Our Team

Meet the newest members of the Stony Hill Vineyard family! We are eager to familiarize ourselves with Stony Hill’s vineyards, history, and home to best preserve the legacy started by Fred and Eleanor McCrea so many years ago.

We appreciate the care and support given to the Stony Hill family by our neighbors and wine peers during this time of transition and discovery. Share a glass with us here on Spring Mountain!

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Jaimee Motley, Winemaker

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Jaimee first discovered her love for food and wine while growing up in her family’s restaurant business in Annapolis, Maryland. Her lifelong affair with wine was sparked and has since carried on throughout her career. After graduating from the University of Maryland, Motley moved across the country to San Francisco to pursue graduate school, but instead fell back to her first love of wine and worked with notable wine lists such as Loconda and RN74. She traveled the following years all over the world, studying and working in vineyards and wineries. Returning to California, Motley was appointed assistant winemaker in 2015 at Pax Wines in Sonoma County.

Motley made her initial visit to Stony Hill following the 2011 harvest and became captivated with the majestic land and possibilities the historic vines could produce. She caught the attention of Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr., with her mindful and delicate style of winemaking; he later appointed her as Stony Hill’s winemaker.

“Stony Hill Vineyard has held a special place in my heart,” Motley says, describing the various plots of land as having “the ability to present us a looking glass into the history of California terroir and the future of transparent winegrowing.”

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Laurie Taboulet, Estate Director

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With familial roots set in France, Laurie spent her early years living in Paris and later studied at the Bordeaux Business School, where she received her master’s degree in management. She began her wine journey in Paris working for Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine in Northern Rhone and Grand Cru Classe Chateau La Lagune in Haut-Medoc. Relocating to the United States and Boston in 2013, she oversaw the North American market for a Bordeaux negociant.

A few years later, Taboulet moved to the Napa Valley, which coincidentally was her birthplace. She continued her wine endeavor working several harvest seasons in California and Oregon, including Pax Wines, where she, unknowingly at the time, met her future Stony Hill counterpart, Jaimee Motley. Before Stony Hill, Taboulet ran the national and international sales at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga.

Taboulet steps into Estate Director’s role at Stony Hill Vineyard, bringing a fresh perspective to the winery, and feels strongly about maintaining the property’s integrity.

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Brian Shrader, Hospitality Manager

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Brian’s passion for wine always led to hospitality. The wine was fascinating and beautiful, but combining it with making people feel great as if they were all old friends enjoying wine together at home, was the true calling. This brought him to some of the most acclaimed dining rooms in the United States, including the James Beard laureate Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, and the 3-star Michelin The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley. It was also a major driving force in passing the Advanced Sommelier Examination in 2018 and continuing preparation for the Master Sommelier Exam.

As Hospitality Manager of Stony Hill, Brian brings the skills and knowledge from the highest levels of wine-hospitality to welcome guests to experience an icon of Napa Valley in both its historical glory and limitless potential.

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Julia Minnillo, Member and Guest Relations Manager

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Julia is a hospitality professional with over fifteen years of experience and holds a background in Journalism and Marketing. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Julia moved to the east coast to study at Boston University’s School of Communications and simultaneously began her career in the restaurant profession. Here she found her desire for all things food, wine, and entertaining. She continued her growth in hospitality in New York City, working in Michelin Star restaurants including Danny Meyer’s Maialino and Lydia and Joe Bastianich’s Del Posto.

In 2015, Julia returned to her home state of California and settled in Napa Valley to further establish her career in the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. There she graduated to a Captain position at the 3-star Michelin restaurant The French Laundry, and later to Marketing and Social Media Associate for all of TKRG’s casual restaurants.

Combining her hospitality knowledge, love for wine, and writing experience, Julia looks forward to leading the allocation list program and delivering exceptional guest experiences.

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Renee Berkus, Cellar Master

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Renee grew up in Santa Barbara in a family of architects, builders, and interior designers. While not following in her family’s exact footsteps, Renee believed it had shaped how she views the world and the art of winemaking. Renee attended the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Program to provide a solid foundation for her understanding of grape growing and wine science. After graduation, she pursued harvest internships both locally and abroad, including Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, and South Africa. She also worked with naturally focused, diverse, and thoughtful wines at both Satellite and Bibi Ji in Santa Barbara. These experiences solidified her passion and helped develop Renee’s understanding of the practical and artistic decisions in vinification.

Renee has joined the winemaking team and will assist in all property facets, including farming, care of livestock, property management, and much more!

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