Meet The Team
Pamela Hamel and George Hamel, Jr
Pam and George, Jr. met in high school in VA. Both had military fathers, who had retired after stints at the Pentagon. At the beginning of their junior year, Pam transferred to the school George was attending. They double-dated to their junior prom (each with different dates).
George’s initial wine memory with Pam occurred while courting her. Seeking to impress her, he took Pam to an Italian restaurant above his pay grade as a high school JV basketball coach. George looked around at the bottles of wine displayed that served as the wine list, and selected an Italian white, simply because it was in a bottle shaped like a fish. Pam eventually married him anyway.
Pam and George have lived in the Bay Area for 20+ years. In 2006 they bought a house in Kenwood in Sonoma Valley, primarily to escape summers in San Francisco. That house, where they now reside, came with an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon vines. That began their family wine odyssey.
George Hamel, III
George Hamel, III (affectionately known as GIII), is the Managing Director overseeing sales, financial, and business operations at Hamel Family Wines. He is a passionate advocate for the family business focused on crafting terroir-specific wines that highlight the distinctive characteristics of the family’s estate vineyards.
George has a B.A. from Bard College and an M.B.A. from Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute. He is currently Vice President of the Board of the Wine Business Institute and a former member of Bard College’s Board of Governors. Prior to joining HFW, George was a Financial Advisor with the Private Wealth Management group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New York City and Palm Beach. While he thrived in the investment world, he found himself wanting to return to the west coast where his family resides and began looking for ways to get back to California. Around the same time, George’s parents, Pamela and George Jr., were entering the wine industry, and GIII jumped at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help build a multi-generational family wine business.
“Having an investing background has provided me with a toolkit to oversee the sales and business side of a family business,” says George. “Those tools also help me educate our customers on Hamel Family Wines’ biodynamic winegrowing practices and share with them our true terroir-inspired wines.”
GIII enjoys spending his free time with his wife, family, friends, and two dogs, while actively supporting his community in a variety of ways, including his volunteer work at Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. Music is a big passion of his, having toured with a rock & roll band during his sophomore year of college. An avid sports fan, GIII has coached youth basketball and enthusiastically supports the San Francisco Giants, Wisconsin Badgers, Golden State Warriors, and San Francisco 49ers.
John Hamel, II
John Hamel, II, is the Managing Director of Winegrowing at Hamel Family Wines, overseeing all winegrowing and winemaking operations. While he holds the official title of winemaker, John views his role more as a winegrower, leading his team in crafting terroir-specific wines from estate vineyards, emphasizing biodynamic and organic farming practices and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques.
John’s path to wine was not a direct one. After receiving his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with academic distinction and Phi Beta Kappa honors, John took a job at an organic farm in Napa Valley, driven by an intellectual curiosity in the Slow Food movement. The job sparked his interest in wine, leading him to a accept a position at a wine-centric public relations firm, further fueling his growing passion for wine. When John’s parents, George Hamel, Jr. and Pamela Hamel, bought a vacation home with a small vineyard in Sonoma Valley, John decided it was an opportunity to try his hand at winemaking, and went on to earn his Winemaking Certificate from the University of California-Davis.
From 2011 to 2016, John immersed himself in the study and practice of winegrowing and winemaking with input from notable consultants, adding to his growing expertise and knowledge. After spending several years honing his techniques and absorbing everything he could about the specific terroir of his family’s estate vineyards, John officially took over Hamel Family Wines winegrowing and winemaking in 2017.
His continued evolution as a winemaker is progressively evident in each vintage of Hamel Family Wines, which John attributes to his increasing familiarity with the vineyards and the best techniques to cultivate and produce the highest quality of wines for each vintage. John is committed to biodynamic and organic farming practices and is working to implement dry farming across all of his family’s vineyards. “Our goal is to produce wines that connect people with the terroir of each unique vineyard site,” John says. “Practices like biodynamics and dry-farming allow the vines to have a deep and natural connection to where they are growing, and ultimately we strive to have this connection expressed in the wine.”
