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Our Team

Making world-class wine is a collaborative effort, one that requires a collective passion for excellence. At Kerr Cellars we couldn’t be more proud of our team, which draws together a broad set of skills from within cult wine and elite sportsmanship. We believe this gives our wines a unique personality, that reflects us as people and unifies our diverse experiences.

Cristie Kerr

Cristie Kerr

Founder

Cristie’s passion and vision are at the heart of Kerr Cellars. As a professional golfer with two Major Championships and 20 LPGA titles to her name, Cristie is one of the most accomplished golfers of her generation. But Cristie is also a self-confessed wine lover and Level 1 Sommelier. Cristie played a tournament in Napa back in 2000 and fell in love with everything about the valley. It ignited an obsession that Cristie spent the next decade pursuing – learning all that she could about wine, its history, geography and production.

Cristie is also recognized for her astonishing work as a breast cancer activist. In 2003 she created Birdies for Breast Cancer, a foundation that has raised millions of dollars to help fight the disease. Cristie’s love of golf, fine wine and philanthropy came together with Curvature Wines. Created as a collaboration with Pride Mountain Vineyards’ Suzanne Pride Bryan.

“Wine has always been a journey for me. A journey of knowledge, a journey to learn about different varietals, where they come from, and how food and wine pairings go together.” -Cristie Kerr

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Favorite wine region: Napa and Sonoma! I'm obsessed with Northern California wines.
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: Pinot Noir, I love the many variations of this one varietal.
Favorite food and wine pairing: Pinot Noir and Truffles! Any mushrooms in general, but truffles are my favorite when they're in season.
Helen Keplinger

Helen Keplinger

Winemaker

Helen and Cristie have worked closely since 2013 to define Kerr Cellars’ vision of making the very best wines from the finest vineyards. Helen is one of the most acclaimed cult winemakers in California today. In 2012 she was named Winemaker of the Year by Food and Wine magazine. In 2014 Helen appeared on the cover of Wine Spectator magazine.

Helen earned a Masters in Enology from UC Davis in 2000 and became the assistant winemaker at Paradigm Winery after graduation, where she worked with winemaker Heidi Barrett. After heading to Australia to work a southern hemisphere harvest, Helen assisted Kathy Joseph at Santa Ynez Valley’s Fiddlehead Cellars, learning the art of crafting small-batch Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc. In 2004 she moved to Spain’s Priorat region to start a winery for a group of partners. When Helen returned to Napa in 2005 she worked with David Abreu and Heidi Barrett at Kenzo Estate.

“I absolutely love what I do – I constantly strive to make great wines, respond to the curveballs of Mother Nature and respect that each wine is a reflection not only of its origin but the variables and characteristics of a particular vintage.”
– Helen Keplinger

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Favorite wine region: Burgundy
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: 2016 Kerr Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
Favorite food and wine pairing: Mushroom Risotto and Pinot Noir
Erik Stevens

Erik Stevens

President and co-owner

Native New Yorker, Erik Stevens, is the President of Kerr Cellars and Cristie Kerr’s husband. A lifelong sports fan, Erik holds a degree in Biological Sciences from SUNY Geneseo State and a master’s in Sports Physiological Nutrition from Columbia University. Erik specializes in sponsorships, events and activations, giving him a unique advantage with the marketing and commercial strategies of Kerr Cellars.

Erik and Cristie met back in the early 2000s while Erik was Cristie’s agent. His own love affair with wine was sparked during a spell working at New York’s famous Carlyle Hotel during college – where he was lucky enough to be smuggled into a tasting of Krug champagne. There was also a momentous bike tour of Napa Valley in the late 1990s that made a life-changing impression on him. Erik joined Cristie on the road and the two shared a journey of vinous discovery for much of the 2000s. They married in 2006 and now have two children together, Mason and Griffin.

