Taylor Shoptaw -- Winemaker
Taylor is originally from Memphis, Tennessee. He studied viticulture and enology in New Zealand and has spent the past nine years traveling between hemispheres working for outstanding winemakers. He was most recently an assistant winemaker in the Finger Lakes AVA, and production supervisor in the Alexander Valley. When not working he enjoys reading, writing, sailing and watching the Tennessee Vols.
Stephen Sichel - Wine Club Manager & Director of Consumer Sales
Steve moved onto Howell Mountain in 2009 after selling his company in Los Angeles in 2006. He had visited with his wife in 1997 and knew Napa Valley offered a lifestyle which would be a refreshing change after manufacturing Costumes in Hollywood for almost 30 years. The Sichel Family has a long history in the wine industry and fulfilling his dream of a vineyard lifestyle seemed like a natural progression!
Growing Cabernet from his tiny 300 vine vineyard and producing 10 cases/year provides a unique perspective. The entire experience has been wonderful and joining the Bravante Team is the culmination of my past decade in Napa Valley. “This small boutique winery offers an old world experience that is unequalled. To work among such passionate folks such as George & Nancy, Mabel, Katie and Michelle is truly a winery Dreamteam! Small lots of wines that have been gently hand processed and the bottles held back for release until they're ready to be enjoyed is rare these days.”
As they say... “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!”
Michelle Hunt - Director of Wholesale Sales
Michelle is a seasoned industry veteran with a background in all 3 tiers of the wine business; first in fine wine retail in Charleston, SC, then with a distributor in South Carolina, and finally on the supplier side with wineries in Napa & Walla Walla. She loves the wine business and especially the “herding cats” aspect of wine sales - she loves a good challenge! Michelle's been with Bravante Vineyards since 2005, first as General Manger and now as National Sales Manager, based on the east coast. Besides working with our distributor and wholesale partners across the US, she is also the occasional winery “rep” at fundraisers, dinners and educational events, and she loves being there for the “a-ha!” moment when someone falls in love with wine. When she’s not out on the road hustling vino, you’ll find her in her expansive garden (her form of therapy), and testing new tomato recipes in the kitchen.