Jennifer & Steve McPherson
Jennifer and Steve were married in the summer of 2004 and on that wedding day more than eight years ago, Jennifer made Steve promise her that they would someday pursue their dream of making wine. Their journey in wine has been a wonderful place to share their passions.
Together they are blessed to have created a beautiful life, cherishing each other and our two girls and having careers that have reaped great success and rewards. Yet even with these gifts of a wonderful family and loving friends, they knew there was more for me to do, more fulfillment to have, more impact to make. In working to achieve balance in their lives , it has been most important to remain passionate about the things that are truly meaningful Family, Friends, the dreams we hold dear and of course wine.
PROMISE Wines are truly the physical manifestation of a lifelong dream. When they started this passion project almost a decade ago the goal was to make the very best artisan wine they could from this esteemed terroir, considered by many to be an American "First Growth" planting. With great reverence they aspire to someday be recognized along side the renowned First Growths of Bordeaux as well as the much sought after California Cult Cabernets of Napa. They both have a great respect for the work that entails and remain passionate in this pursuit.
Steve McPherson: Promise Made & Promise Kept
PROMISE is a physical manifestation of a life long dream.
Steve’s love of wine started at a very early age. Having spent his grade school and high school years living in France, his father, who was the headmaster of the American School in Paris attended Steven Spurrier’s L’Academie du Vin, and took Steve with him on field trips to all the wine regions of France. His fathers passion for Wine and all that its spirit entails was infectious and laid the foundation for a life long passion of his own.
After Cornell University and a brief stint on Wall Street, his career in Entertainment led him to be one of the most influential television executives of his generation, spending time at FOX, NBC and then ABC & The Walt Disney Company. As President of ABC Television he orchestrated the most dramatic turnaround in network television history. He put an indelible mark on the TV landscape with shows like LOST, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, MODERN FAMILY. DANCING WITH THE STARS, HOME MAKEOVER, BOSTON LEGAL, and GREYS ANATOMY. He is also directly responsible for many other iconic shows as CSI, AMAZING RACE, SCRUBS, My WIfe & Kids and MONK to name only a few.
All along during his tenure in entertainment, Steve continued to nurture his passion for wine as an avid collector and by visiting vineyards and wine regions throughout the world. He even fed his thirst by studying oenology in several graduate programs at UC Davis, but it wasn't until 2004 when a Promise was made that he had to keep. He proposed to his wife Jennifer while standing in a vineyard in Rutherford, and before she said yes, she made Steve PROMISE that he would seek balance in his life and find the time to pursue his passion for wine. He stayed true to his word and harvested the very first vintage of PROMISE from that very vineyard in 2004. In 2008 the first vintage of this First Growth American Cabernet was released; A wine made under the tutelage of Todd Graff and with the grapes from the very same hillside vineyard upon which he made that faithful commitment. In 2010 he left Entertainment to spend more time with his Wife and two small children and pursue his passion for Wine full time.
Steve is also the passionate force behind several other businesses. McPherson is a founding partner in The Original MOONSHINE of Stillhouse Distillery (www.moonshine.com), a clear corn whiskey distilled in the only working Prohibition-era copper pot still left in the United States. Founded in 2010, The Original MOONSHINE has since received excellent reviews for its smooth taste and authenticity. Currently distributed in New York, California. Texas, Florida, Virginia, and Nevada. He also developed PÜR PAK (www.livepurpak.com) a revolutionary all-in-one health supplement he developed while training for the IRONMAN triathlon. He Owns and Operates this company as well.
Above all else he is now committed to a lifestyle of health, wellness, fulfillment, and contribution to other people’s lives and is Training for his next IRONMAN !!!!
Todd Graff - The Wizard
After twenty years of working as a winemaker in every corner of the world, Winemaker Todd Graff landed at Calistoga’s Frank Family Vineyards in 2003, just an hour drive over the mountains from his hometown of Petaluma. He has yet to look back.
At Frank Family, Graff has applied his deep expertise in making both still and sparkling wines to the portfolio, and has been an integral player in defining Frank Family’s reputation as a world-class producer of Napa Valley Cabernet and Chardonnay. He also directed the construction of Frank Family’s new state of the art winery in 2007.
Graff was drawn to winemaking at a young age and signed up for an introductory wine course while attending Santa Rosa Jr. College. He then graduated from UC Davis with a degree in plant science and viticulture in 1984.
