The Culitvar Wine Team
Cultivar Wine was started by Jody Harris, and Gingy Harris Gable, founders of Caspar Estate, a 25 acre property located in the foothills above Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Caspar Escher, who was called “Pops”, came to the valley in 1962 in search of a place to spend time with his family outside of the city. Pops purchased the land now known as Caspar Estate, as well as the surrounding area, totaling 300 acres. The Escher Family spent decades enjoying the country at their weekend hideaway and summer home.
As natives of San Francisco the siblings visited their grandparents in the Napa Valley. Virginia and Caspar taught them to be stewards of the land. They practice organic and sustainable farming techniques to preserve, protect and maintain the environment. The property, which now contains fruit trees, over 800 Mission olive trees and about a quarter million honey bees, is an ideal setting for growing grapes, too. About 13 acres of vineyards were planted for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Caspar Estate wines express the unique terroir of the land, with firm tannins, fresh acidity, and remarkable structure. With 400-500 cases produced annually, Caspar Estate wine is offered by Allocation only, Cabernet Sauvignon in the fall and Sauvigon Blanc in the spring.
Jody Harris - Founder and General Manager
Jody began work on the land after returning from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1997. He began re-established the 80 Mission olive trees that dated back to the 1900s and planted 800 new olive trees. Over the years he and his team planted the 10 acre vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot- all through organic farming practices, which would later be named Caspar Estate.
In 2008, after successful careers in commercial contracting and development with Hadley Construction, Fisher Development and Richie Commercial Real Estate, Jody decided to pursue his family’s wine business full time. In 2008 Caspar Estate began with its first harvest of 5 tons of fruit from the 13 acre Estate Vineyard that Jody planted in 2001. He was inspired after a visit with his friend and sommelier at a local Michelin Star restaurant. In 2010 their conversation led to a project that would offer high-end food focused Napa Valley wines called "Cultivar". Today, both Caspar Estate and Cultivar are thriving with a total production of over 10,000 cases in 16 states.
When he isn’t out in the vineyard or down in the barn, one may find Jody out on the San Francisco Bay. An avid boatmen, Jody is a volunteer for the Coast Guard Auxilary and often takes groups out to the Farallon Islands. Jody currently resides in the Marina district near Cultivar San Francisco with his wife Michelle and their two children.
Gingy Harris Gable - Founder
Growing up, Gingy Gable loved spending weekends at her family’s retreat in Napa Valley, now known as Caspar Estate, visiting her grandparents, Virginia and Caspar Escher. It was here that Gingy not only learned how to garden and care for horses, chickens, and rabbits, but also how to appreciate and tend to the land around her. To this day, both Gingy and her brother are passionate about their grandparents’ property and continue the tradition of teaching the next generations of the family the value of being good stewards of the land.
This tradition and stewardship of the land is central to both the Cultivar Wine and Caspar Estate brands. Honoring her family’s legacy, Gingy overlooks no detail, from package design for their products, winning a packaging award for their olive oil in 2004, to overseeing sales and marketing for Caspar Estate and Cultivar Wine. She also handles one-of-a-kind events.
Gingy brings her design eye, sales experience, and years of running her own business to Cultivar.
Prior to taking the helm at Cultivar along side her brother, Gingy worked at Barbara Scavullo Design and for David Livingston. She then founded and ran her own interior design business, Virginia Harris Design for over 19 years. She worked on many projects along the West Coast from Santa Barbara to Belvedere, and is responsible for the interiors of the house at Caspar Estate. She and her work have been featured in a variety of publications (The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Design Times, Northern California Home and Design, and Gentry). She received a degree in Art History from Colby College in Maine.
Living in Florence and participating in cooking classes in both Italy and France inspired Gingy to experiment with different ways to use the Caspar Estate Olive Oils and Honeys in recipes. An avid cook, she enjoys pairing ingredients fresh from the Estate’s land with Cultivar and Caspar Estate wines. Gingy currently resides in San Francisco with her husband John and their son.
Julien Fayard - Consulting Winemaker
Julien Fayard gained his knowledge and defined his core winemaking style from working at grand Chate aux in France such as Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Laffite. In Napa Valley, he’s worked alongside renowned winemaker Philippe Melka. He has come to be a Napa Valley veteran after many years of working with some of the most highly acclaimed and sought after wines from the Napa Valley. His philosophy is to produce wines that express pure, terroir-driven specificities and characteristics. He believes that as a winemaker, one doesn’t control the wine but rather wine style is the result of a combination of soil, climate and vineyard management. Wine style is an elegant combined expression of the fruit, soil, vines and climate.
“As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of it’s place, it’s history and it’s uniqueness. That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity. “
Julien is an entrepreneur with an acute business savvy of the wine industry. He is completing his MBA from top ranking Davis University in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He brings a dynamic background of quality wine production, business management, winery development and infrastructure.
Richard Phoenix – Sales Director
With over 25 years in the wine business, Richard Phoenix has experience in all facets of wine marketing, sales and distribution. His love of Napa Valley began during a family trip to Napa Valley at the age of 9 and continues to this day.
Early positions at wine shops and then Oakville Grocery led to an understanding of retail wine markets. During this time, he helped out local Napa wineries with harvest and learned about the side of the wine business that leaves you covered in grape juice.
Time spent at Tra Vigne as the wine director provided experience in restaurant wine selection, sales and service. Seven years working for the Henry Wine Group as a sales representative enabled Richard to develop an extensive national sales territory.
In 1997 Richard started the Phoenix Ranch project as a personal labor of love – growing Old World varietals at his family’s Napa vineyard and producing wine under the Phoenix Ranch label. In addition, he began a consulting business to help small family wineries with sales and marketing. Clients have included Cafaro Cellars, Cannonball, Corison Wines, Crauford, Manifesto, Round Pond and Joel Gott Wines.
Deborah Evans - Hospitality & Sales
Deborah has been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years and opened 6 hotels providing quality service for customers, associates and ownership. As a former Director of Sales and Marketing she was responsible for $23 million in annual revenues. She and her husband have lived in the Napa Valley for over 10 years after living on the East Coast, South & Midwest.
Deborah's knowledge of hospitality and her love of food & wine allow her to share Cultivar Wine with the world while hosting events and dinner parties. She volunteers and serves on fund raising committees for the Queen of the Valley Hospital (Day of the Queen), and is Vice President of a Napa Philanthropic Educational Organization to support education for women.
Dianne Jones - Wine Club, Sales & Customer Service
Dianne worked as an Office Manager and Executive Administrative Assistant to a Pastor of a mega-church in the suburbs of Chicago for seven years. She implemented a new database, scheduler and phone tree for the church. She has lived all across the country and makes friends quickly. She became very involved in this community and received "Volunteer of the Year" award from the Younville Chamber of Commerce, where she still serves as Chamber Ambassador.
Dianne's love of the Napa Valley rubs off on everyone she encounters. She is a diehard Steelers fan. She loves hearing from Cultivar Wine Club members, and is a great resource and customer service representative.
John Taylor - Marketing Manager
John brings over two decades of marketing experience to Cultivar, along with a lifelong passion for wine. Following successful ventures in the entertainment and real estate industries, John decided to turn his wine hobby into a career in 2010. For the past decade, John worked with some of the most prominent brands in the Napa Valley before brining his expertise to Cultivar Wine.
When he's not spending hours finding new ways to intriduce the public to exciting new vintages, John raises three kids, one cat and a secret passion to be a bestselling author.
Baci, Brodie and Dixie - Caspar Estate Dogs