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Favorite wine region: Canada
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: Whatever's Open
Favorite food and wine pairing: Charcuterie and the rare wine Cristie orders and I drink when she's out of town
Matt Lane

Matt Lane

Executive Vice President

A native of Australia, Matt has had a distinguished and varied career in wine. He has worked for Penfolds wines as winemaking ambassador, Treasury Wine Estates as their Americas Sales & marketing Director across the luxury Heirloom Wine Group, and he later became Executive Vice President Americas’ for Torbreck Vintners.

Matt was named South Australian Sommelier of the Year in 2001 and won the exclusive international Vin de Champagne award for South Australia twice.  He has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Adelaide, and taught wine classes at Johnson & Wales culinary school, as well as at Harvard and Stanford Universities. He is an accredited professional wine judge and holds numerous awards of distinction.

Today, Matt is instrumental in leading Kerr Cellars’ global distribution, sales, events, and marketing strategies, guiding the brand into its next exciting chapter.  Matt lives among the vines in Napa Valley, is an avid golfer, and adores champagne.

“Cristie and I talk about wine a lot, about how it evolves in the glass and transforms a great meal.  At Kerr Cellars we always strive to create wines of incredible elegance, that express themselves through phases of flavor, texture and mouthfeel.  As Thomas Keller would say ‘It’s all about the finesse’!” – Matt Lane

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Favorite wine region: Champagne, France
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: 2002 Tête de cuvée Champagne
Favorite food and wine pairing: Frenched Le canard de confit - paired with 1990 Cristal Rose Champagne in Magnum
Chaela Ciongoli

Chaela Ciongoli

Vice President of Marketing

Chaela is Kerr Cellars’ Vice President of Marketing and is key in connecting and engaging with customers all over the world. Chaela brings great energy to the business, bringing together a passion for communication with her love of great wine. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Wine & Viticulture from California Polytechnic University, SLO, with a focus in Wine Business and Marketing. Chaela passed her Level 1 Sommelier exam in March 2020.

Chaela’s wine journey started at age 18 in the steeply trellised vineyards of Germany’s Mosel Valley. Tasting the region’s incredible Rieslings and taking in the scenery set her on a course of vinous exploration that took her to Australia and New Zealand in the early 2010s. Here she worked wine harvests in both countries, while also learning the business side by managing a busy Melbourne wine bar. Returning to Napa Valley, Chaela held a number of wine industry marketing positions before joining the Kerr Cellars family.

“I love exploring new wines, but my two first loves will always be Riesling and Pinot Noir. I’m an avid cook (I make a lot of Italian foods – pasta, lasagna, pizza and some pretty epic salads) and food and wine pairing is my real passion.”
Chaela Ciongoli

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Favorite wine region: Mosel Valley, Germany
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: Pinot Noir
Favorite food and wine pairing: Spaghetti Bolognese (Homemade of course!) and Barolo
Kelli Kuehne

Kelli Kuehne

Director of Events

Kelli is Kerr Cellar’s Events Director, organizing our unique wine events across the country with her characteristic positivity and eye for detail. A native Texan, Kelli is a former professional golfer. She met Cristie Kerr at a junior golf tournament when they were 12 years old. The pair competed against each other for the next 20 years, but luckily their early rivalry soon turned into a friendship. Kelli earned a run of amateur and professional golf titles, joining the LPGA tour in 1998 for 13 years and winning the Corning Classic in 1999.

Kelli retired from golf in 2010 moved into event management, using her dynamism and organizational skills to create memorable experiences for clients. After working for Erik’s Madison Green Agency (where she helped manage Cristie’s Birdies For Breast Cancer Charity Golf Event), Kelli joined the Kerr Cellars’ family in 2017. Always a joy to work with, Kelli is an essential part of our team and has been vital in helping engage customers with the Kerr Cellars brand. Kelli has two kids (Morgan and Ford) with her husband Paul Doremus and two dogs (Bella Blu and Dixie Lou).

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Favorite wine region: Napa Valley
Favorite wine/variety/vintage to drink: I'm still discovering my favorite
Favorite food and wine pairing: Texas BBQ and Sauvignon Blanc