People

Don Ross

Founder

After graduating from college Don went to work as an aerospace engineer on the Apollo Lunar Landing Project. In time Don became “Project Engineer for Lunar Mission Planning on the Apollo. After the second lunar landing he bought a small aluminum extrusion distributorship. The company is still run today by his family and it has become the largest manufacturer of shower enclosures in the country.

Joann Serafini Ross

Proprietor

I grew up in upstate New York and moved to California soon after graduating college. I have worked in the TV/Movie business and advertising. The longest time spent in the telecommunications business in Sales Management until 2004 when I left the 9 to 5 world to be with Don, the love of my life.

Together we enjoy all the amenities offered by living in the Napa Valley, dining in great restaurants, visiting with friends and most of all walking and hiking with our dog through beautiful vineyards and the lovely mountains, which border the valley.

Thomas Rivers Brown

Winemaker

Don met Thomas Rivers Brown when he joined a small wine tasting group soon after moving to the valley. Thomas is considered to be the finest winemaker in the valley. We were thrilled when he offered to make Shibumi Knoll wines.

Thomas Rivers Brown was born in Sumter, South Carolina. Thomas graduated from the University of Virginia after studying economics and literature. After graduation he followed his passion for wine to the Napa Valley where he began his career at Turley Wine Cellars in December 1997.  From there, he has gone on to become winemaker and consultant for not only Shibumi Knoll but Schrader Cellars, Double Diamond, Far Niente, Maybach Family Vineyards, Round Pond, Outpost, Pulido-Walker, Revana, Mondavi and many other brands including his own Rivers-Marie, Aston Estate, Caterwaul, Dorsey.

Thomas has an unwavering dedication to detail which drives his success in the wine industry. As a winemaker his gift is to make wine that is the purest expression of the site, where the wines are made with minimal intervention. As an expert consultant in the wine industry, he oversees all aspects of vineyard development and management.

 

Matt Hardin and Hardin Vineyard Management

Vineyard Management

Farming prowess runs in Matt Hardin’s veins. His family, on both sides, has been raising everything from grapes to walnuts, cattle, and wheat in Napa since 1849—on the same plots he tends today. He started farming hay with his father around the time he could hold a shovel, and he’d already accrued years of hands-in-the-dirt experience by the time he graduated high school and enrolled at Cal Poly in 2001. 

After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Science and Communications—plus minors in Wine and Viticulture and Agricultural Business with a concentration in Animal Science—Matt began working with personal mentor and Napa legend Larry Bettinelli, with whom he planted the renowned Sleeping Lady Vineyard. But Matt was eager to explore, so in 2008, he joined Jim Barbour’s team and spent the next twelve years managing some of the Valley’s most distinguished sites. 

Then in 2021, with the support of longtime teammates Mike Loconto ( Head Viticulturist), Luke McMullen (Director of Operations), and Danny Alfaro(Vineyard Manager), Matt founded Hardin Vineyard Management. Together with his team, he’s farmed more 100-point wines than anyone his age, thanks to a relentless devotion to improvement, communication, and creative thinking.

Matt has also partnered with close friend Thomas Rivers Brown to start two wine labels: Matthew Wallace and Caterwaul, which highlight his family’s historic properties and stellar sites from across Napa Valley. 

 

Tara Pray

Sales, Marketing and Compliance Manager

Tara joined the Shibumi team as Sales and Marketing Manager in 2018 after working as a buyer on the retail side of the wine industry for a number of years.  A native of New York, she moved to Napa in January 2017 and is enjoying all the beauty, experiences, and treasures that Northern California offers. When she is not visiting the wonderful tasting rooms of Sonoma and Napa, or enjoying wines from the Rhone Valley or WA state  (her two favorite regions), Tara could be found cooking, traveling, visiting family and friends or enjoying a wonderful night out with her husband.

Balthazar Ross AKA Bali

Very Important Dog

He was born on February 28th has four legs and a big toothy smile. He came to me on May 8th. My late husband Don Ross didn’t get to meet him but named him with a naturally big wine name. Balthazar is a 16-bottle bottle format of wine. Bali still has a lot to learn but he’s coming along nicely.

Tucker Ross

Very Important Dog

Tucker was my oldest partner for the past 15 years and my steadfast companion. He was with me through all of these past challenging years and offered unconditional love as only a beautiful big teddy bear of a Labrador can.

Sadly, Tucker passed away on the 23rd of September, 2022. He passed peacefully at his beloved Shibumi looking out the front door at the stunning views of vines and mountains on a sunny beautiful day. He was a true gentlemen dog and will be missed beyond measure but his spirit lives here on the knoll
and in our hearts.

Des Echavarrie

Scale Wine Group, Consultant

Desmond Echavarrie, Master Sommelier,is a true professional and has a passion and a sense of fun that mirror all the elements that make Shibumi what it is today.

During his tenure as a sommelier The French Laundry,  he was introduced to Shibumi Knoll wines and became friends with Don Ross. After many leading wine industry positions managing wholesale and direct sales, Des embarked on the most challenging endeavor of his career and launched Scale Wine Group.

With a mission to help small family-owned wineries elevate their brand through wholesale,
Scale Wine Group has grown into an amazing group of wine sales professionals representing
over 2o different brands. As liaisons and wine brand advocates, Scale has developed a strong
network of distributor partners and sommelier supporters throughout the country and
abroad.

Next


Vineyard and Wines