OUR TEAM

DOUG HILL

PROPRIETOR

Growing up in Healdsburg on the family farm instilled Doug with a good work ethic, reverence for nature and a spirit of optimism. After earning a degree in Plant Sciences at Cal State Fresno and traveling extensively in Latin America, Doug returned home to Sonoma County in 1978 to learn the art of vineyard management while employed by Sonoma-Cutrer. After settling in Yountville, Doug managed the extensive holdings of the Jaeger family before starting Oak Knoll Farming. His long tenure in Napa has familiarized him with the Valley’s microclimates and soils, enabling him to pioneer new varieties and growing regions; Doug planted the first vineyards in American Canyon and brought the first Albariño to Napa Valley. As a third generation California farmer, Doug is experienced in finding practical solutions to the challenges that arise in vineyard development projects, and strives to utilize environmentally conscious land management practices. He has guided Hill Family Estate to become one of the leading Yountville wineries.

RYAN HILL

PROPRIETOR

Ryan Hill is the Vice President and Director of Sales for Hill Family Estate. He attended local schools before graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in Wine Business Strategies. He is very active in the Napa community and currently belongs to Native Sons, Yountville Kiwanis, Yountville Chamber of Commerce and the Next Generation groups. Prior to becoming involved with Hill Family Estate, Hill worked in the hospitality business as a dishwasher, busser, food runner, server and sommelier. Hill has worked at Gordon’s, Bouchon, George’s at The Cove and Nine Ten restaurants. His love for food and wine developed in the restaurant business and has carried through to Hill Family Estate. Ryan resides in Napa with his family, where he continues to grow the business while celebrating his family roots of farming in the Napa Valley.

CARLY HILL

PROPRIETOR

Carly Kanakaris-Hill is a Yountville native, and enjoyed growing up in the Napa Valley. She attended San Diego State University and obtained a bachelors degree in Food and Nutritional Science. She also completed her dietetic internship through the University of Delaware, where she became a Registered Dietitian. Carly currently resides in San Diego with her husband, Alex and two dogs (Duke and Dakota), where she works in Pediatric Sales as a Dietitian and Certified Lactation Educator Counselor. When Carly is not working in Pediatric Sales, she helps with Hill Family Estate wine events in Southern California. When Carly is not advocating lifestyle and policy change, she is traveling internationally for both pleasure and for the family business.

FIRST THERE WERE VINEYARDS

In 1981, Doug and Darci Hill settled down on an acre of land at the northern edge of Yountville. Their children, Ryan and Carly, grew up playing in the vineyards, tending chickens, and played baseball and basketball. They also helped their neighbors grow organic fruits and vegetables for the local restaurants including Thomas Keller’s world renowned French Laundry restaurant.

 

THEN THERE WAS WINE

Hill Family Estate produced their first wines in 2001, a Merlot and a red blend called Origin. Production ranges between 9,000 to 12,000 cases annually. Having a repertoire of 12 different vineyards to draw from they are able to select only the highest quality fruit for their wines.

Today the Hill Family owns 120 acres of vineyards with a focus on Atlas Peak, Carneros and Oak Knoll. They are 100% family-farmed, family-owned and family-operated – producing fruit for both Yountville wineries and their own family business.

FIRST THERE WERE VINEYARDS

In 1981, Doug and Darci Hill settled down on an acre of land at the northern edge of Yountville. Their children, Ryan and Carly, grew up playing in the vineyards, tending chickens, and played baseball and basketball. They also helped their neighbors grow organic fruits and vegetables for the local restaurants including Thomas Keller’s world renowned French Laundry restaurant.

THEN THERE WAS WINE

Hill Family Estate produced their first wines in 2001, a Merlot and a red blend called Origin. Production ranges between 9,000 to 12,000 cases annually. Having a repertoire of 12 different vineyards to draw from they are able to select only the highest quality fruit for their wines.

Today the Hill Family owns 120 acres of vineyards with a focus on Atlas Peak, Carneros and Oak Knoll. They are 100% family-farmed, family-owned and family-operated – producing fruit for both Yountville wineries and their own family business.

ALISON DORAN

WINEMAKER

Ryan Hill always stated that if you want to dream in color, drink wine. This dream soon became a reality for Hill Family Estate when winemaker Alison Doran joined the team and made the inaugural 2001 vintage – officially becoming part of the family of Yountville wineries. Alison was introduced to Doug while he was growing grapes and she was making wine for Lewis Cellars.

