Colgin Cellars has announced that Neil Bernardi has been appointed chief operating officer.
Bernardi is a seasoned executive with over twenty years of leadership experience in the wine industry. Previously, Bernardi was the vice president and general manager of The Duckhorn Portfolio’s Kosta Browne, Canvasback, and Goldeneye wineries. As COO, Bernardi will oversee Colgin Cellars’ overall operations and report directly to chairwoman and founder Ann Colgin and CEO Joe Wender.
Founded by Ann Colgin in 1992, Colgin Cellars crafts wines of grace and precision from exceptional hillside vineyards in the heart of the Napa Valley. The ethos of Colgin Cellars is to create wines of perfume, freshness, and minerality while embracing the diversity found in Napa’s hillsides. Colgin Cellars is synonymous with elegance, power, and longevity. Their reputation is built upon the incomparable quality of their four exceptional wines: the three Cabernet Sauvignon-based bottlings, “Tychson Hill,” “Cariad,” and “IX Estate,” in addition to their “IX Estate” Syrah. Each Colgin wine is the highest expression of the land and world-class in quality, underlined by decades of critical acclaim at the highest level and impressive international distribution. To this end, in 2017, Colgin Cellars entered into a strategic partnership with LVMH and is the only American winery in their Vins d’Exception Group, which includes Château Cheval Blanc, Château d’Yquem, and Domaine du Clos des Lambrays.
“Selectivity defines all our decisions at Colgin Cellars; Neil’s thoughtful, precise leadership approach similarly reflects this,” commented Ann Colgin. “Neil’s diverse skillset, with proven experience as an executive, winemaker, and winegrower, is truly an asset to Colgin’s small, nimble team. We look forward to his stewardship of the winery, serving as a collaborative force in maintaining and continuing the vision to craft wines of the highest caliber that, at their heart, bring people together and inspire memories, with the same focus, passion, and reverence that guided our first thirty years.”
Prior to joining Colgin Cellars, Bernardi spent 15 years with The Duckhorn Portfolio, where he held numerous leadership positions, including winemaker for Migration winery, general manager for Sonoma County winegrowing, and vice president of winemaking, before occupying his current position for the past five years. Bernardi holds a B.A. in Italian and a B.S. in viticulture and enology from UC Davis and is currently a stage three Master of Wine student. He has served on the board of directors and as a guest lecturer for Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute. In 2018, Wine Enthusiast recognized Bernardi as one of the “trailblazers shaping the future of wine in America,” naming him a “Top 40 Under 40 Tastemaker.”
“What Ann and Joe have accomplished at Colgin Cellars is extraordinary,” Bernardi remarked. “In only three decades, their passion and dedication have established Colgin Cellars not only as one of America’s greatest wineries but also as an elite producer shoulder-to-shoulder with benchmark cabernet producers the world over. I am honored to join such an accomplished team and to assist in building upon the winery’s legacy of excellence.”
The Cypress Group, an executive recruitment firm with a focus on the luxury wine business, assisted in the hiring process.