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Meet Our Team

The world’s best wines reflect both the character of the remarkable vineyards they come from and the people who make them. Embodying decades of skill, artistry and innovation, our team is dedicated to making exceptional Los Carneros wines from our acclaimed Tai Estate Vineyard in the Los Carneros region of Napa Valley.

Dan Zepponi
President & CEO

Dan Zepponi

As the president and CEO of Two Estates Wine Collective, Dan Zepponi literally brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to his role guiding the future of Cuvaison. Having worked in every facet of the wine industry, Dan applies what he calls a root-to-wine approach that empowers his team to create wines that are quintessential expressions of their appellation, and of the the historic Tai Estate Vineyard where they are grown. In 1969, the same year that Cuvaison was established, Dan’s father, Gino Zepponi, cofounded ZD Wines. “Other than my time in school,” Dan says, “I was completely immersed in the winery. By the time I was a teenager, I’d learned to drive a tractor, prune, fill barrels, run the crusher, do lab analysis—you name it. I also learned that running a successful family business is about care and quality, and that it requires hard work and integrity.” In the years since, Dan has earned a reputation as one of the most visionary executives in the wine industry, holding positions as senior vice president of production at Beringer Wine Estates, president of the Mark Anthony Group, president of Vintage Strategies, and president and partner at West Coast Wine Partners. In 2016, Dan returned to his independent winery roots, when he was named the president and CEO of Two Estates Wine Collective.

Steven Rogstad, Director of Winemaking
Director of Winemaking

Steven Rogstad

A master of cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, director of winemaking, Steve Rogstad has spent most of his professional life making wine in the Los Carneros appellation. Since 2002, Steve has guided the winemaking at Cuvaison, crafting wines that have earned renown for their seamless balance and vineyard-inspired depth and complexity. Working with Cuvaison’s acclaimed Tai Estate Vineyard for more than 20 years, Steve has refined a vineyard-driven approach to winemaking that takes advantage of the site’s remarkable diversity, including doing as many as 80 individual fermentations each vintage—a small-batch, labor-intensive approach that defines Cuvaison’s estate-grown wines. Born and raised in North Dakota, Steve fell in love with wine while traveling abroad and living above a wine shop in Paris. While attending the masters of enology and viticulture program at UC Davis, Steve worked at La Crema, where he gained invaluable hands-on experience making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with legendary winemaker Dan Goldfield. After university, Steve joined the team at Saintsbury, before being named the assistant winemaker at Rombauer. Prior to joining Cuvaison, Steve spent six years as the winemaker at Clos Pegase in Los Carneros. Since becoming winemaker in 2002, Steve has been widely recognized for making many of the finest wines in Cuvaison’s history. “Great wines are the culmination of years of knowledge and experience,” says Steve. “For 20 years, I have had the incredible fortune to work with a grand cru-caliber vineyard to create wines that honor Cuvaison’s roots, while also helping to lay the foundation for the next fifty years.”

Jaki Palacios, VP, Marketing & Trade Development
VP, Marketing & Trade Development

Jaki Palacios

As VP, marketing & trade development, Jaki Palacios utilizes her extensive experience in brand strategy and aesthetics, digital marketing and consumer engagement to tell the story of Cuvaison. After earning her bachelor of science degree from the Art Institute of California, Jaki began her career at Constellation Brands, where she was the associate marketing manager for Robert Mondavi Private Selection. Since then, Jaki has served as account supervisor at NSight Connect, specializing in digital marketing, as brand manager for Kroger beer and wine at Winery Exchange, and most recently, as brand manager for C. Mondavi and Family, where she led the highly successful repositioning of the Charles Krug brand. “At Cuvaison, every wine we make is an extension of the vision and values that have made us a leader in Los Carneros for over five decades,” says Jaki. “They are also the foundation that our next 50 years will be built upon.” Jaki splits her time between Napa and Miami, with her husband, two sons and their two dogs.

Image of Michael McNeil, headshot smiling
Director, DTC & Hospitality

Michael McNeil

Mike McNeil brings more than two decades of luxury wine experience to his role guiding the hospitality and direct-to-consumer programs for Cuvaison and Brandlin Estate. A believer in the values of teamwork and perseverance, Mike strives to foster an empowering culture of passion and positivity, while encouraging team members to innovate and think creatively, with the constant goal of continually elevating the Cuvaison guest experience. As a key element of this philosophy, Mike and his team are committed to the concept of “effortless luxury,” a thoughtful and gracious approach that treats each customer as an individual on their own unique wine journey. Mike grew up in San Rafael, California, where his family instilled a belief in taking care of others and that many hands make light work—ideas that became core tenets of his approach to hospitality. At the age of 18, Mike began working as a cashier in the tasting room at Viansa Winery and quickly fell in love with the world of wine. So much so, that while earning both a BA in organizational communications and an MA in public communication from Cal State University, Chico, Mike continued working at Viansa during summers and holidays. After graduation, Mike returned to Viansa, where he became director of operations. In the years that followed, Mike served as the DTC manager for St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, the DTC sales manager for Diageo, where he oversaw DTC sales for Acacia, Hewitt, Provenance and Sterling, and as the regional general manager of hospitality for Treasury Wine Estates. Mike later went on to guide the hospitality experiences at Beringer, Beaulieu Vineyard, Chateau St. Jean and Etude. Prior to joining Cuvaison in 2023, Mike spent four years as VP of sales and hospitality at Donum Estate, where he reimagined the customer experience and dramatically increased sales and visitation. For Mike, joining the Cuvaison team was serendipitous and inspiring. “Years ago, when my wife and I got engaged, we came to Cuvaison with our families to celebrate. When we drove up the driveway it felt like we were entering a different world. From the beauty of the property to the warmth and attentiveness of the service, it was a joyful and unforgettable day. Those are the kind of experiences we strive to provide.” As part of his commitment to creating memorable moments for our customers—both near and far—Mike believes in the power of perseverance. “As a team, we don’t stop until we get it right, and getting things right is a collective effort that requires our team to be diligent and take ownership of every decision.” In addition to his many professional accomplishments, Mike holds his WSET Level 2 certification, has served on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, and was named one of the North Bay Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40.” He lives in the town of Sonoma with his wife and two young children.