Rick Bonitati joined the Sequoia Grove team in early 2018, recently transitioning to President. With over 30 years of experience in the fine wine business, Rick’s passion for premium Napa Valley wines is a perfect addition to the Sequoia Grove Winery team. After graduating from University of Miami in FL with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Merchandising, Rick’s dream of a journey to the Napa Valley became a reality in the summer of 1984. After experiencing a week in the Napa Valley, he fell in love with the region, the wines and the people. It was on that trip he set a goal to be part of the wine community in Northern California.
Fast forward three decades, Rick is an accomplished leader who quickly moved up the ranks in sales and later in winery operations and management. Beginning his career with the Gallo Family, he later moved to Jackson Family Wines holding various roles from National Sales Manager to General Manager of La Crema and Hartford Family Winery, culminating as Senior Vice President of Production for California and Oregon in the mid 2000’s. There he worked with Napa Valley wineries such as Cardinale, Lokoya, Freemark Abbey, and Lajota. Most recently, Rick was the Chief Operating Officer for Paul Hobbs Wines’ domestic and import portfolio where his collaboration in Napa Valley was critical to the foundation of the wines.
Having involvement in winemaking, viticulture, marketing and sales over the years provides a vast array of experiences where Rick call upon the past while guiding towards the future. He believes it is imperative to “work hard and have fun doing it.” Rick’s passion for precision grape growing and crafting wines of distinction along with his pursuit of consistent development is perfectly aligned with the driving force behind Sequoia Grove’s dedication to excellence.
Winemaker Molly Hill oversees all winemaking and production operations of the winery as well as helping with grower relations and recommendations in the vineyards. Top-quality winemaking and grape growing, with passion, is her goal every step of the way. For Hill, balance is of utmost importance in making a great wine. “Balance to me means nothing stands out—not alcohol, not tannin, not acid, nor fruit nor barrel.”Although Hill joined Sequoia Grove at the relatively young age of 24, she came with experience from quite a few wineries, large and small. During her studies in the UC Davis viticulture and enology program, Hill learned the ropes at Beringer Wine Estates and later making Pinot Noir at Domaine Carneros. Upon graduation, she sharpened her skills and winemaking intuition first at Sea Smoke Cellars and then at Viña Isidro in Chile, where Michael Trujillo contacted her with a job offer. She joined Sequoia Grove in 2003 as assistant winemaker and was promoted to winemaker in 2008.