When he is not at the winery or in the vineyards, John spends as much time as he can with his wife, their twin girls and son. He also enjoys cooking, running, music, and spending time with their chocolate lab.
Brent Garrison is the Controller overseeing the financial reporting, analysis and ongoing financial strategy at Hamel Family Wines.
Brent has a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting from Biola University and is an active California Certified Public Accountant. A Sonoma County native, Brent found an interest in the wine industry while working at Moss Adams LLP providing assurance for the local wine industry. Prior to joining HFW, Brent was a Senior Manager at Allen Wine Group where he oversaw all aspects of client wineries’ financial and accounting needs.
In his spare time, Brent loves to spend time with his wife and their four children. He also enjoys doing all things outdoors including waterskiing, snowboarding and fishing.
Elke Humphreys is the Office Manager at Hamel Family Wines, overseeing human resources, accounting and inventory management.
Elke holds an Associate Degree in Small Business Management from Santa Rosa Junior College. Before joining HFW, Elke worked at PCAS-Nanosyn (formerly Serres Laboratories, Inc.) – a small contract research organization in the pharmaceutical industry – for eighteen years. Her business experience, strong organizational skills, attention to detail and multi-tasking capabilities make Elke an invaluable part of the HFW team.
When not keeping everyone in line at HFW, Elke enjoys spending time with her husband, gardening and learning to knit.
Giuseppe Tumbarello is the Viticulturist at Hamel Family Wines and is responsible for vineyard operations across our four estate vineyards and for managing a culture of precision viticulture that focuses on the utmost quality through biodynamic principles, dry-farming and extensive and rigorous soil and terroir mapping.
Giuseppe’s earliest memories of being in the vineyard were at the age of six on his family’s property in Marsala, Italy. He discovered the science of viticulture in his high school studies and decided to pursue it further, earning his B.S. in Agricultural Sciences at University of Palermo in Sicily and a master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Bologna with an emphasis on sustainable viticulture. Giuseppe’s passion for travel and discovery of the world’s wine regions began after earning his degree with a vineyard management experience in Tuscany and a winemaking internship in the Barossa Valley in Australia. In 2017, Giuseppe landed in Napa Valley where he practiced winegrowing at Gandona Estate on Pritchard Hill before joining HFW.
When he is not at work, he enjoys road biking, hiking, soccer, swimming and long road trips. He also loves good food and spends most of his time perfecting Sicilian cuisine to share with others.
Maura Kinsella is the Assistant Winemaker at Hamel Family Wines and is responsible for managing HFW’s winemaking operations that aim to capture the essence of our terroir through a meticulous method of vinification of lots by soil type and a utilization of traditional, low-intervention winemaking techniques.
Maura’s journey to winemaking began after a detour from professional cycling. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Maura set her sights on California for college, where she obtained a B.S. in Biology from Santa Clara University. During this time and for several years thereafter, she raced road bikes professionally and was a member of the USA National Team. After the 2015 World Championships, Maura went to Waipara, New Zealand for her first harvest experience at the Boneline Winery. In the fall of 2016, she began her master’s degree in winemaking and viticulture at the University of Bordeaux. Beyond her studies, Maura worked at Chateau Palmer in Margaux, the Ets. J.P. Moueix Chateaux in Pomerol and St. Emilion, Emiliana Organic Vineyards in Chile, and Eisele Vineyard in Napa.
When not working, Maura likes to run, travel, make cheese boards and, of course, ride a bike from time to time.
Director of Hospitality
Nicole Kosta is the Director of Hospitality at Hamel Family Wines and manages our hospitality philosophy and program, which seeks to provide the highest level of professional customer service to our guests.
Nicole, HFW’s resident Australian, has her B.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Adelaide in Australia – one of the best viticulture and winemaking schools in the country. Nicole found her way back to wine working in fine dining restaurants and luxury hotel hospitality, making her mark at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in San Francisco. Nicole, a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, decided to leave the hotel world and moved to Sonoma County to begin working in the wine industry, first for Dutton-Goldfield Winery and then for Benovia Winery before she joined HFW.
In her spare time, Nicole spends most of it with her energetic Australian shepherd, singing karaoke and learning as much as she can about wine.
