People


Family first — wine, always.

We make the wines we love, to be shared with those you hold most dear.

 

Larry Turley

Proprietor

Born in Tennessee and raised in Georgia, Larry has spent the better part of his life on a farm.  This being the south, they were primarily tobacco and dairy farms; nevertheless, his respect for the land and its cultivation began at a young age.  As an adult, Larry channeled this passion for preservation towards people, studying medicine and working as an emergency room physician.  After moving to California in the mid-seventies, Larry came home from the ER one night to discover someone camped on his property.  After first driving his motorcycle through the tent (this was, after all, the 1970’s in the “wild wild west”) he met its occupant, John Williams, the soon-to-be winemaker at Spring Mountain.  After sharing a glass of wine, they became friends; a few bottles later, they became business partners.  Frog’s Leap Winery was begat in 1981, with Larry on a tractor by day and suturing by night.

The winery enjoyed quick success; however, much like Athena originated as an ache in Zeus’ head, the impetus for a smaller, more focused project began to take shape in Larry’s mind.  He’d taken a shining to the wines made from Zinfandel & Petite Syrah, growing particularly fond of those made from old vine vineyards.  Eventually he sold his half of Frog’s Leap to John and started Turley Wine Cellars in 1993.

Because Larry has never met an old vine vineyard he didn’t like, Turley now makes 28 separate wines from 35 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s.  Often weak and decaying, these old vine vineyards require extra care and attention in order to restore them to their former glory.  After twenty-five years in the emergency room, Larry can now focus his resuscitative skills on the various old vineyards that comprise the wines he loves.


Tegan Passalacqua

Director of Winemaking

A veritable human viticultural vade mecum, Tegan shares Larry’s passion for old vine vineyards and the wines they painstakingly produce.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Sacramento State in 2001, Tegan got his start in the wine business as a lab technician at Napa Wine Company, supplemented by night classes in Viticulture & Oenology at the Napa Junior College.  In 2003 he headed to New Zealand for an internship with Doug Wisor at Craggy Range.  While there he sent a letter to Ehren Jordan, then winemaker for Turley.  Tegan was hired as a harvest intern in 2003 but was quickly offered a full time job when his talent in the vineyard became apparent.  Tegan has since further honed his skills working harvests with Alain Graillot in the northern Rhône Valley as well as Eben Sadie in Swartland, South Africa.

Between his travels & rigorous vineyard duties, Tegan began gradually taking on more of the Turley winemaking responsibilities as well, eventually becoming head Winemaker & Vineyard Manager in 2013.  A founding member of the non-profit Historic Vineyard Society, he now oversees the winemaking and vineyard duties for all 35 vineyards and 28 wines, logging some serious miles on his Subaru.


Rich Richardson

CEO & General Manager

A California native born in Burlingame, Rich has lived throughout the state and finds great joy and fulfillment living and working in beautiful Napa Valley. Early on Rich had a passion for wine and food. While attending California State University Fresno and working in restaurants to pay the college bills, Rich took a wine appreciation class that inspired a lifelong passion for wine. His enthusiasm for the wine industry and its people is as robust today as it was the first day his wine career began. The wine industry has taken him all over the world. Rich has been immersed in family owned wineries from Napa Valley to Paso Robles, Spain and France. Rich worked for Robert Mondavi Winery and Opus One for 15 years, Justin Vineyards and Winery for 10 years, and two other family wine businesses before his good fortune brought him to Turley Wine Cellars as General Manager. Rich enjoys the passion and the dynamic energy of family wineries; working with charismatic wine visionary entrepreneurs is a study in future success and a vast learning experience, as you never know how tomorrow is going to unfold. Rich is at his happiest when he is near the vines and co-workers who share his passion for growing and making outstanding wine.


Mike Schieffer

Assistant Winemaker

Mike only somewhat jokingly refers to his journey in the wine industry as an example of the proverbial blind squirrel finding an acorn. After graduating from American University in Washington, DC, he dreamed of being a professional rugby player (some might argue those were delusions of grandeur), or settling into a more practical career as an attorney.

Working in Legal Affairs for the Discovery Channel, however, he fell in love with wine, and that was that. He inexplicably never played rugby professionally, but longstanding connections from the game did lead Mike to his first harvests in St. Emilion with Clos Cantenac and later at Drayton’s Family Wines in Australia’s Hunter Valley, with the latter being his first experience working with truly old vines and witnessing firsthand the stark difference in the quality of wines they produce.