Upon his graduation, Graff circled the globe working for great producers. He worked in the cellar at Joseph Phelps Vineyards before navigating the steep slate vineyards at Weingut Klaus Schweicher in Mosel, Germany, the sandy soils of Château Yon-Figeac in St.-Emilion, France, and the decomposed granite and sandstone loam soils at Arrowfield Estate in Australia’s Hunter Valley.
He returned to the Napa Valley in 1987 to work as an Assistant Winemaker at Stag’s Leap Winery, and from 1990-95 was the Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Manager at Schramsberg Vineyards, where he honed his craft in making sparkling wines according to the méthod champenoise. During his tenure at Schramsberg, he also served as Technical Director and Winemaker at Caves Transmontanas in Portugal, a Schramsberg joint venture.
In 1995, Graff joined Cordoniu in Napa (now Artesa) as Sparkling Winemaker, and in 2000, he joined Sonoma Creek Winery as Winemaker, where he cultivated strategic relationships with grape growers and was a key component of the winery’s executive management team. Under his leadership, Sonoma Creek’s production increased by 30%.
Graff is a member of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group and the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group. When he’s not at the winery with his chocolate Labrador, Bristol, in tow, he enjoys spending time with his three children and coaches their Little League teams. He is also an avid mountain biker and fly-fisherman.
Dennis Zablosky - The Mayor
A major reason for Promise’s success is because of Dennis Zablosky’s fun and irreverent persona. Over the past 20 years, the Napa native, touted a "wine legend" by Robert Mondavi, is considered one of Napa’s best-known personalities.
Zablosky, who holds a marketing degree from the College of San Mateo knows that his winery career is anchored in customer service. Known for his unforgettable presence, this amiable director has the ability to make everyone feel at home. Prior to working in the wine industry, he owned a small chain of Bay Area wine and food shops called International Gourmet. He has built the winery’s reputation as a “full-service” operation by personally becoming the unofficial concierge of each guest.
Maria Navarro and Armando Padilla lead the best Cellar Crew in all of Napa. PROMISE is truly blessed to have this amazing group of individuals working tirelessly in pursuit of this very special wine.
Rosa Linda Manzo
Rich Frank- Our Most Interesting Man Alive
Rich became Chairman of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications and headed Disney’s syndication arm Buena Vista. He was then President of Walt Disney Studios for nearly a decade and oversaw the development of The Disney Channel. Prior to his tenure at Disney, Rich was President of the Paramount Television Group, President of Chris Craft Television, one of the founders of the USA Network and also served on their board. Under Rich’s leadership, television and movie properties such as "Cheers," "Taxi," "Family Ties," "Shogun," "Winds of War," "Entertainment Tonight," "Golden Girls," "Home Improvement," "Ellen," "Regis and Kathy Lee," "Dead Poet’s Society," "Good Morning Vietnam," "Pretty Woman," "Father of the Bride," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" just to name a few. When he first graduated from the U of I, he got his start in media planning at BBDO.
Rich was President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for an unprecedented six years. He was the 2007 recipient of the Syd Cassyd Founders Award. The Award is named in honor of the Television Academy’s founder, and was created to recognize members who have made a significant positive impact on the Academy through their efforts and service over many years of involvement. He has also served as Vice Chairman and Executive Board Member of the American Film Institute. In June of 2011, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the American Film Institute (AFI), along with Helen Mirren and Spike Lee.
Rich currently provides executive producing and consulting services for Prospect Park, a new talent management and production company focusing on music, film and television. Through Prospect Park, Rich is currently Executive Producing “Royal Pains,” on the USA Network, and “Wilfred.”
Additionally, Rich sits on the board of Ecoya and Napa Style.
Within all of his success in the television and movie industry, Rich decided to tackle the wine industry. By purchasing historic, but fledgling Kornell Champagne Cellars in 1992, Rich Frank, his family and his team have turned the once struggling winery into Frank Family Vineyards, which is a smashing success. In 2012 Frank Family Vineyards was named Best Napa Winery.
Zahava Kraicer - Hostess with the mostest
Zahava moved to Napa Valley a few years back from the North Shore of Boston. She fell in love with Napa Valley when she used to travel to California in her corporate life. She worked for Hewlett Packard for almost 20 years and would always try to add a weekend on at the end of the trip. Napa Valley was one of her favorite spots and after years of visiting, it captured her soul. Zahava has been with Promise Wines and Frank Family Vineyards since 2010 and she loves sharing the wonderful wines with people from all over the world. She loves to garden, play golf and travel back to Boston to visit family.
