Viader Vineyards & Winery
Born in Argentina, proprietor Delia Viader spent much of her formative years in Europe and especially in France (her father was in the Diplomatic corps). Delia came to the United States as a post-graduate student and holds a doctorate in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France and pursued advanced business Studies at three American universities: MIT, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. After MIT, she moved to California in the early 1980’s. During her studies, she realized the opportunities in the United States for both starting a career and raising children in a healthy environment. Recognizing the potential of Napa Valley as a wine region nearby and with an initial loan from her father, Walter Viader, she acquired the Howell Mountain property and set out to create a world class wine estate. All while raising four children on her own. Delia forged the vision and design for this unique hillside estate vineyard property, wine blend and brand in 1986.
Always “daring to be different,” Delia decided to bring the Bordeaux style of winemaking and pioneered unique vineyard cultivation to the California hillside by planting the vines in rows going up and down the mountain, following the path of the afternoon sun down the steep slopes of Howell Mountain. This European planting design had never before been implemented in the area. Soon after successfully releasing her first vintage (1989 Viader), it was clear that her efforts to develop the vineyard were worthwhile. With optimal sun exposure, and unique soil that allows for natural drainage, the vines struggle to survive in the rocky terroir and produce fruit of exceptional quality. Delia’s story illustrates the importance of education and understanding coupled with following one’s instincts.Delia’s son, Alan Viader, is responsible for winemaking operations and her daughter Janet Viader oversees the winery's sales and marketing efforts. Delia remains deeply involved in directing the family business, and is the ultimate self-proclaimed “wine-mother” (mother of the vines, wines, and the winemaker!).
Director of Operations
Alan has assisted in the vineyards at VIADER since childhood, primarily working during his summer vacation at the family residence and vineyard estate. Today he looks back fondly on those early mornings when he was responsible for manually clearing rock piles and shoveling tanks… His early education in wine tasting and wine evaluation sparked his respect for terroir-driven wines and for the many diverse viticultural practices employed around the world. He has visited and worked harvest in some of the world famous wine regions in Argentina, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and has traveled extensively throughout California's wine country.
In college, he formally pursued his interest in viticulture with a hands-on program in Sonoma and he learned the fundamentals of winemaking at UC Davis. There, he accumulated more knowledge and respect for the organic farming principles he grew up with at VIADER. Alan also spearheaded the biodynamic project with consultant Phillipe Armenier, integrating the biodynamic calendar and several herbal treatments to the vines and in the cellar with fervor. Alan has been managing the VIADER vineyards since 2002, but has worked in all areas of wine production, and also national sales. In 2006, Alan started dedicating his time to both vineyard management and winemaking, and would later become the Director of Operations, responsible for the 2005 vintage wines at VIADER.
In 2006, Alan married his beautiful wife Mariela who is a professionally-trained chef who also owns her own chocolate company, Bark 72. Alan and Mariela have young children and live happily in Napa Valley. Alan is an adventure-seeker and is often found hiking, skiing, camping and off-roading somewhere far out of cell-phone range. As Delia’s right-hand, Alan has the opportunity of overseeing production from start to finish. And having inherited his mother’s passion for winemaking and expressing the terroir, Alan is looking forward to many exciting vintages in the family business.
Sales and Marketing
Janet Viader grew up in the Napa Valley on the vineyards of VIADER which was founded in 1986 by her mother, Delia Viader. Janet has been involved in the family business since a very early age and has witnessed firsthand the growth of the business and brand. Janet studied Political Science at both the University of California at Berkeley and Sciences Po University in Paris, France. She loves wine and has traveled to the wine regions of western Europe, Argentina, and the Pacific Northwest improving her wine education, language skills and palate. She officially joined the family business in 2007 after working in Buenos Aires, and assisting the immigration counsel at Napa Legal Aid. Janet currently assists the family business with the wine club, sales, and marketing. With her brother Alan, she is part of “NG: The Next Generation in Wine,” a collaborative marketing group of second generation family vintners. Janet is also very involved in important issues affecting Napa Valley and the vintner community. She is one of the youngest Board Directors elected to represent the Napa Valley Vintners>, the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation, its wines and community, with a membership nearing 500 Napa Valley wineries.
Mariela was born Mariela de la Cerda, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Mariela and VIADER's winemaker, Alan Viader, were married in 2006. Mariela has always shown a passion for cooking, and was professionally-trained at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon (Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts). After finishing her studies she pursued her dream of being a chef and was contracted as an intern at Bouchon in Yountville, a sister restaurant of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in the heart of Napa Valley. Upon completing her internship at Bouchon, she was curious to explore other types of cuisine, and started working at Chef Hiro Sone’s Asian-inspired restaurant Terra in St. Helena. Simultaneously, Mariela cooked at Redd restaurant, under Chef Richard Reddington, formerly of Auberge du Soleil. Proving herself as a talented chef she was given an opportunity to help test and develop recipes for a number of cookbooks. In late 2006, she decided to leave the restaurant world to pursue a career as a private chef found herself cooking events all over the Napa Valley. Currently, she actively participates in the family business as Director of the Culinary Program at VIADER. With her own organic vegetable garden on the VIADER estate and another in her own backyard, Mariela always uses the most fresh and seasonal organic produce for all her wine-pairing dishes.
