Mike was born and raised in Los Altos and is a lifelong resident of California. His viticulture experience began when he was eighteen years old, working as a vineyard foreman in Mendocino. In 1979, ready to farm his own land, he planted the zinfandel vineyards on the Stonum Vineyards property in Lodi. This beautiful vineyard is renowned by visitors and locals alike. Mike's tenacious work ethic and refusal to cut corners has resulted in the incredible fruit we use in our world class red wine. Mike is also very proud of his career with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection where he retired as a Battalion Chief in 2007. When you stop by for tasting, ask him to share some of his forest fire battle stories with you. Mike is a self-taught winemaker who has perfected his craft by study, experimentation and a passion for creating wines in the old European style. Mike has been married to his wife, Maridel, for twenty-nine years. They have a wonderful daughter, Francesca.
On August 30, 2019, Mike passed away after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. His legacy will continue, and he will live in our hearts forever.
Kathy was born in San Francisco and grew up in Los Altos. She attended San Diego State University, University of California at Los Angeles, and graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a teaching credential. In 1975, Kathy moved to Mendocino County where she secured her first teaching position and raised Arabian horses. In 1978, she took advantage of an opportunity to teach in Norway and travel through Europe. In 1979, the purchase of seventeen acres brought her to Lodi to help develop the family vineyard, and subsequently become a self-taught winemaker. Kathy’s winemaking philosophy is simple yet exacting: to create wines with finesse and balance using a light touch and minimalistic intervention, allowing the true character of the fruit and terroir to emerge. In 2013, Kathy retired from a thirty-five year career in education. She currently pursues her passion of growing grapes and making wine with her family at Stonum Vineyards.
Francesca grew up in the vineyard tagging alongside her father, Michael. It’s this deep tie to the land of only a farmer’s daughter that drives her commitment to carrying on the Stonum legacy.
Before her return, Francesca studied Film Production with an emphasis in social documentary at San Diego State University.
Now following in her father’s footsteps, Francesca hopes to take her stewardship to the next level with a holistic approach to the farm and business. Her motto: When we bring what we do in line with nature as much as possible; the plants, animals and people are happy!
When she’s not out in the field, Francesca can be found pouring the family’s wines in the tasting barn, where you will likely share some laughs and a big hug on the way out. She hopes to continue her father’s spirit of hard work and dedication mixed with a whole lot of fun!
Chris brings a growing passion for sustainable agriculture and winemaking.
A graduate of University of Oregon, he worked as a chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and a fisheries biologist throughout Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and California before securing a job as an environmental scientist with the Department of Pesticide Regulation- landing him back in the San Joaquin Valley. He now splits his time between Sacramento and the ranch, where he is committed to continuing Stonum’s pioneering practices.
If you find him wandering the estate talk to him about surfing, fermentation, soil health or anything else related to science and the outdoors!
Maridel came to the United States in 1982 after graduating from college with a Bachelor Degree in Nursing. After initially working in Texas, Maridel moved to California in 1983 to work at acute hospitals in the central California area. Maridel handles all of the administrative functions of the ranch, organizes the annual Wine Club event, personally conducts the wine tastings each week, makes sure that our incredible crew is fed and hydrated and has recently begun assisting in several of the winemaking procedures.
Sergio Barriga - Sergio joined Stonum Vineyards in 2007. His enthusiasm, good nature, and strong sense of responsibility have made him a valued member of the team. Sergio enjoys working in the vineyard, as well as the winery.
Chris Dasilao - Assistant Winemaker - Chris began working at Stonum Vineyards in 2014. Instilled with a strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn, Chris has risen to Assistant Winemaker and Cellar Master.
Paul Meyers - was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and did a short 18month residency before the family moved to Los Altos Ca. He grew up in a ranch home surrounded by Apricot and Cherry orchards. He delightfully recalls “incalculable” hours with his mom picking, pitting, and drying the fruit from their Apricot haven…Paul and Mike together attended and graduated in ‘75’ from Homestead High School in Cupertino…
Should mention here that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, a couple of years ahead of Mike and Paul, claim same honor. “ I grew up in a wonderful period , in an incredibly “Rockwellian era” about to change from “Fruit capital of the nation” to technology center of the world. The word “Silicon Valley” had not yet been conceived!”
After mechanical engineering schooling, Paul moved to San Juan Capistrano , Ca to raise his family of 4 with his wife Mary. He formed Capistrano Labs. in San Clemente, Ca. and now proudly designs and manufactures (with all USA parts and suppliers) a compliment of products providing 60% of the world market with Medical Eye Care Diagnostic products…” It’s about time I return to “the orchard”…Only this time…harvest won’t require a rickety wooden ladder!”