Spotlight on Leaders at Independent Wine Companies

Following are profiles of the top day-to-day leaders from the Business Journal's lists of the largest independently owned wineries under 100,000 cases, published in March, and the largest wine companies, published in May.

Listed alphabetically by company name.

Tim MatzAccolade Wines349 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg 95448, 707-473-2325, accolade-wines.com

Tim Matz has been managing director for Accolade Wines' North American operations since September. He formerly was president of Foley Family Wines, Langtry Estate & Vineyards, Jackson Wine Estates International and North American operations for Southcorp and Fosters Wine Estates.

Making a major entry into the U.S. wine market, Australia-based Accolade at the beginning of June acquired Sonoma County brands Geyser Peak and XYZin plus Napa Valley-oriented Atlas Peak from Ascentia Wine Estates. Healdsburg-based Ascentia started in mid-2008 with the acquisition of eight brands from Constellation Brands and effectively closed this month with sales of brands to Accolade and E&J Gallo.

Accolade itself formed in January 2011 when a fund managed by CHAMP Private Equity of Australia purchased an 80 percent stake in Constellation Wines Australia and Europe from Constellation Brands for A$290 million. The group produces the major wine brand Hardys from Australia and and owns half of Matthew Clark, a major U.K. drinks wholesaler.Hank WetzelAlexander Valley Vineyards8644 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg 95448, 707-433-7209, avvwine.com

Harry "Hank" Wetzel, proprietor and winemaker, and his wife, Maggie, purchased the property in 1962 from the family of Cyrus Alexander, after whom the valley is named. Their oldest son, Hank IV, launched the winery in 1975. Production last year was 135,000 cases.Mike BenzigerBenziger Family Winery1883 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen 95442, 888-490-2739, benziger.com

General manager, winegrower and Tribute winemaker Mike Benziger and his wife, Mary, co-founded the winery in 1980, and since that time the family business has been a leader in environmentally friendly winegrowing and advocate for Biodynamic farming.

National Resources Defense Council awarded Mr. Benziger its 2010 Growing Green award in the "Water Steward" category, choosing him from 170 industry leaders based on the winery's demonstrated water-efficiency, sustainable water use and the protection of water quality.Jean-Charles BoissetBoisset Family Wines849 Zinfandel Ln., St. Helena 94574; 707-963-6172, boissetfamilyestates.com

Jean-Charles Boisset is president of a Boisset Family Wines, which added the 155-year-old Buena Vista brand to its international portfolio in May 2011 in a purchase from Ascentia Wine Estates. 


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