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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Michaela Louise Kelly, Estate Director

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Michaela comes to us by way of Chicago where she fell in love with wine while bartending at an Alinea Group Restaurant called Roister. After deciding to further her wine education, she transitioned to the sommelier team at Alinea, where she worked up until July 2020. Her long-term goal was always to move to the Napa Valley. When an opportunity to do a harvest internship with Schramsberg was offered, plans were accelerated. Following harvest, Michaela joined the team at PRESS and became the Assistant General Manager shortly after.

With a background in theater and dance, the narrative that wine presents has always resonated with Michaela. The rich history of Stony Hill Vineyard caught her attention early on in her wine studies with the Napa Valley. Michaela holds the role of Estate Director with the passion of continuing on the story and legacy of those before her and is excited to curate the next chapter of what Stony Hill has to offer.

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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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