she is kind, generous and can make anybody smile.

On Sunday mornings, you can find Shauna planning a trip through all 50 states while enjoying a cup of coffee in the yard with her dog.

Spring Longinotti

Private Client Sales Associate

Customer service is a critical role in any company and Spring wears that hat very well. As our Private Client Sales Associate, she's ready and available to help our Wine Club members, Customers and coworkers whenever needed. She's outgoing and dedicated to ensuring an excellent Priest Ranch experience all around.

When not working, Spring can be found exploring new foods, riding her bicycle or enjoying game night with friends and family. Spring especially enjoys traveling and some of her favorite places have been found in Europe and Thailand. She is looking forward to the next trip on her bucket list - Barcelona!

Spring embraces this quote every day, "Take on each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation." - Bernie S. Siegel

Mayra Espinoza

Vineyard & Winery Administrative Assistant

Mayra has been a part of Somerston since day one. She has grown with the company and is an integral part of the team. Having worked in several departments, she is always willing to pitch in and assist wherever her skills are needed.

She grew up on the property as a child, which has created a passion and love for the vineyards and the estate as a whole for Mayra. This connection pushes her to create the best experience for everyone who comes to visit. She loves to show people the estate because as for many of us here, this is our second home.

Margeaux McLain

Eastern US Sales Manager

Margeaux McLain joined The Somerston Wine Company in 2015 as the Eastern US Sales Manager, with 17 years of diverse wine industry experience. She started her career in a retail wine store, which quickly led to management of a restaurant wine program, and then onto distribution sales before managing multiple iconic portfolios as a supplier representative. Margeaux, the second of four children, was raised in Tallahassee Florida. As a child, she spent most of her days exploring and learning outside surrounded by nature. Guided by her passion for plant conservation and landscape restoration, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Florida A&M University. An avid gardener to this day, Margeaux currently resides in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, two children, and rescued dachshund.

Melissa Chavez

Tasting Room Lead

Hoping to work in the wine business, Melissa joined the team at Priest Ranch after graduating from ASU with a B.S in Communication in 2017. Her favorite thing about working in Yountville is meeting new people from across the country while working with such a friendly and talented team every day. She brings her wonderful sense of humor to our guests and makes sure everyone walks out of the door with a smile on their face.

During her days away from the tasting room, you can usually find Melissa sitting outside on a patio enjoying brunch with her girlfriends, lying by a body of water soaking up the sunshine or going on adventures with her three sisters. Because he is one of the most hardworking people she knows, her father is someone she genuinely admires.

Jim Hardin

Vineyard Service & Operations Manager

For Jim Hardin, working at Somerston is like being at home - the country setting, abundant trees, several lakes, and an array of birds are all things he loves. He joined the team in 2012 but has lived in the area his entire life. It takes a lot of vineyard equipment and work trucks to maintain Somerston and Jim is responsible for all of them - he's known for keeping a spotless and highly efficient shop.

On Sunday mornings you can find Jim taking his dog Spatchie for a run around the ranch, but when happy hour hits you will find a French Donkey in his hand. Jim is from Pope Valley and admires anyone who knows where that is.