Patti Bashor – Math Professor
After working in public accounting and investment management companies, Patti was excited to put her experiences to use in the wine industry. She really enjoys the process of winemaking from grape to bottle and how the financial statements are used to tell that story. As a detail-oriented person, she her technical expertise to keep the administrative side of the winery running smoothly. Patti is a life-long resident of Napa and Sonoma counties, a devoted mother of two young adults, an avid San Francisco Giants fan, and a long-time 4H leader.
Maria Navarro - Smiley
Graduated from Guadalajara’s University with an Agro-industrial Engineer degree, Maria’s first experience in the wine industry was in the Laboratory of Charles Krug, followed by Buena Vista. Looking for exposures to other wine regions and to gain experience in production and viticulture Maria worked a couple harvests overseas at Indevin in New Zealand, Red Hill Estate in Australia and Clos Poggiale in Corsica France. Her experiences overseas lead her to enroll in the Masters program in Viticulture, Oenology and Management to the prestigious French school, The Ecole National Superieur Agronomique du Montpellier. After her graduation she managed the winemaking and vineyard management at Langtry Estate Winery where she had previously worked as the assistant winemaker. She joined the Promise team as assistant winemaker in 2011.
Phil Borgmeyer - Money Man
Phil has been part of the Promise team since its inception. He was raised in a small community outside St. Louis, Missouri and after high school served with the U.S. Army in Fairbanks, Alaska. After completing his degree in accounting & computer programming at Missouri State University, Phil moved west and started working in the wine business. He lives in the North Bay with his partner, Terry, and son, Vincent. He enjoys cooking, Bocce ball and his weekly “The Friday Night Wine Tasting” with friends.
Jennifer Higgins- Customer Service Support
Growing up in Sonoma County, Jennifer attended Santa Rosa Junior College, where she focused on business and music. After working for Hertz Equipment Rental, she decided it was time to see what the other valley had to offer. Jennifer has been with Frank Family Vineyards since 2008 and spends most of her time problem solving, managing data as well as customer service. Jennifer spends her time off with family, and sings with her church choir.
Armando Padilla - The Muscle
Keeping a watchful eye over the Promise grapes from the minute they arrive through fermentation, barreling ageing, and eventually bottling, Armando is passionate about the winemaking process, and takes every precaution to make sure the quality is exceptional. Born in Michoucan, Mexico, Armando’s family moved to the United States when he was 5 years old. After years in the paint contracting business, he decided to change career paths, and eventually became the Cellar Master at Frank Family Vineyards in 2001. Armando spends his spare time with his wife Maria, and their 4 children, and wine tasting of course!
The Math Department
Phil Borgmeyer’s amazing team of talented and passionate wine executives are a critical part of this ventures success. They all bring a special skill set and wonderful spirit to bear as a critical part of the PROMISE Family.
Rachelle Logan – Our People Person
After ten years focused in the manufacturing, distribution and medical fields, Rachelle brought her expertise in human resources management, accounting and compliance to Napa Valley. Her career in the wine industry began in 2004, first working with Rombauer Vineyards then transitioning to Frank Family Vineyards and PROMISE. Rachelle is a member of Women for Winesense, Northern California Human Resource Association and is a licensed Notary Public. Hailing from the East Bay, California, she now resides in Mendocino County and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, making wine and enjoying all that wine country has to offer.
Davie Pina - Terroir
Davie is a sixth generation farmer and his family has a deep history in the Napa Valley. He has been the Head of Pina Vineyard management for more than a quarter of a century. For his tireless and passionate efforts he was honored with the Napa Valley Grape Grower of the Year Award in 2007 by the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association. He serves on the board of the Rutherford Dust Society. He has been instrumental in the restoration and preservation of the Rutherford Terroir and Napa Valley habitat. On top of all this he has served as part of the Napa Valley Fire Department for 25 years of distinguished service.
Full name: Brazen Bristol
January of 2008 drops out of the prestigious Marble Mountain Kennel hunting school and relocates to the Napa Valley and enters the wine business. Our Mascot Bristol is part Greeter, part Mooch, part Lover, and part Faithful friend. Anyone who has come to see us in Calistoga has no doubt gotten hit up by this wonderful chocolate lab for some free food or lovin’. She is almost like the center of the PROMISE family.