Remi Cohen of Napa Valley's Lede Family Wines wins winery ops officer award

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Remi Cohen

Chief Operating Officer

Lede Family Wines

1473 Yountville Cross Road, yountville


Visitors stop by fewer wineries but want richer experiences, says Remi Cohen of Lede Family Wines wins the winery chief operating officer category of North Bay Business Journal's Wine, Beer + Spirits Industry Awards for 2019.

The Business Journal asked her how she rose through the ranks of the top North Coast producers to become a sought-after voice of the Napa Valley wine business.

Detail your background in the industry:

Born and raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey, I was intrigued by the bohemian nature of Berkeley, California, and the robust science program at U.C. Berkeley.

Upon graduating from high school, I moved to Berkeley with plans to become a doctor or genetics professor.

After receiving a degree in molecular and cellular biology, I realized that I was more intrigued with plant science. Having developed a fascination with the wine industry, I enrolled in the master’s program for viticulture and enology at U.C. Davis, where I was excited about the multi-disciplinary studies of art, science, viticulture, winemaking, and marketing.

In 2001, I worked my first vintage as the harvest viticulturist for Saintsbury Winery in Carneros, Napa Valley. Following that experience, I was the vineyard manager at Bouchaine Vineyards for four years, before moving on to Merryvale Vineyards, where I oversaw all the farming, grower relations, and the direct to consumer sales programs as vice president of operations.

In 2010, shortly after receiving an MBA from Golden Gate University, I founded my own viticulture and winemaking consulting company called Vines to Wine.

While running Vines to Wine, I was introduced to Cliff Lede through viticulturist David Abreu, our vineyard architect. I bonded with Cliff over a shared vision for sustainable farming, gentle winemaking practices, and a no-holds-barred focus on producing the highest quality wines

In 2012, I joined Lede Family Wines full time as director of Winemaking and Vineyards. In 2014, I was promoted to vice president of Operations and general manager, and in 2018, to chief operating officer.

As the COO of Lede Family Wines, encompassing Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley and FEL Wines in the Anderson Valley, I direct the Cliff Lede Vineyards and FEL Wines winemaking process from vineyard to bottle.

I am responsible for top quality, small-lot winemaking expressive of appellation and vineyard site. In addition, I oversee sales, marketing, winery hospitality experiences, wine club programs, and the domestic and international markets.

I am an advocate of sustainable farming practices and have hosted lectures on sustainability and winegrowing for the Commonwealth Club, Society of Wine Educators, and the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, among others. I am currently serving as the president of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association and am a former Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ board member. I am also a Court of Master Sommelier Certified Sommelier.

Describe the impact your company or you have had on the industry in the last five years:

I have been involved in sustainable farming throughout my career, and I am pleased that Cliff Lede shares a similar commitment to enhancing the environment.

I have been involved in the Napa Green Land program since its inception and was pleased to achieve the Napa Green Land Certification for Cliff Lede Vineyards.

We are also a certified Napa Green Winery, confirming our commitment to sustainability through initiatives including solar power, recycling of winery process water for use as landscape irrigation, and low water use and energy saving equipment and protocols.

Remi Cohen

Chief Operating Officer

Lede Family Wines

1473 Yountville Cross Road, yountville


Our community has always been important to Lede Family Wines, and when our region was affected by the fires in October 2017, we too were affected by a loss of business and property damage.

However, we realized that we had an opportunity to help others in need, and we decided to donate 5% of all our revenue for the month of November to the Napa Valley Community Fund that supported the community’s recovery efforts.

We regularly participate in events and fundraising efforts, including, among others, Auction Napa Valley that raises money to support local non-profits that focus on health and education in Napa Valley, and Inspire Napa Valley that supports Alzheimer’s research.

Lede Family Wines supports the arts in our community.

We have permanent art installations throughout our property and a gallery that features rotating art exhibits. We participate in events such as Festival Napa Valley, which enriches the community through innovative performances and inspiring education program, and Nimbash that fuels arts programming at Nimbus Arts and throughout the community.

In 2015, I was honored to receive the Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 recognition as a tastemaker and influencer in the industry.

It was the year before that, in 2014, that I became vice president and general manager for Lede Family Wines, becoming one of the few women in the senior leadership position at a winery in Napa Valley. Our company supports women in the industry on many levels, and our team is composed of many women.

What are the accomplishments you can list to support that impact on the industry?

-Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery certifications

-Donation to the Napa Valley Community Fund and other philanthropic efforts

-Community support of the arts

-Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 award for Remi Cohen

What changes have you noticed in your industry in the last five years and how have you and/or your company moved to capitalize on those changes?

The ways in which visitors to Napa Valley are experiencing the region has changed dramatically in the last five years.

They tend to visit fewer wineries, opting for more intimate experiences at each one. As a result, at Cliff Lede Vineyards, we have elaborated and expanded our hospitality experiences and offerings.

We offer a range of tastings, from tableside service on our beautiful veranda while taking in the breathtaking views of the Stags Leap District palisades to an exclusive tasting of our limited production wines in our Backstage Lounge while enjoying the rotating art exhibits and listening to Cliff’s favorite rock music.

We are also seeing changes in the classic wine club, and we have diversified our offerings here as well.

We have launched two new memberships options, Debut and our Platinum Playlist. Debut is geared for newer customers and includes one bottle of each new release from FEL and Cliff Lede.

It is a great option for people who enjoy variety, and they can take advantage of our member benefits and savings without committing to a large quantity of wine.

For cabernet sauvignon fans and collectors, our Platinum Playlist membership guarantees access to our three top cabernets, including our Stags Leap District estate Poetry Cabernet.

As the grape market has changed in recent years, we have realized how important it is to have our own estate vineyards, both for availability of the varieties and to also ensure the quality of the grapes through controlling the farming process.

In the last five years, we have acquired two vineyards within Napa County, most recently 85 vineyard acres in the Carneros region, where we plan to grow a wide range of grape varieties for our programs.

This cooler region within Napa Valley is also exciting for us in the context of climate change and diversifies our estates throughout the valley. We have our own farming team that works year-round, full-time, and with benefits, which has become increasingly important as we continue to experience issues with labor availability, but we also believe it is socially responsible and better for the quality of our grapes.

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