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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.
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. Her preferred form of relaxation is taking time to unwind with her family next to the pool or ocean with a glass of bubbles in her hand.
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.
"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.
Jose joined the Priest Ranch team at the beginning of 2018. He was born and raised in the Napa Valley and began seasonal work with harvest and pruning for at various wineries when he was sixteen. He keeps himself very busy when he's not on the clock - at the gym, taking dancing lessons, or working a second job. He considers himself humble and likes to help those in need when possible, "Treat those the way you would like to be treated."
After having a long week of work, he treats himself to a glass of Blanton's (Bourbon) on the rocks or a glass of wine while being surrounded by good company and watching a movie. He has mentioned that he doesn't travel much, but if he did have the opportunity, his first choice would be Japan.
His passion for wine & exceptional hospitality makes each customer experience a memorable one.
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 towards the team goal of safely and sustainably farming the highest quality wine grapes. For Jake, it doesn’t get any better that!
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.