Our Team

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Julie Rothberg, Founder

I’m a New York native who discovered my passion for wine while living in London in the early 2000s then returned to earn my Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University. In 2013, I completed the Diploma certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

My wine career includes stints at Sherry Lehmann, a boutique importer/distributor, and Portfolio Director for Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits where I oversaw 20 domestic and imported brands. After meeting my husband Gregg, we started our own winery, 13th & Third wines to focus on Rhone varietals grown in Paso Robles.

Today, I’m President of Medlock Ames, a 100% estate and certified organically farmed vineyard and winery in Alexander Valley.

image of woman with brown hair in front of green field holding glass of red wine

Stacy Briscoe, Level 1-3 Educator

Stacy is the Senior Editor of Wine Enthusiast print magazine. She is the former Managing Editor for Wine Industry Network and was the Assistant Editor of Wine Business Monthly prior to that. Bylines can also be found in numerous notable publications including SevenFifty DailySonoma MagazineSF Chronicle, among others.

Stacy regularly speaks at wine industry events and conferences, judges wine competitions, has completed her WSET Diploma and now teaches WSET courses. She has her Bachelor of Arts in English-Language Literature from the University of California Santa Cruz and is often found with a book in hand (and a glass of wine in the other).

image of woman with blond and purple hair in blue jacket in front of 3 wine bottles

KJ Rizzo, Level 1-3 Educator

KJ is a wine & sake sommelier in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has 15 years of experience in the beverage industry, most recently as Wine Director and GM of the wine bar & art gallery Hôtel Biron. In addition to wine, her specialty is Japanese sake and she provides virtual & in-person educational events for clients in Northern California and beyond. She pays homage to True Sake, the first sake store in America where she worked for 4 years. She is also a certified sake educator for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and writes a monthly column called Sake vs. Wine! for Sake Times International.

In her spare time, KJ is a busy Masters of Wine student and judges for competitions such as the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, England.

image of woman sitting on sidewalk cafe with glass of rose wine

Tracy Byrnes, Level 1-2 Educator

Tracy has spent over 5 years in the wine industry on the true Sonoma Coast at Hirsch and Flowers.  She is currently the Hospitality Lead at Flowers Winery in Healdsburg.  Prior to her move into the wine world, she was in the athletic apparel industry in product innovation.

Tracy has travelled extensively throughout the world and loves to explore wine regions.

White man gesticulating

Eric Sothern, Level 2-3 Educator

Upon graduation from Cornell University, Eric worked in San Francisco’s vibrant restaurant industry for several years before following the call to work in the wine industry. A former trade sales director for Robert Sinskey Vineyards and the Bespoke Collection, Eric is now Commercial Director for Rhys Vineyards.

 

Eric holds a Diploma with merit from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and is a certified WSET instructor.

White man standing with button down shirt

Brian Ball, Level 2-3 Educator

Brian’s passion for wine began during college, working in fine dining restaurants.  After a brief stint on Wall Street, Brian pursued his dream of working in the wine industry.

 

Brian’s experience in the wine industry began in 2010, and for two years he travelled the world working with winemakers in Napa, Sonoma, Australia, and New Zealand to learn the craft of winemaking.  To further his education, Brian studied at UC Davis, where he earned a second degree in Viticulture and Enology and attended the Wine Executive Program.  After UC Davis, Brian ran the wine program at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, where he first discovered Skipstone and was struck by the extraordinary character of the wines, vineyard, and brand. 

 

Today, Brian is the General Manager for Skipstone, overseeing the new winery construction.