We're a small operation with a friendly and devoted team behind everything that we do.
Kyle is responsible for the winemaking and overall operation of Coterie. This includes a focus on non-interventional practices at the winery and a dedication to vineyards under exceptional care. Kyle's interest in food and wine took root early in life while foraging for crawfish, thistles, and other tasty morsels with his grandparents. "It's likely one of the reasons that I'm still fascinated by whatever is growing around me." His love of wine also comes from its community. "Wine lovers don't drink wine by themselves; they love to share it. I like to think about the life of a wine like that the special place where each bottle may end up." Kyle is a science graduate from Purdue University. He also has some formal education in viticulture and enology from UC Davis; however, his approach to winemaking is more natural than technical.
If you see a detail that you like in our tasting room or at one of our events, chances are that Shala had something to do with it. Shala loves design and the beauty of art, food, and wine. Born and raised in California for most of her life, she is especially drawn to the diverse people, cultures, landscape, and microclimates that Californians enjoy. Shala has also lived with her family in Italy. Her grandfather was a cooper (barrel maker), and her family in the north still has vineyards in Piemonte, where Shala and Kyle have enjoyed regular visits and the rural beauty of hunting truffles. Shala and Kyle have a young son, Julian, who loves the grapes at harvest.
What do you call a person who does it all? We call her Sam, our House Manager. Sam will charm you in the tasting room, but she also graciously moves between private events, logistics with members releases, and countless other details across the winery. Now she works with us around the winemaking side of things too and is often among our vineyards during harvest. Sam has a biochemistry background from school, which still fuels her curiosity with fascinating things like mineral collecting and foraging as a certified mushroom hunter. Her experiences in hospitality and wine are impressive, where she has worked far and wide from South Carolina to California.
Eli has been with us from the beginning. During that time he has done many, many things, but his main role always has been assisting in the winemaking activities, especially at harvest. (Have we mentioned that winemaking is 80% cleaning?) This can mean some very early mornings and very late nights not to mention some late nights that turn into very early mornings. Eli is Shala's father, so he truly injects even more "family" into our family operation. Eli has seen firsthand the pains and triumphs of building a successful small winery from the ground up. But no matter what the issue or time of night, he's always ready with a smile and positive outlook.
Piya brings a range of talents to our winemaking team stemming from a deeply rooted excitement around wine, a keenly focused palate, an attention to detail with winery operations, and multiple degrees in the biological sciences. Previously Piya worked for City Winery and has also spent time in the vineyard. So she knows her way around both wines and vines, whether in the city or countryside. Having lived in numerous parts of the world and having traveled to many others, we love her tastes and experiences across many cultures. In addition to her time assisting with winemaking, you'll often see Piya at events and sharing our wines in the tasting room.
Karen has worked around wine for years and has taken astute notes at some of the finest wineries and restaurants in the world. You'll be delighted at Karen's enthusiasm and creativity in the tasting room while taking care of you during your visit. For example, one day she arrived with a bowl of rose petals. "Smell these heirloom roses. I keep passing them when I walk, and they smell like our Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Noir!" Karen earned her Certified Sommelier credential after attending the International Culinary Center. She brings a range of tastes and sensibilities from having lived in North Carolina, Indiana, the New York Metro Area, and California.
David is often the one you'll find enticing and entertaining you at winery events and in the tasting room. We met David years ago before we started Coterie while working at other wineries, sharing wine dinners, and tracing other paths in the wine community. David is deeply knowledgeable of fine wine, and knows well many of the winemakers and vineyards of California. He is not just a collector of wines, but a collector of the people and places behind them. Sometimes he can tell you what the dirt smells like in the vineyard, and how it feels to have a vineyard owner take you on a wild ride before giving you a horizontal, vertical, and "diagonal" tasting.
You'll generally see Veronica when David is in the tasting room too, since they are partners in life as well as in wine. Veronica first got to know us at Coterie as a winery member, but our relationship has grown only closer from there. Veronica and David are an especially convivial pair behind the counter. You'll feel their chemistry. And while David will captivate you with the wines, Veronica is the picture of perfection at handling your orders with gracious efficiency and taking care of you as a winery member.
Tracy first got to know us at Coterie as a winery member. Once we started to offer regular tasting hours, we were delighted that she was able to join us working in the tasting room. Now she also plays a key role in private events that we host. Her heartfelt excitement with wine and cheery disposition create a lovely energy, and her frequent visits to other wineries provide a great backdrop for sharing our wines with you. We are honored to have her as a longtime friend and supporter of the winery.
A small group with shared interests or tastes.
Since 2007, Coterie has produced wines from tiny parcels within acclaimed vineyards that express the distinction of their place. We make every wine berry to bottle by hand with exceptional care in the vineyard and non-interventional practices at the winery. Our winery is nestled in a cozy neighborhood near downtown San Jose, a short walk from the SAP Center and The Historic Alameda. We're part of a movement of wineries locating back into urban areas to make fine wines within the communities in which we live.