Ridge Team

Our Ridge team members play a significant role in the organization and execution of our annual Somm Symposium, from members of the viticulture and winemaking teams to tasting room staff and the members of our wholesale team. Learn more about the team below.

Mark Vernon

Mark Vernon — CEO

Mark joined Ridge in 1998 as General Manager and was President & Chief Operating Officer for seven years. Working closely with the executive team, Mark is focused on insuring Ridge continues its more than sixty-year tradition of producing exceptional single-vineyard wines while at the same time insuring its financial success. Mark is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley where he earned a B.A. in Economics. After graduating from Berkeley he continued on to MIT and earned an M.S. in Management from the school’s Sloan School of Management.

Michael Torino — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

Michael Torino is Senior Vice President, US Wholesale Sales. In this position, Michael oversees our national distributor network and team of Regional Sales Managers. Michael joined Ridge Vineyards in 2008 as the Eastern Regional Sales Manager. With a strong passion for wine and an extensive travel itinerary Michael enjoys every minute of his job and sharing his fondness for Ridge with our wholesale, restaurant and retail partners. Originally from New York, Michael currently resides in South Florida with his wife Lisa and their son Leonardo.

John Olney

John Olney — Head Winemaker & COO

John began traveling to Europe at an early age where he was introduced to the culture of wine in France and Italy. He frequently visited the south of France where he spent time with his uncle, Richard Olney, the celebrated food and wine writer. Through his uncle’s relationships, John learned first hand many of the great European winemaking methods and traditions. In 1996, John began work at Ridge’s Monte Bello Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1999, he was put in charge of the Lytton Springs Winery where he oversaw the construction of the innovative 17,000 sq. ft. straw bale winery.

David Gates — Sr. Vice President Vineyard Operations

David grew up on a hundred-and-sixty-acre farm in central Minnesota and decided to escape the cold winters by coming to California for school. His love of plants and agriculture led him to UC Davis, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Viticulture, and met and married his wife, Donna. After an obligatory stint in Napa Valley, he made his way to Ridge in 1989. David’s duties include managing the historic Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Whitton Ranch at Geyserville, and the Lytton Estate vineyards at Healdsburg, as well as monitoring and helping all Ridge growers in the Sonoma, Napa, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

Trester Goetting

Trester Goetting — Winemaker, Monte Bello

Trester brings a wealth of experience to Ridge with his extensive background in crafting mountain cabernet and single-vineyard zinfandel. He has a quarter-century of California winemaking experience. Prior to joining the Ridge Team in January 2022, Trester was the Winemaker at Robert Biale Vineyards where he focused on zinfandel, petite sirah, Bordeaux and Rhône varietals from heritage vineyards. Before his work at Robert Biale, he was Winemaker at Napa’s Krupp Brother’s Stagecoach Vineyard and worked in winemaking at both Ladera Vineyards and St. Clement Vineyards. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from Humboldt State University in 1997.

Shauna Rosenblum — Winemaker, Lytton Springs

Shauna joined Ridge in 2022, bringing with her a lifetime of winemaking experience. Her father, Kent Rosenblum, of Rosenblum Cellars, introduced his winemaking passion to Shauna at an early age. In 2008, Rosenblum joined Rock Wall Wine Company as Winemaker. She directed a portfolio of over fifty grape contracts around California and oversaw all aspects of production on every lot of wine from crush to bottling. During her 14-year tenure at Rock Wall Wine Company, she rose to the rank of President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors.

Michael Bairdsmith

Michael Bairdsmith — Assistant Winemaker, Lytton Springs

A Northern California native, Mike discovered his passion for wine after receiving his bachelor’s degree from UC Davis. Having chosen English Literature as his preferred field of study instead of Enology however, he came to the wine world the way most liberal arts majors do: working in the restaurant industry. The natural beauty and world-class restaurants of Sonoma County drew Mike to Healdsburg in 2000. By 2003, his fascination with wine and winemaking inspired him to take the plunge and he accepted a cellar intern position at a small Dry Creek Valley winery. He quickly moved up to Assistant Winemaker and returned to school to earn an associate’s degree in Enology. Mike joined the Ridge team at the Lytton Springs location in 2014. He lives in Healdsburg with his family.