Doug loved Alison’s style, personality and determination to produce the finest wines possible. Alison developed this skill while being mentored by renowned wine expert Andre Tchelistcheff, completing a degree in winemaking from UC Davis and spending time in the legendary winery-filled region of Alsace, France. Today, Doug and Alison work closely together selecting the highest quality grapes and producing ultra premium wines.

allison headshot

ALLISON NEGRÓN

DTC MANAGER

Allison is the Direct to Consumer Manager at Hill Family Estate. She grew up in the south Bay Area where she developed an early appreciation for food and wine, spending many long evenings at the dinner table with her Italian family. She worked in restaurants throughout her college years at UC Davis, where her interest in wine flourished. After graduating she moved to Napa to pursue a career in the wine industry. Prior to Hill Family Estate Allison worked for boutique wineries Elizabeth Spencer and Chiarello Family Vineyards with a focus on direct-to-consumer business development, wine club, hospitality and events. Allison lives in Napa with her husband Kristopher and twin boys Gianni and Lorenzo. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking outdoors, cooking and traveling.

MARIANA CALDERON

CREATIVE DESIGN & MARKETING

Born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, Mariana spent her childhood exploring some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and rain forests. After graduating with a degree in architecture and design she started her own photography and graphic design company, winning awards and being featured multiple times in Costa Ricas largest newspaper.

She is fluent in four languages (Spanish, French, Italian, English) and passionate about food, wine and traveling, which led her to Napa Valley where she met her husband, David. In addition to working for Hill Family she continues to pursue her dreams as a professional photographer and designer and always seems to have a smile on her face.

CHRISTIE FRIDAY

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Christie Friday is the Director of Operations for Hill Family Estate. She has over 25 years of experience in the wine business, with her first job working on a bottling line during college. Once she graduated from Sonoma State University, she realized the financial aspect of the wine business was where she wanted to be. She currently resides in Napa with her three boys, Joshua, Elijah and Gabriel.

guy holding wine glass

ARMANDO ORTIZ

WINE CLUB MANAGER

Armando serves as the Wine Club Manager at Hill Family Estate. Born and raised in Napa, wine and hospitality has been in his genes since day one. His father worked for Robert Mondavi in vineyard management. To earn extra money in the summer, Armando would tag along with his father to work in the vineyards from 6:00AM to 2:00PM. At the age of 20 he began a career in hotels and graduated from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in Hotel Management. He managed the Napa River Inn, Meadowood Napa Valley and Bardessono. In 2017 he decided that a career move was imminent in order to spend more time with his growing family, while keeping the joy of hospitality. Prior to joining Hill Family, Armando served as the Tasting Room Manager at Merryvale Vineyards. He believes that hospitality is a feeling that you’re left with, and a bottle of wine feels great to take with you (just imagine a case of wine)! Armando lives in Napa with his wife, Jenelle, and their two daughters, Makena and Stella.

woman

HEATHER DONOVIEL

TASTING ROOM MANAGER

Heather is the Tasting Room Manager at Hill Family Estate. She spent her high school and college years working in restaurants where she learned the value of always providing the best in hospitality. After receiving her degree in Japanese Studies from UCSB, she stayed in Santa Barbara where she opened and operated two restaurants over the span of 20 years. She had the opportunity to meet many winemakers in the Santa Barbara area and her love and appreciation for wine grew. Growing up in Napa, she has always had an appreciation for how special the valley is and when life threw her a curve ball, she moved back home, where her parents still live in her childhood home. Heather lives in Yountville. In her down time, she enjoys spending time with her parents, helping in the family garden, enjoying home cooked meals and exploring Napa Valley and the surrounding area.

charlie headshot

CHARLIE JENSEN

ESTATE HOST

Charlie is the Estate Host at Hill Family Estate’s winery location. He grew up in a suburb of Kansas City where he learned to love the Chiefs, Royals, and of course, the best BBQ in the world. During his final semester at the University of Missouri (Go Tigers), Charlie was preparing to begin a position with William Morris Agency, which he hoped would be the beginning of a career in the music industry in Southern California. After covid-19 wrecked those plans, Charlie decided to pivot and explore a career in the wine industry. Although working in the wine industry was an unexpected twist for Charlie at first, he has found a new and surprising passion for wine, hospitality, and all things Napa Valley; he even still gets to combine his passions of wine and music! Charlie lives in St. Helena with his girlfriend Keeley where he spends his free time playing his guitar, hiking, skiing, and exploring their new home in Northern California.

