Pride Mountain Vineyards Hires New Winemaker

Pride Mountain Vineyards has hired Matt Ward as the new winemaker for the family winery that straddles the Mayacamas Mountains between Sonoma and Napa counties.

Ward’s appointment comes after Sally Johnson Blum left her role as winemaker to go to Robert Mondavi Winery.

Hailing from the Midwest, Ward has a varied background with a graduate degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis. He spent seven months at Screaming Eagle as a wine merchant before heading to New Zealand to lead a team making Bordeaux varietals at Craggy Range.

He returned to California for the harvest in 2017 and joined Atelier Melka, where he has crafted wines for over 20 clients over the past five years.

“His combination of caring personality, natural leadership skills and viticultural intelligence is just what we need at Pride Mountain Vineyards to continue our 30-year evolving quest to produce the best possible wines from our property,” said Steve Pride, CEO.

Napa-based company buys marketing department

Napa-based business texting platform RedChirp has acquired Vimbibe, also a Napa-based company, which offers direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing services.

Vimbibe was created in 2020 by Highway 29 Creative. No price has been communicated.

“This acquisition is a huge step forward for the DTC wine industry,” said Simon Solis-Cohen, founder of Highway 29 Creative and Vimbibe, in announcing the sale.

RedChirp claims its web chat feature allows customers to initiate inbound text conversations and route those messages to the right team members without having staff to monitor those messages. It also offers distributed marketing texts with automated systems.

New recruit at Cakebread Cellars

Gina Charbonneau has been hired as vice president of culture and talent development for Napa Valley winery Cakebread Cellars.

“We are delighted to welcome Gina to the Cakebread family. I am confident that his wit and knowledge will be a great addition to our corporate culture,” Mike Jaeger, president and CEO of the winery, said in a statement.

Charbonneau served as Executive Vice President of Human Operations at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, where she began her career in the wine industry in 2008. She earned her bachelor’s degree from CSU Chico and her master’s degree in human resources and organizational development of the University of San Francisco.

The North Bay Business Journal contributed to this article. Submit articles to [email protected]

Elisha A. Tilghman