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"Everything that we do is based on our beliefs that wine should be -- and our wine will be -- known for the property from which it originates, rather than its varietal composition," Agustin states.

Born in Santiago, Chile, Agustin Huneeus began his career there and is one of the few vintners who has dedicated his entire professional life to the wine industry. He entered the wine business in 1960 as Chief Executive Officer of Concha y Toro. Then a small winery, Concha y Toro grew to become Chile's largest winery under Agustin's leadership. In 1971, Chile's difficult political climate led Agustin to leave his home country. He subsequently headed Seagram's worldwide operations, responsible for wineries in seven countries, including the United States. He founded Noble Vineyard in 1977, which later acquired Concannon Vineyard, a premium winery in the Livermore Valley.

Agustin became partner and acting President of Franciscan Estates in 1985. Under his leadership, the ailing company was transformed into a successful group of premium wine estates. In 1999, Agustin sold his interest in Franciscan Estates. Today, he devotes his time to realizing his dream of developing Quintessa into a world-class wine estate. He also maintains vineyard holdings in Chile, Alexander Valley and Napa Valley.

Agustin was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Wine Spectator in 1996. He is an accomplished and enthusiastic cellist, skier and horseman.

Portrait of Valeria Huneeus

"I believe that we are stewards of the land." This is the quietly stated philosophy of Valeria Huneeus, Ph.D., microbiologist, viticulturist and architect of the Quintessa vineyard. Valeria stumbled on the Rutherford property during a time when she was searching for a new vineyard management project, one that would allow her to work closer to her husband than had her previous commitments. Her vision and perseverance made it possible to buy the property, which more than a dozen other suitors had failed in their efforts to purchase.

Born in Chile, Valeria originally intended to study medicine, but redirected her love of science into viticulture and enology. After graduating from the University of Chile, she worked as a viticulturist in the Southern Hemisphere. When Valeria and Agustin moved to New York and began a family, Valeria broadened her interests, pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University. She then spent ten years doing research in cholesterol and cell metabolism with the Veterans Administration and the University of California at San Francisco.

"I wanted to see the sun again," she smiles, explaining the next curve in her career: developing the Mistral vineyard in Santa Clara County with her husband.  This project gave her valuable practical experience that she was able to use in the development of Quintessa. "Quintessa was a rare opportunity," she reflects, "but the topography was a great challenge. An avid proponent of a sustainable approach to agriculture that seeks harmony with the land, Valeria took special care to be respectful of the landscape and the soil. Many other facets of this philosophy have been applied to the development of the Quintessa vineyard and its daily care.

Charles Thomas joined the Quintessa team as winemaker in June 2007. He has a storied career with some of the most highly regarded wineries in the industry including Robert Mondavi Winery, Domaine Chandon, Cardinale and Rudd.

Charles embarked on his journey into the world of winemaking, starting literally from the ground up as he was studying at the University of California, Berkeley. His early experiences include installing vineyard irrigation systems throughout Napa and parts of Sonoma, operating presses and tending vineyards for Domaine Chandon, leading tours at Robert Mondavi Winery and buying the wines for the Sonoma Cheese Company.

In 1978, Charles joined Robert Mondavi Winery's production department moving through positions including barrel enologist, senior enologist and assistant winemaker. After gaining a thorough knowledge of every aspect of winemaking he was promoted to head winemaker. He assisted in the creation, execution and evolution of Opus One from 1979 through 1994.

In 1994, Charles moved to Jackson Family Farms where he worked closely with the rebuilding of Cardinale's vineyards and winemaking techniques. From there, he joined Rudd in 2002 where he directed changes to both the winery and vineyards. Charles lives on Napa Valley's Mount Veeder at the vineyard property he shares with his wife, Lily.