A chance encounter back home in Austin, Texas, with a winemaker from Beaulieu Vineyards brought him out to Napa Valley to work at the historic winery. He eventually made his way to the rocky slopes of Keever Vineyards in the hills above Yountville. Working there by day, he enrolled in night courses at Napa Valley College studying advanced chemistry, oenology and viticulture. Mike joined Turley in the spring of 2013, drawn in no small part to its singular portfolio of California vineyards, an experience which also immediately brought his winemaking philosophy into sharp relief. Mike was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in St. Helena two years later and continues to be staggered by his good fortune.


Christina Turley

Director of Sales & Marketing

The oldest of Larry’s four daughters, Christina spent summers growing up working beside her father in the winery.  She moved to New York to attend Barnard College at Columbia University, and graduated in 2006 with a BA in Art History.  After a brief stint at Matthew Marks Gallery, she buckled down and finally got serious about wine, becoming a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and passing the WSET Advanced program with Honors.  She became entrenched in the NYC restaurant scene and eventually worked her way up to become the beverage director for the Momofuku Restaurant Group.  After 8 years in New York her father finally guilted her into returning to her roots, and following a temporary period as a sales representative for Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants, Christina joined Turley full time in 2010.


Karl Wicka

Winemaker, Paso Robles

After finishing his Bachelors’ in Fruit Science from Cal Poly in the winter of 1994, Karl embarked on a 9 year employment at Wild Horse winery in Templeton. There, Karl learned vast amounts about Central Coast vineyards and where grape varieties performed at their peak. In 2002, after a focused marketing blitzkrieg of his personal skills, Karl convinced Larry to take him on at Turley.  Eleven vintages and one 6.5 Richter earthquake later, Karl continues to lead our winemaking efforts down in Paso Robles with pride.


Brennan Stover

Vineyard Manager, Paso Robles

While on an academic trip to Mexico, Brennan saw his first winery and something “clicked” with the Psychology/Anthropology student.  He soon supplemented his curriculum with horticulture classes at Kansas State University, eventually landing employment at a (perhaps the only?) Kansas winery.   This being a rather small, pioneering operation –and, ahem, in Kansas—Brennan did everything himself:  winemaking, vineyard management, lab work, even sales.  Eventually tiring of working only with hybrids in the harsh continental climate, he sent his resume out to California with sunshine and Vitis Vinifera in his sights.  Turley snapped him up, and he’s been an intrinsic part of the team in Paso Robles since 2001.


Malani Anderson

Manager, Paso Robles Tasting Room

Malani’s family have been residents of the Central Coast for 4 generations. Since most of them worked in various fishing industries, Malani’s entrée into the glamorous world of food & wine was peeling shrimp by hand as an 11-year-old child. She was ecstatic when, the following summer, she was promoted to the “squid squad.”

Soon, however, Malani realized she preferred the company of (some) folks to that of fish, and worked in restaurants until landing at Wild Horse Winery in 1992, where she eventually managed their tasting room. After an additional stint schlepping local wines for a distributor in the area, she joined Turley in Paso Robles nigh the moment they opened, in February 2001. She is a strong believer in Turley’s goals of preserving their old vines and enriching the land through natural farming practices, as it in turn supports the local communities of her ancestors!  


Nick Finarelli

Assistant Winemaker, Amador

Originally from southern New Mexico—not far from where the atomic bomb was detonated, which may explain a lot—Nick has been an Amador local since the sixth grade. After a brief stint in San Francisco, he returned to work the bottling line at Renwood, and was pulled into cellar work after only a week. There he took a shining to winemaking, and soon became cellar master. After receiving his degree in Fermentation Science from Fresno state, where he was also the president of the Oenology Society and worked part time at a wine store, he parlayed an internship at Benovia in the Russian River Valley into a full-time gig as Oenologist & Assistant Winemaker. Searching for an opportunity to head back up to Gold country, Nick joined Turley as Assistant Winemaker in Amador in 2013.

 


OUR VALUES

We are genuine and loyal to our people, our vineyards, and our wines.

Like our wines, we are generous, unique, and over-deliver in all we do.

We have fun and put the interest of others first.

We value education and continuous learning,
and encourage our people to reach their full potential and shine.

We act with integrity wherever we are, whatever we do — even when no one is watching.