Shipping Manager & Quality Control
When Blanca first came to work for VIADER, she was not actually involved with the winery operations, although she had previous experience. In 1994, she was hired to help care for Delia’s youngest, Alex Viader, who was less than a year old at the time. Little by little, Blanca started taking on more responsibilities, when she had free time. She started reorganizing the Viader family’s home and the winery office. After seeing at the winery that Delia could not supervise everyone, Blanca offered to assist and teach the labeling and bottling teams. This led to her being offered a full-time position at the winery, doing quality control and also directing the shipping department which sends hundreds of orders each week out of the winery. By this point, Alex was in elementary school with Blanca’s daughter Jessica. The children feel like siblings, and Blanca is actually Alex’s godmother. Blanca came to California from the town of Atachéo, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico in 1991. Although most of her immediate family is in the Napa Valley, she tries to visit her hometown at least once a year, and has even taken Alex there for Christmas! Blanca is a kind and generous friend, loved dearly and appreciated by everyone in the Viader family.
Sean M. Quinn
In the Winery Cellar, Sean M. Quinn has been working diligently to prepare our winery for the 2015 harvest, and still finds time for the beautification of our entire production area. He comes to us after a 2-year introduction to wine production at Williamsburg Winery in his native state of Virginia, and an internship in Australia. He moved to California in 2008 to work at many leading wineries in both production and hospitality positions. Sean brings great attention to detail, perspective, and positive energy to the Viader Cellar Team. Hailing from the East Coast, he majored in theater production at the College of William & Mary. In his “spare time” he works with local events such as the Napa Valley Film Festival, Auction Napa Valley, BottleRock and enjoys sailing, softball and bocce.
Tasting Room Manager
With a diverse background ranging from surfer to sportscaster, Nantucket-born and raised Ian Dooley is also a Level 2 Certified Sommelier and WSET Certified. He has lived all over the world, including Chile, Peru, New Zealand, North Carolina, and more recently Florida. It was in New Zealand where Ian would begin to truly appreciate wine and where he would meet his wife Florencia. Previously working as a radio program director and sportscaster, Ian and his wife moved to Napa Valley in 2014 to immerse themselves in the wine industry. Ian is also an avid sports fan, surfer and fisherman. He also hopes to become a respectable golfer one of these days. Ian is now managing the hospitality at the Viader Tasting Room.
Gracing our tasting room each week, Connie is an enthusiastic member of our the Viader hospitality team. Born in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Connie grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan (known as “Door Country: the Cape Cod of the Midwest”). She did her university studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in arts & journalism, and has a Masters in Marketing. Over a decade ago, a winery project brought Connie and her husband Jim to the Napa Valley. “Plus all the great weather!” says Connie. They moved here full-time in 2005. As community members, they are very involved with local causes, and privately they enjoy collecting great Napa Valley wines! They have been collecting VIADER wines since the 1997 release, and her favorite wine at Viader is the “V” Petit Verdot blend. Connie also enjoys playing bocce in our local league.
Chip Fey comes to us from a luxury hotel background, having held important posts at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels and St. Regis properties all over the United States. Following a professional degree and career in hospitality management, he decided to change tunes in 2014 and enrolled in the Accelerated Wine & Beverage Program at the Culinary Institute of America. Immediately following his graduation, Chip took both the Level 1 and 2 Certified Sommelier exams on two consecutive days and passed! No doubt his extensive world travels played a role in his recent success. He also contributed a few days a month in the cellar during the 2015 harvest! Our newest Brand Ambassador, Chip is also a trained chef, and enjoys cooking, sailing, biking, hiking and spending time with his lovely wife Melissa.
Our host and Brand Ambassador, Addison Girdner is a Certified Sommelier and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America – both the Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and the Accelerated Wine & Beverage Program. Originally from Boise, Idaho, this creative food & beverage enthusiast brings his great attitude and professional training to our team, along with a great sense of style. He originally joined our team as sous-chef to Mariela Viader, and in 2014 worked as a harvest intern. Addison also worked harvest with us in 2015 as well. In his spare time he enjoys riding on back country roads on his new Ducati!
Pablo del Nido
Another great Brand Ambassador and host, Pablo del Nido was first introduced to Viader wines during his role as Portfolio Planner at our distributor in Puerto Rico. While he is actually a native Argentinian, Pablo just relocated to Napa Valley after he fell in love with the region after visiting for the first time last Fall. Also a Certified Sommelier, we are enjoying having a compatriot join our team to man the grill whenever necessary. Aspiring to learn all he can about wine production, Pablo committed to helping out Alan Viader in the cellar with the 2015 harvest.
Cellar Assistant & Quality Control
Starting his day early mornings with his cousin Maurilio, Efrain is responsible for the cellar work, and takes great care with all his tasks in the VIADER cellar. From topping the barrels, to racking, preparing equipment for harvest or bottling, he is a dedicated and detail-oriented member of the winemaking team. Efrain is often heard whistling or singing songs from his native Michoacán, Mexico down in the caves. He moved to Napa Valley fifteen years ago with his family, and soon found that the liked making wine. He was hired as a cellar hand, and Efrain also helps in the vineyard, with the Wine Club and labeling. On his days off, he plays soccer with Maurilio in the Napa Adult Mens Soccer League, and their team often takes first place.
Gabino Martinez Hernandez
Gabino was born in Oaxaca, and started at VIADER in 2003 along with his younger brother Anastacio who works with our vineyard crew. Gabino cares for the extensive gardens throughout the property, including Mariela’s organic vegetable garden. Gabino also has an artistic side, creating rock walls, planters and paths out of the endless piles of rocks displaced in the 1980s when the soil was tilled for planting. He also lends a hand to everyone around the property, whether it's the shipping department, the vineyard, or the kitchen. What is also impressive about Gabino is that he knows how to prepare the signature sauce from Oaxaca, a chocolate marinade called mole, and that he never loses his smile.