Director of Direct to Consumer
Elisa Sherburne’s career began in the hotel industry in Washington, DC, with assignments that included honing her customer service skills with such high profile clients as the U.S. Vice President, U.S. Members of Congress, and even the Queen of Jordan. As she planned and executed luxury catering events both large and small, Elisa also learned about the world of wine, and when she and her husband moved to San Francisco, Napa Valley became a favorite weekend destination.
Eventually, Elisa’s professional interest in hospitality and personal interest in wine merged, and since 2000 she has held DTC roles at several prominent Napa Valley and California wineries. “I fell in love with the wine industry, and since I also have a passion for customer engagement, combining the two is a natural for me. I really enjoy bringing the wine experience to life for visitors and customers.” At Flora Springs Elisa does just that as she oversee web, marketing, e-commerce, tasting room, wine club, and hospitality experiences at Flora Springs–The Room and Flora Springs-The Estate, both in St. Helena.
Elisa was drawn to Flora Springs for several reasons, including the fact that the family-owned winery is rooted in the history of Napa Valley. She also appreciates the winery’s estate-grown philosophy. “Having control of our own vineyards and winery is so crucial to the quality and consistency of the wines.” An enthusiast of entertaining guests at home as well as at work, we think Elisa has found just the right place.
Wine Club Manager
With an uncle who’s a sommelier and a world-traveling father who taught her about the world’s great wine regions, Madeline’s pursuit of a career in wine was almost destiny. After earning her BA in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Madeline returned to her native San Francisco and immediately jumped into the restaurant business, quickly working her way up to become an assistant manager. She then moved to a well-known San Francisco wine retailer where she held successive positions as wine merchant, assistant general manager and manager of a 1,200-member wine club. Prior to moving to Napa to join Flora Springs, she worked as a retail wine buyer and bar manager at a gourmet food hall and market, creating wine lists and managing inventory of over 500 small-production wines. “Flora Springs was on our list from Day One,” she says.
Madeline’s extensive experience in retail gives her a laser-like focus on customer service, a quality that serves her well as Flora Springs’ Wine Club Manager. “Even with a great product my goal is to exceed customers’ expectations in terms of service,” she says, noting that working for a family-owned business like Flora Springs was a big factor in her move to Napa Valley. “I’m very grateful for our Wine Club Members. So many folks have been members for a long time, which says a lot for how connected they feel to the family and winery.”
Madeline is an avid traveller who participated in no less than three exchange programs during college, including France and Tahiti. She is fluent in French and conversational in German. Of course she is also passionate about wine and food and loves to explore the Napa Valley dining scene. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask Madeline!
Private Client Ambassador
A native of San Francisco and Napa Valley, James has been employed in the hospitality field since 2006, quickly working his way from delivery driver to server and eventually to floor manager and acting general manager at cafés and restaurants in Napa Valley, Marin and San Francisco. As the “James” part of the well-known Napa Valley band, Serf & James, he became acquainted with Flora Springs while playing at our Wine Club parties, and learned more about wine as the band had gigs at other wineries throughout the valley.
“The more time I spent around Flora Springs the more fun and interesting wine became. It was my first real ‘palate changing’ experience. I started coming around the tasting room more and more just to have a sip or buy a glass of wine.” The next logical step: joining Flora Springs full time. James became part of our hospitality team on Halloween 2016, an auspicious beginning considering how Flora Springs – the original Ghost Winery – celebrates this hallowed holiday! He’s been at Flora Springs ever since, working in the tasting room, running tours at the Estate, developing our customer service center and working closely with Wine Club Members as a winery ambassador. And with two EPs under its belt, Serf & James continues to make appearances throughout Napa Valley and the Bay Area, including an appearance at BottleRock 2017!
Client Relations and Shipping Coordinator
Having grown up in Menlo Park near Stanford University, or on the “other side of the Bay” as he calls it, Alex didn’t know much about wine until he moved to Napa Valley. He’d worked his way through college serving at numerous jobs and playing on the school soccer team while earning a BS in International Business Management.
After moving to Napa to help out a family member, he took a job in hospitality at a local hotel. Alex enjoyed customer service, but soon gained an appreciation of the wine industry’s role in Napa Valley. Wanting to be a part of it, he joined a Napa Valley winery where he served both as an administrative/accounting assistant and a production assistant. Still drawn to hospitality and client relations, Alex joined Flora Springs in 2018 where he combines his customer service talents with a sincere appreciation of the nature of wine. “When I saw Flora Springs I realized immediately what a special place this place is. It’s amazing to be surrounded by this beauty every day.”
National Sales Manager/Western Region
A native of Iowa, John Schulz didn’t expect to have a career in the California wine industry. But when he came here in the 1980s and started working in the tasting room and cellar of a prominent winery, he decided to make California – and its signature industry – his home. Ultimately it was the sales side of wine that interested John most, and he’s spent nearly three decades in regional and national sales both at a wholesaler and as a representative of notable wineries throughout the state.
For John, working at Flora Springs is a bit of a homecoming, as he often visited the winery in the first part of his career when he came to Napa Valley. He remembers the early days of Trilogy, when it came on the scene as one of first Bordeaux red blends of Napa Valley. “This estate is a gem, an iconic Napa Valley winery,” says John. “Plus, there are very few wineries that have successfully made the transition to the third generation. It’s a legacy property.” As Flora Springs’ National Sales Director and a self-described streets-focused sales representative, John relishes the opportunity to work closely with distributor partners and key trade accounts to build strong winery relationships and communicate the Komes-Garvey story.
In addition to overseeing national sales for Flora Springs, John personally covers the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. John lives in Sonoma and enjoys playing guitar, camping, skiing and cooking.
Director of Winery Relations
Richard Tiedemann is a fifth-generation Napa Valley native whose family has been growing grapes in the Stags Leap District since the late 1880s. Although he grew up picking prunes and walnuts, he also worked in his uncle’s vineyard,a seven-acre plot — now planted to Zinfandel — of French Colombard and Chardonnay. “At the time there were only six or seven large wineries in NapaValley,” he says. “Small growers like my uncle sold their grapes to Mondavi, Inglenook, or sometimes the Napa Valley Co-Op.”
Richard quickly moved into a series of sales roles, with responsibility at various times for California, the northeast, the Midwest and western regions. “I think I’ve worked in nearly every state and U.S. territory other than Connecticut and Utah,” he jokes. Now, as Director of Winery Relations, Richard travels extensively throughout the U.S. as an ambassador for Flora Springs, hosting lively, interactive wine dinners and building lasting relationships with customers and fans.