When Michael Lancaster fled the corporate world, he did so on two wheels, pedaling through some of the world's most fabled wine regions. Returning to his native Toronto a year later, he knew he’d never wear a suit and tie again.
Michael headed to Northern California to attend the renowned University of California at Davis enology program. After working for Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves, he moved to Quail Ridge Cellars, where he was eventually promoted to winemaker.
In 2000, Michael formed a partnership with friends and launched Tin Barn Vineyards. Much like the “real” Tin Barn Road where he discovered the winery’s first fruit source, the path has been steep and the views, incomparable.
[mike at tinbarnvineyards dot com]
AMY BESS COOK
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNiCATIONS & OPERATIONS
Drawing on a decade of experience in book publishing and the arts, Amy Bess has a true zeal for creative entrepreneurship. Since 2009, she has been using her business acumen to share our wine. With a focus in communications, she helps manage nearly every aspect of company operations. On a given day, she might be poring over label designs, sampling vineyards, editing copy, or stirring up our next winery party. With a longtime passion for writing, Amy Bess also writes about wine industry trends and Sonoma life for various publications.
[amy at tinbarnvineyards dot com]
Sarah Rappensperger, WINERY & CELLAR ASSISTANT
A homegrown Sonoma County local with six previous years of experience in wine hospitality, Sarah joined our team in 2012 after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. How that fits with her wine country resume she can’t really say, but she finds it leads to some great conversations. No stranger to hard work, she has helped keep our cellar running smoothly since the 2013 harvest season.
Sarah’s natural affinity for people extends well beyond our winery: she works with foster youth during the week, and regularly volunteers for community events and fundraisers. She’s often seen in the company of her rescue dog, Cali, who endorses her as one of the nicest people on Earth.
[sarah at tinbarnvineyards dot com]
Justin Nevius, COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
A native New Englander, Justin spent his formative years on Cape Cod where he developed a love for music, literature and writing. It wasn’t until he was studying these subjects at the University of Massachusetts and working part-time at a liquor store that he discovered another passion: wine. This led him to New York City where he found a position at a prestigious Lower Manhattan wine shop. Working alongside some of the greatest minds in the wine world, he devoured wine books to learn about different wine regions, varietals, and styles of winemaking. He also sipped and savored some pretty exceptional wines.
Seeking new adventures and weary of the harsh New England winters, he set out for California. Settling here at Tin Barn Vineyards, Justin is thrilled to share his love of wine with you by assisting Amy Bess with winery communications, and by connecting with guests in the tasting room. He's especially excited to witness and share glimpses of the winemaking process.
[justin at tinbarnvineyards dot com]
YVETTE RANGEL, TASTING ROOM ASSOCIATE
A recent graduate of Sonoma State University, Yvette is a seasoned traveler with a thirst for both wine and adventure. She completed her degrees in sociology and Spanish while living in Madrid. In her year there she used what little time was not taken up by studying to explore Europe. Afterward, unwilling to resist the allure of new horizons, she moved to a village in Tanzania to teach English.
Upon returning to Northern California, Yvette was drawn to explore new territory in the wine world. As weekend tasting room associate, she is eager to greet the familiar faces of return guests, as well as those of new friends and wayfarers who've followed their own wanderlust to discover Tin Barn Vineyards.