DEAN WALTERS Founder, Managing Director
& President of the Board of the ECWTM
Founder, Managing Director & President of the Board of the Early California Wine
For thirty-five years, Dean Walters pursued his trade as an antiques dealer and agent specializing in wine & Champagne related antiques leading to an increased awareness of California’s impressive early wine trade before the onset of Prohibition. Collecting artifacts from this period became a passion as the significance of these rare wine trade artifacts became more apparent.
Dean’s collection has become a substantial archive over the years. This website’s galleries include many fine examples from the archive, revealing a comprehensive vision of California’s early wine trade.
Dean has contributed numerous illustrated articles about the early California wine trade to the Wayward Tendrils Quarterly, a wine book collector’s society publication. He was guest curator in 1994 for Copia in Napa, a museum for wine, food and the arts. He organized materials for their exhibition, Grapes in the Golden West which focused on California’s early wine trade. In the fall of 2011 Dean created an exhibit and talk for the Cloverdale Historical Society Museum, with a focus on pre-Prohibition wineries of northern Sonoma County, including Italian Swiss Colony at Asti. Dean has organized many displays and exhibitions which are illustrated in our gallery’s Past Displays & Exhibitions.
In 2013, he wrote and illustrated a chapter “California Wine Industry” for Wine Antiques & Collectibles, a book by Don Bull and Joseph Paradi, released by Schiffer Books Inc. In the early 1960s, Dean studied architecture in Berkeley at the University of California’s School of Environmental Design. He later served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a language specialist. In the early 1970s, Dean received a bachelor of arts in illustration photography from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, and practiced commercial photography in Portland, Oregon and in the San Francisco Bay area. Dean changed course in 1983. The wine antiques trade was a natural transition, having come from a family of antiques collectors in Sonoma County wine country, and having found an avid interest in California’s wine industry as a student at UC Berkeley.
Dean and Stephanie Blythe married in 2006, and currently live in San Anselmo, Marin County.
Stephanie earned a BFA in fabric design from the Philadelphia College of Art (currently University of the Arts) in 1968, and an MA in Applied Psychology from The University of Santa Monica in 1988. Stephanie has enjoyed a lengthy and successful career with creations known as ‘Art Dolls’. Recognized as one of the finest artists in her field, Stephanie has created a body of work that has been exhibited internationally and can be found in celebrated private and public collections including the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs at the Louvre in Paris, The White House Christmas Tree and The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City. Stephanie is currently acting as board Secretary. Learn more about Stephanie’s thirty-eight-year career at her Website: stephanieblythe.com
Stephanie also shares her time and energy with two influential organizations dedicated to the welfare of the international doll community. She is an Artist and Board Member of The National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA), and The United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC).
Stephanie has been a long term advisor in the formation of the ECWTM, and joined the board of directors in 2015 as CFO, a position she holds today.
GRAEME MACDONALD Founding Board Member & Vice-President
Founding Board Member & Vice President
Graeme MacDonald is a fourth generation Napa Valley grape-grower and winemaker. Born in San Francisco, he now lives in St. Helena with his family, and produces wine from his family owned property within the historic To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville. In 1954, his great-grandparents planted the first vines on the estate since prohibition. The resulting grapes have been sold exclusively to the Robert Mondavi Winery since its inception. Robert “Bob” Mondavi used to refer to his family as “the best grape-growers in the Napa Valley,” a commitment that resonates today.
After graduating from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, he founded MACDONALD with his brother Alex. Together they produce a Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from old vines planted by successive generations of their family. In 2012, Graeme took over farming their 15 acre vineyard, which is performed by his own hands. In 2016, he became the consulting winemaker at Blankiet Estate in Yountville. His interests include Napa Valley history and the To-Kalon and Oakville regions in particular.
Graeme served on the board as Secretary from 2015 through 2019, and currently as Vice President since 2015.
Andrea arrived in the United States from Austria as a small child with her family as part of post WWII displaced persons emigration program, and settled in San Francisco. She later attended San Francisco State University, graduating with a BA in English Literature in 1972.