National Sales Manager
Austin Merrick is the National Sales Manager at Hamel Family Wines and is responsible for bringing HFW’s portfolio of wines to key markets and developing distributor relationships.
Austin joined HFW with twelve years of experience in the fine wine industry, working on both the distributor and supplier sides of the business. A California native, Austin developed a passion for wine while attending Sonoma State University where he received a B.S. in Biology. He began his career at Regal Wine Company, where he served as District Manager and eventually, Region Manager of Northern California. In 2013, he was recruited by Foley Family Wines to serve as their Regional Sales Manager and support the acquisition of Epic Wines & Spirits. Most recently, Austin served as General Sales Manager at Napa-based Huneeus Vintners covering the twelve most western states.
When Austin is not on the road, he spends much of his time with his wife as they wrangle their two young sons between soccer matches and basketball drills.
Meet the Consultants
Alberto Antonini is an influential leader in the winemaking consulting business. An Italian oenologist and grower-producer, he has found his niche focusing on combining modern and traditional techniques to create authentic, pure, terroir-driven wines. “The Drink Business” magazine and “Decanter” magazine ranked him among the Top 5 Wine Consultants in the world in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Alberto has received an Oenology degree from both the Université de Bordeaux and the University of California, Davis and he earned a Doctorate in Agricultural Studies from the University of Florence. His client list spans the continent, working with wineries in Italy, the U.S., Argentina, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, Armenia and Australia.
He lives with his family on his estate “Poggiotondo” in Cerreto Guidi (near Florence in Tuscany).
Terroir & Soil
Terroir expert Pedro Parra’s invaluable knowledge runs deep—literally—into an understanding of every detail of terroir and the relationship between wine and terroir. He has spent his career immersing himself in soils, geology, geomorphology, climate, viticulture and oenology.
Pedro studied forestry at the Alliance Française, then went on to complete a PhD and Master’s degree in Precision Agriculture from the Institut Agronomique National in Paris where he studied agronomy and soil types. Pedro is also a wine producer, co-producing the Chilean cult brands ARISTOS and Clos des Fous, and working alongside Vosne-Romanee producer Louis Michel Liger-Belair. He is also partner with Alberto Antonini in Altos las Hormigas in Mendoza and started his family’s own project, Pedro Parra y Familia, in 2013.
Pedro also consults for some of the world’s greatest vignerons in Chile, Argentina, Italy, United States, Canada, Armenia, Uruguay and Burgundy.
In 1997, Corinne Comme and her husband Jean-Michel Comme took over Jean-Michel’s grandfather’s family vineyards in Bordeaux, in the outlying Sainte-Foy, transforming it into one of the region’s first organic properties. After two decades, Corinne is now a renowned Biodynamic Consultant, expanding her influence to U.S. vineyards in Virginia and California.
Corinne studied as an engineer in food science and technique in Bordeaux and worked in the agro-food industry for several years before immersing herself in biodynamic practices at Château du Champ des Treilles.
Following in his mother’s footsteps, Corinne’s son Thomas is converting Robin Williams’ former estate, Pym-Rae, to biodynamic, dry-farmed wines.
Garrett Buckland is a visionary viticulturist known for elevating the quality of vineyard sites while cultivating some of the finest grapes in the world. Garrett has been involved in all aspects of farming, from developing and managing some of Napa’s most renowned vineyards to rootstock trials and even winemaking.
Garrett received his B.S. in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. He perfected his skills working at his father’s Buckland Vineyard Management before starting Premiere Viticulture, a vineyard consulting company based in Napa, with Steve Matthiasson, and VineInfo, a vineyard software company and viticultural database for ultra-premium winegrowers. In addition to HFW, Garrett’s client list includes Acumen, Araujo, Arcadia Vineyards, Baldacci, Blue Rock, Bettinelli Vineyards, Hall Wines, Knights Bridge and Long Meadow Ranch among others.
Garrett is the Past President of the Napa Valley Grape Growers and the Napa Viticultural Technical Group, and past Conference Chair of the Association of Applied IPM ecologists.