Our Nutty Crew
Suzy and Jim Gullett are the owners of Vino Noceto. They lived in Lafayette, CA for 19 years, where they raised their family until 1995. After 11 years of long-distance farming and winemaking, they moved to the Shenandoah Valley in order to drive the growth of their vineyard and winery operations. Their three children -- Randy, Bobby, and Lindy -- were each actively involved in the business through childhood, providing manual labor, office support and occasional wine deliveries. Randy lives in Alamo, CA with his wife, Mary, and their two children, Jonathan and Evan. Lindy recently returned from Manhattan where she got her Ph.D. in social psychology at NYU. Bobby lives in the Tahoe Area and spends his days relaxing, working, or skiing.
Suzy serves myriad roles at Noceto--Northern California wholesale sales force; tax & compliance department; wine club manager; retail (point-of-sale) and customer systems administrator; marketing director; and much more. As we grow, she has reluctantly begun to share some of her many roles and responsibilities. Following a 35 year career in the banking systems software industry, Jim has become an active member of the the local and regional community, serving as president of Family Winemakers of California, the Plymouth Foothills Rotary, and the Amador Business Council, as well as contributing his leadership skills to the Amador High School athletics programs, the Plymouth Farmers’ Market, the Amador County Wine Grape Growers, and the Amador Council of Tourism. You'll often see him mingling with the customers -- either giving tours or standing behind the bar in the tasting room.
Meet our Staff
Vino Noceto's staff comprises a diverse set of talented individuals, each of whom has helped the winery establish itself as the premiere producer of Sangiovese and other Italian wine varietals in Amador County, the Sierra Foothills, California, and beyond. We would not be here today without the numerous contributions from our winery staff, farmers, grape growers and tasting room staff members. Vino Noceto has many wonderful part-time nuts who are not listed below, like Stacy Gregerson, Rich Ferro, Stacy Billesbach, Rick Moehrke, Patty Bautista, Arlene Stohl, Pat Brown, Henry Arcangel, Peter Tefler, Barbara Kropacek-Hall, Dawson Richards, Drew Richards, and Katie Butts.
Rusty Folena started his career in winemaking as a teenager, sweeping floors at Santino winery and pruning vines in the Original Grandpere Vineyard. Rusty joined Vino Noceto as Assistant Winemaker in early 1999. In 2001 he became Winemaker. Due to his early vineyard work and the direction of his tutors, Scott Harvey & Gordon Binz, Rusty understands and naturally pursues fruit-driven, varietally-accurate wines. This makes him ideal for Vino Noceto’s style and approach to winemaking.
Lindy returned to Amador County after finishing her Ph.D. in social psychology at NYU. Lindy grew up in Vino Noceto's tasting room -- she has been answering phones since she was eight, and many of you may remember a precocious ten year old upselling you at the cash register during events. Now that she is back at the family business, Lindy is quickly getting back into the swing of things, and on most weekends you will find her working on the Tasting Room floor.
director of sales
A progeny of one of the original founders of Chez Panisse restaturant in Berkeley, Bret Budrick is both passionate and knowledgeable about wine. Bret is a mover and a shaker, with a vision of a Tasting Room full of friendly, wine-educated staff who love what they do. When Bret isn't making sure that all of our guests and customers have a great experience, he can be found trying new wines, sharing knowledge, playing golf, and making lots of bad jokes.
Raised in Amador County, Jeff Keeley started working in wine and hospitality in 2002. After five years in working the wine circuit in the Central Coast and South Bay Area, Jeff has returned to Amador County and is heading Vino Noceto's wholesale team. Jeff is among the best wholesale managers in the business. Let him know if you want to see Noceto at your favorite restaurant, bar, or store!
Originally from Southern California, Julia was lured to Amador County with promises of wonderful wine, a great community, and a lot less traffic. Julia is one of the kindest members of the Vino Noceto team, and if you are planning a private event, she is the lady to talk to. With years of experience in the service industry, Julia is ready for anything.
club & administration
Like many members of the Noceto crew, Jenny was raised in Amador County. When she first joined Noceto, Jenny worked full-time in Tasting Room but recently transfered over to the administrative side of the business. Jenny is our resident register and sales expert and is the first to lend a helping hand to her coworkers and guests.
Dave "Farmer" Brown can be seen daily, toiling in the vineyards as he preps each vine for the upcoming season. Dave also oversees the care and maintenance of our estate walnut orchard and olive groves. With consultation from winemaker Rusty, Dave executes much of the care that is required to produce a top quality Sangiovese.
club & administration
Kristin has been with Vino Noceto for almost a decade. Working mainly with proprietor Suzy Gullett at our administrative offices, Kristin is one of the administrative mavens who makes sure that your favorite wines make it to your doorstep. Kristin also helps over at the Tasting Room whenever we have a big event.
tasting room host
An Amador native, Rhys has been working in the Amador County wine industry since 2009. A true lover of wine, Rhys specializes in wine education, and when owner Jim Gullett isn't available, he is the go-to tour guide for Vino Noceto's famous Farm to Glass tours. Make sure to say hello next time you see him in the Tasting Room!
tasting room, winery, & design
Anthony is a man of many skills. Growing up on his family's winery in Santa Lucia Highlands, he has spent his childhood learning about winemaking. When he left for college, he went a new direction, getting a degree in graphic design. He spent the last decade working in graphic design and the wine business. Vino Noceto is lucky to have his diverse, highly-developed skillset!
Vino Noceto's first winemaker at our estate facility, Stacy Gregersen is still an integral part of the Noceto team. She visits the winery regulary to help with blending, crushing, and winemaking. We're even trying to convince to help us put on a blending session for our guests!
He's the man who can do it all! We are so thankful to have Rich around. A former firefighter, Rich is ready for any task, from building shelves out of wine barrels to making sure that the property stays spotless. Thank you, Rich!!
Meet the Dogs of Noceto
Doggie D is the King of Vino Noceto's yard. Double D first came to us back in 1985, when Suzy & Jim found themselves at a fundraising event for their children's nursery school. As they perused the Silent Auction offerings, they became intrigued with the Doggie Diner head. He had just undergone a major facelift and was looking quite spiffy. Having lots of space on the farm in the foothills (now the vineyard), Suzy & Jim offered $300 expecting to be easily outbid. Well, no one out-bid them, or even made a single bid, and they unexpectedly became the proud parents of a new Doggie.
Doggie D has been in the vineyard, and now outside the Tasting Room, ever since. Between greeting guests and guarding the vineyard, he has a very important job!
Note: Friendly dogs are welcome on-leash in all of our outdoor areas, but due to issues in the past, only service dogs are guaranteed access to the inside of the tasting room. When the Tasting Room is quiet, friendly dogs on-leash are welcome inside.
Barrel Bung Chaser
In a group of fast dogs, Heidi is the fastest, especially when barrel bungs are flying through the air. Heidi mainly hangs out up at the winery with winemaker Rusty Folena, but when she makes her occasional visits down to the tasting room, she is full of kisses and excitement.
Named after Dickson Road, the small road that separates the two parcels on the Noceto Estate, Dickson is an energetic and friendly guard dog. Be cautious because he guards against strangers, but once he knows you, he is all cuddles. Dickson's favorite activities are chasing cars, eating, barking, and relaxing in the shade.
Despite being named after Edgar Allan Poe, Poe the pup is all rainbows, sunshine, and cuddles. Originally raised as a city dog, Poe loves her new life in the country, especially when she gets to roll around in weeds and huge piles of dirt. Poe is a little shy with strangers, so she only visits the tasting room on weekdays.