She married Mark Miller, and for several years lived with him in Germany while he served in the U.S. military. They eventually returned to Napa to raise a family, as Andrea worked at Napa Valley College as an English instructor and writing tutor.
Her career changed in 2001 when she accepted a position for the De La Salle Christian Brothers Archives at Mont La Salle on Mt. Veeder close to Napa. Their archives held not only the history of the Catholic teaching order, but also the important records of their wineries in the Napa Valley, which included Mount La Salle winery on Mt. Veeder, and Greystone in St. Helena.
Andrea received archival certification from the Western Archives Institute in 2001, and went on to become Director of the Archives at Mont La Salle, and continued her education with courses in preservation in the digital era. She has written numerous articles about the District’s history and the winery’s role in the growth of the Napa Valley. She retired from her DLS post in 2015, and joined our organization soon after.
Justy’s family legacy is deeply rooted in California history. His namesake and great-great grandfather, Justinian Caire (1827 to 1897), purchased Santa Cruz Island and the Santa Cruz Island Company in 1880, and built a grand two story brick winery on the island in the early 1890s.
Justy is also the great-great-grandson of Joseph Ballinger Chiles (1810 – 1885), who came to California by wagon train in 1841. Chiles purchased the Rancho Laguna de Santos Calle in 1850, the site of today’s Davis, California, and later settled with his family in what would be named for him, Chiles Valley, where he established a grain mill.
A native Californian raised in Nevada City, Justy currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely wife Nikki and two children, Stella and Valentino.
Justy received a degree in Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz in 2001, and was later certified as a sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2007.
He is founder & CEO of Vinosmith (software for the wholesale wine trade) in San Francisco, continuous since 2012, and is an associate broker at Vinifera Wine Marketing in San Francisco since 2007.
Justy currently sits on the board and serves as treasurer for the Santa Cruz Island Foundation.
Bert is a fifth-generation native Californian. Dating to the Gold Rush, Bert’s family legacy is rooted in the state’s early wine industry as he is the great-great-grandson of Charles Kohler, co-founder of California’s renowned and historic Kohler & Frohling winery (1854 to 1920).
Bert received his degree in Agricultural Business Management at UC Davis in 1970, and studied at Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. His career took a turn as he found himself in upper management in road and highway construction, culminating in his position as Executive Director of Transportation California.
Just a few of his current affiliations are with: the Bohemian Club; the Society of California Pioneers; and the Associated General Contractors as lifelong director.
In 2014 Bert fulfilled a life-long dream when he revived the family’s legacy winery name as Kohler & Frohling Wines LLC, and currently serves as managing partner for their operation on Treasure Island.
John is a fourth generation Californian whose family arrived in California in the 1870s. Born in San Francisco, he grew up on the Peninsula. He attended the US Military Academy at West Point and completed his education at Santa Clara University. John and his wife Cheri have two children, Justin and Christen. Cheri’s family has a long history of being in the wine business as her great-grandfather founded V. Sattui Winery in San Francisco.
John is the Senior Managing Director for the San Francisco Bay Area office of Risk Strategies Company, an insurance and risk management firm. His office represents over three hundred wineries and vineyard owners on insurance needs.
John is a collector of pre-prohibition San Francisco liquor bottles and is on the board of the National Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors. He has long been a supporter and patron of the Early California Wine Trade Museum, and now serves on its board of directors as of January 2020. He has purchased major collections of California wine trade materials, and made them available to us for our past and current displays and exhibitions. John has pledged to gift these acquisitions to us when we have established a permanent home for our organization.
"I strongly believe that a museum devoted to the collection and preservation, indexing and dissemination of paper and real objects associated with California's vibrant, engrossing, surprising and enriching wine history is a noble and worthy endeavor.”
BO SIMONS, Retired Manager, Healdsburg Regional Library & the Sonoma County Wine Library, Healdsburg, CA