Team Bios | Bonterra Organic Vineyards

Team Bios

Bob Blue

Bob Blue

Founding Winemaker

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Bob Blue

Founding Winemaker

Bob Blue is a pioneer in the organic wine arena and the founding winemaker for Bonterra, with deep roots in Mendocino’s vineyards. Ironic, given that he grew up in a family of tee‐totalers in Lake County, California. His first taste of wine, in fact, happened on another continent. Bob joined the Army after high school and his world was opened when traveling through Germany as a GI. After graduating from UC-Davis, Bob joined Mendocino County’s McDowell Valley Vineyards and progressed through the lab and cellar.

In l988 Bob joined what he now calls “Fetzer University,” where he apprenticed and was mentored by legendary California winemakers Paul Dolan and Dennis Martin. He traveled to Bordeaux and Burgundy, and on to Australia and the Rhone, broadening his knowledge and sense of style. As General Manager of Fetzer’s Hopland Winery, he continued to influence winemaking and was made Red Varietal Winemaker before being name Winemaker for Bonterra.

Beyond Bonterra: Bob is a passionate table tennis player. He even has a table tennis robot, which has trained him to play ambidextrously!

Jeff Cichocki

Jeff Cichocki

Director of Winemaking

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Jeff Cichocki

Director of Winemaking

Born in Ohio and raised in southern California, Jeff headed north to Sonoma State University to earn a degree in Environmental Studies at a time when it was an emerging field rife with opportunity.

But Jeff was in Sonoma, and the lure of the vine is great. Especially if you’re an environmental planner who wants to dig even deeper into the local ecology. He began his transition as an apprentice in the cellar of Mill Creek Winery in Healdsburg, moving quickly to Cellar Master at Matanzas Creek Winery in Bennett Valley. Jeff’s theme was seeking out small family wineries that crafted fine wines with an eye towards being good stewards to the environment.

He moved on to Cakebread Cellars in Napa and B.R. Cohn in Sonoma Valley before taking on winemaking duties at Mendocino’s Jeriko Estate Winery in Hopland, a winery, not far from Bonterra’s McNab Ranch, that produces a variety of certified organic wines.

Jeff joined the team at Bonterra in 2007 and has been an incredible – and ongoing –wealth of knowledge and inspiration for our group.

Beyond Bonterra: Jeff’s three desert island songs? High and Dry –  Radiohead, Simple Song – Shins, Do You Realize? – Flaming Lips (all enjoyed with a nice beer, of course!)

Sebastian Donoso

Sebastian Donoso

Organic & Biodynamic Winemaker

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Sebastian Donoso

Organic & Biodynamic Winemaker

A passion for organic and sustainable practices infuses every aspect of Sebastian Donoso’s work as a winemaker for Bonterra Organic Vineyards. Sebastian grew up around vineyards in his native Chile, ultimately deciding to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Enology and Viticulture at California State University, Fresno. At CSU Fresno, Sebastian further refined his craft working under John Giannini, lead winemaker at Fresno State Winery and head of the school’s globally recognized enology and viticulture program.

Sebastian joined Bonterra Organic Vineyards in early 2017 from Campovida, a family-owned winery in Hopland, California, where he established an acclaimed winemaking program based on small-lot, vineyard-designated wines from organic and biodynamic Mendocino County vineyards.

Sebastian collaborates closely with Jeff Cichocki, lead winemaker for Bonterra Organic Vineyards, helping to shape the long-term vision for the company’s growing organic and biodynamic winemaking program.

 

Matt Tollini

Matt Tollini

Organic Vineyard Manager

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Matt Tollini

Organic Vineyard Manager

Matt is a lifelong resident of Mendocino County and grew up in the family business, Tollini Vineyards of Redwood Valley. He managed vineyard operations for organically farmed ranches totaling over 100 acres and over time, operated all vineyard equipment such as forklifts, backhoes, D-2 tractors, and ATVs. He claims to have driven his first tractor at the age of ten!

Matt attended Mendocino College where he studied Viticulture and General Education. When not in the vineyards, Matt enjoys hunting and fishing, and spending time with his kids and his Chocolate Lab, Moose.

Beyond Bonterra: Matt’s signature dish is his famous spaghetti which he enjoys preparing with a refreshing beer in hand!

Joseph Brinkley

Joseph Brinkley

Director of Organic & Biodynamic Vineyards

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Joseph Brinkley

Director of Organic & Biodynamic Vineyards

Joseph is really connected with the farm and all that surround it. He truly believes in Biodynamic farming “I’m enjoying learning the details of farming land, including best practices for compost and soil management—and gaining insight to anything that contributed to the overall health of the farm.”

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