man

ERIK KEILHOLTZ

WINE EDUCATOR

Erik has been interested in food and wine for as long as he can remember. Growing up in an Italian and German family meant having wine at the table with every meal. A wine tasting course in Beaune, Burgundy sparked a more serious interest in wine, which was further nourished by frequent wine excursions in the Santa Cruz Mountains during his college years. After stints in the record industry (he was a music major, after all), and as restaurant critic for the Oakland Tribune and associated papers, he worked as a caterer. As his interest in the catering business turned more towards the food and wine pairing side of things, a transition to the wine industry became obvious. He enrolled in the UC Davis Continuing Education Department’s Winemaking Certificate Program and got his hands dirty working a harvest in the cellar. Facing the inevitable letdown of the end of harvest, he has joined us in our tasting room where he delights in sharing his enthusiasm for wine and food with our guests. During harvest he continues to stain his hands purple in his backyard as a home winemaker, because, well, you know you are in the right industry when you spend your free time pursuing projects in the same field you work in!

sara headshot

SARA BARRON

WINE EDUCATOR

Sara joins Hill Family Estate with a background in education and a solid foundation in hospitality.

Born and raised in Danville, Ca., hospitality was in her genes. From an early age Sara helped her parents plan neighborhood events, which led to her finding work on cruise ships, where she planned and hosted events in international waters. Back on dry land Sara practiced her public speaking skills, working at Bay Area radio stations (2000-2005), followed by an 18-year stint in education.  In 2021, Sara felt the siren call of the vine and passed her WSET exam through Napa Valley Wine academy, joining us in June of 2022. In 2023, she completed her pivot from educating children to educating wine lovers and became a full time Wine Educator for Hill Family Estate.

In her free time Sara is a Co-Race director for Zero Prostate Cancer in Napa Valley since 2018, planning and executing an annual run/walk event. She has been able to advocate for families touched by prostate cancer, as well as to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington DC for prostate cancer funding, genetic testing, and lowering insurance requirements for all men to be able to get their PSA cost covered.

 Sara and her husband reside in Benicia with their beautiful cat children, enjoy traveling to new places and are always bringing wine to events to share with others. Cheers!

JIM HEADSHOT<br />

JIM PAMPILLONIA

WINE EDUCATOR

From the bustling streets of Long Island, New York, Jim has made a triumphant entrance into the Hill Family team, bringing with him a quirky set of preferences and a side-splitting weakness for technology. His love affair with coffee is legendary, demanding precisely the right amount of sugar but, notably, NOT in a dark mug, and executed with military precision at 6:45 AM, much like a secret coffee society. However, don’t ask him to set an alarm or a reminder on his smartphone; Jim is hilariously terrible with technology. When he’s not brewing his perfect cup of joe, you might catch him ogling his impressive collection of sneakers or geeking out over collectible toys. Yes, Jim’s taste in both fashion and nostalgia is as unique as his coffee requirements. He’s also a devoted fan of LeBron James and transforms his living room into a basketball shrine every playoff season, hoping for a hint of that ‘Bron magic. However, there’s one sporting realm where Jim’s luck is notably absent – sports betting in Vegas. It’s a running joke that he loses every bet he places, much to the amusement of his friends and coworkers at Hill Family. Welcome to the Hill Family, where quirkiness and camaraderie reign supreme!

Come meet our team! Make sure to stop by Hill Family Estate as you explore Yountville Wineries!

Visiting Hill Family Estate

Downtown Tasting Room Address
6512 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
707-944-9580 ext. 1
HOURS OF OPERATION: 11:00-6:00pm daily

Winery Address
6155 Solano Avenue
Napa, CA 94558
707-947-7218
Open 
daily by appointment only

To reserve a tasting at the winery, please contact us at 707-944-9580 ext. 2 or tastings@hillfamilyestate.com.

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

We invite you to join our email list to receive occasional notices about new releases, special offers, winery events and more.

 

Join us in the month of February for a chocolate and wine pairing!

LEARN MORE >

RESERVE