Team

Ken Laird

Ken Laird

Owner

My first trip to Napa was on a camping trip with my family. The beauty and lifestyle of this valley, in the early seventies, was too much to resist. It became my life’s ambition to live in and be a part of the family industry here. Eventually, I left the corporate world behind and was able to do just that.

My Favorite Laird Wine, Ghost Ranch Pinot Noir.

Rebecca Laird

Rebecca Laird

General Manager

Having been brought up in viticulture, I was tying vines at the age of five. Needless to say, I left the area as quickly as I could after my high school graduation. Fifteen years later I was a department store executive with a bad case of retail burn out. I came back to the Napa Valley and realized everything I was looking for was right here all along.

My favorite Laird wine: Phantom Ranch Pinot Noir.

Brian Mox

Brian Mox

Consulting Winemaker

Born and raised in the upper Midwest (Michigan and Wisconsin), I was destined to be an engineer while attending MIT until after my junior year of college. Taking a semester off to pursue my interests in cooking and restaurants I discovered the pleasures of sharing a nice bottle of wine with a good meal. Realizing that chef’s work way too hard, I abandoned my dreams of culinary school and quickly changed my major to Chemistry, the closest thing to winemaking. Two years later I moved to Napa to pursue my winemaking dream. Being a hands-on person, I started as a harvest lab intern and then cellar rat before moving my way up through ranks at wineries including Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Pine Ridge. After an initial stint at Laird Family Estate as Technical Director and Winemaker when it first opened in 1999 I worked as winemaker for Tony Soter at Etude Wines. This experience shaped many of the philosophies that I hold today regarding winemaking. For me the best wines are balanced and refined, yet concentrated, while maintaining a sense of place, aka “Terroir”. I try to respect the quality of the fruit by using many traditional methods integrated with the improvements we have gained using some modern techniques and the knowledge of research. In the end, the best wines should be a reflection of the quality and character of the vineyard site.

Outside of winemaking, I like vegetable gardening, pickling, and canning as well as cooking. My favorite Laird wine is the Flat Rock Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, although I enjoy all the variety of wines we produce.

Eric Heikell

Eric Heikell

Cellar Master

I was born and raised in Napa and started in the wine industry in 1997 helping my father in law in the family vineyard and also working as a warehouse captain at a wine warehouse. From there I worked at Trinchero Family Estate for eight years, that’s when I realized I wanted to work in the cellar closer to the winemaking. So I started growing my own grapes and making small 2 to 4 ton lots with the help of Winemaker Barbara Spelletich. Realizing I had so much more to learn I came to Laird Family Estate to work in the cellar and worked my up to cellar master.

I love spending time with my wife and daughter, working in the yard with the family, playing hockey and surfing. My favorite wine changes depending on the time of year or my meal. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio on a warm summer day or Napa Valley Cabernet and Syrah in the evening with dinner.

Justin Ward

Justin Ward

Director of California Sales

What started as a passion for Italian wine, turned into managing a wine shop after college in Richmond, VA. I decided to forget my law school plans and drive cross country to Napa Valley where I was lucky to be hired at Laird Family Estate.

In my free time I enjoy golf, basketball, fly fishing and watching the Giants and Jeopardy. My Favorite Laird Wine is the Suscol Syrah.

Clarke Knippen

Clarke Knippen

Tasting Room & Wine Club Manager

I got my first introduction to wine when I started working in restaurants in the Napa Valley when I was 18. After working in the restaurant industry for almost a decade I developed a strong passion for wine especially having been born and raised in Napa. I was fortunate enough to find the Laird Family as my introduction to the wine industry and haven’t looked back since!

When I’m not at the winery you can usually find me either fishing/hunting, watching football/baseball, or tending to my garden chickens and ducks! My favorite Laird wines are a toss-up between the Phantom Pinot Noir and the Mast Ranch Cabernet.

Madeleine Rose

Madeleine Rose

Tasting Room and Hospitality

One of my very first memories was picnicking at Buena Vista Winery with my family when I was 3 years old. Even at a young age I was enchanted by the beauty and the culture of the entire experience. As I grew up, my enchantment turned into a passion, and my passion turned into my career. After graduating from UCSD, I took wine classes through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and I received certificates at both the intermediate and advanced level. Shortly after that, I found my new home at Laird Family Estate.

Aside from being a total wine geek, I love to travel and I’m pretty much obsessed with history. I majored in history, and it will forever remain one of my favorite topics of discussion. My favorite Laird wine is our Mast Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Scott Sanders

Scott Sanders

Tasting Room Associate

My humble beginnings in wine started in my teens when my best friend and I acquired a bottle of Cold Duck and hid it in the bushes on a hot Burbank night. Understandably it took me years to get the “warm” Cold Duck taste out of my mind. Years later while earning my Marketing degree at the University of Redlands, I enrolled in a class called “Classical Music and Wine Tasting”. I was immediately taken with wine and embarked on a quest to combine my two favorite hobbies: Wine and travel. I hosted blind tastings in my dorm room and later organized wine trips throughout California. A decade later I left an unsatisfying corporate job to come to Napa Valley. I worked at numerous wineries including a 17 year stint at Merryvale Vineyards, where I worked in the tasting room, special events room, and sold wine to retailers and restaurants in San Francisco. As Merryvale buys grapes and crushed at Laird, I stopped by to try Laird wines. I was so impressed I came back the next week and offered my resume.

Choosing my favorite Laird wine is like choosing your favorite child. Still, I love the rich full bodied elegance of the Suscol Ranch Syrah. On my free time…I have kids, there is no free time! Still, when I get a break, I travel, camp and go wine tasting.

Andrew Frasier

Andrew Frasier

Tasting Room Associate

Being Born and raised in Napa it was a matter of time before I found my way into the winery business, Laird gave me my first start in the wine industry, after moving back to Napa from the Southern California, and discovering a passion for the wine industry. I fully submerged myself into the industry, by working both in the Tasting Room as well as in production.

My Favorite Laird wine was our, 2008 merlot, and our current release 2012 Phantom pinot. When I am not working, my time is spent with my Family, or trying to master the sport of golf.

Ty Lopez

Ty Lopez

Tasting Room Associate

Having grown up in the Napa Valley, I was introduced to wine at a very young age. When I reached middle school, the Biale Family took me under their wing and gave me my first real job working in the vineyards. This is where my interest in wine first began. After High school, I left the valley as soon as possible, only to return at twenty one, realizing the Napa Valley was one of the best places on earth. Laird has given me the chance to expand my wine knowledge and discover a true passion for the industry. I love what I do.

When I’m not at the winery, you’ll find me hunting, fishing, camping or enjoying quality time with my wife and family. My hands-down favorite Laird wine is our 2012 Flat Rock Malbec. I love its big bold style and sturdy finish.