Kyle Theriot — Director of Vineyard Operations, Monte Bello

Born a third-generation apple farmer, Kyle grew up on his family’s 400-acre ranch in the Aptos hills of Santa Cruz County. Working the land at a young age, he grew a devout appreciation for agriculture and the farming lifestyle. Academically, Kyle was drawn to the “Learn by Doing” philosophy at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. He received his Bachelor of Science in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in Viticulture and elective focus in both Enology and Plant Protection Science. Kyle has been a part of the Ridge Vineyard Team since 2011, overseeing vineyard operations at Monte Bello.

Mauro Maldonado

Mauro Maldonado — Viticulturist

Mauro grew up on Montebello and is the son of two very hard working parents who have worked for Ridge since 2002. He first began working for Ridge at the age of 16 as part of the vineyard crew during the summers to make extra spending money and quickly realized he wanted to pursue a career in Agriculture. He earned his B.S. in Plant Science from Cal Poly Pomona with the goal of pursuing a career in Viticulture as well as focusing on other crop production in Mexico. After graduating, he worked in the Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon. Mauro recently moved back to California with his wife Jazmin and looks forward to growing with Ridge, this time in Sonoma.

Katie Blakely — International Sales Director

Katie Blakely began her career with Ridge in 2014 as our Manager of Retail Sales and Hospitality at the Monte Bello Winery and did a tremendous job for us in that role. After 4 years at Monte Bello, Katie transitioned to the Wholesale side of the business, taking on the role of Regional Sales Manager for the Central US. Over the next 3.5 years, she oversaw the distribution of Ridge wines in 20 states, working with 13 different distribution partners. In June 2021, she was promoted to International Sales Manager, and in 2024, to International Sales Director —representing Ridge on the global stage and overseeing export to 55 countries.

Christina Donley

Christina Donley — Regional Sales Director, Western Region

Christina Donley began her career at Ridge in 2003 when she was hired at the newly-constructed Lytton Springs winery. Her aspiration of becoming Ridge’s first Regional Sales Manager came to fruition only a few years after. Christina is honored to be a part of the Ridge Team and their commitment to producing wines of the highest quality.

Tom Deaso — Regional Sales Manager, Eastern Region

Tom started his career as Eastern Regional Manager with Ridge in 2016. His territory for Ridge covers the entire Eastern seaboard of 18 states with 19 distributors. His passion for wine was developed working in restaurants where he was responsible for two award-winning wine lists in Michigan.

Poppi Monroe

Poppi Monroe — Regional Sales Manager, Midwest Region

Poppi joined Ridge Vineyards in 2021 as the Central Regional Manager and has found nothing but excitement. “If given an opportunity to represent these wines, essentially the Grand Cru of California wines, then you are very blessed in the world of wine sales. Ridge as an organization is a collaboration of excellence. These are the most driven people I have ever had the pleasure of working with and they deliver with so much kindness towards each other that it truly is a privilege to call Ridge home”.

Ryan Johnson — Director of Marketing

Ryan joined Ridge in 2021 as Director of Marketing. Over the past 18 years, he has held marketing management roles in the wine industry in California, Oregon, and on the import side. Ryan lives in Santa Rosa California.

Murphy Young — Trade Development Manager

Murphy joined Ridge in 2015 at the Lytton Springs tasting room, moving to the Customer Service team in 2016. In April of 2019, she joined the wholesale team as Sales & Marketing Coordinator, and was promoted to Trade Development Manager in February of 2022. With a degree in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis, she brings a wealth of wine knowledge and passion to the team. She lives in Bozeman, Montana with her husband Adam, and daughter Olivia.


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