Sweet Cheeks Winery


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Sweet Cheeks
Winery Family

We believe that the people make the place and we work together each day to achieve our shared goal.


Dan Smith


Dan was the mastermind behind Sweet Cheeks Winery. He started this vineyard many years ago, dreamed about moving his “Briggs Hill Boys Club” to the top of his vineyard, and one day, thank goodness, looked around and decided to open a winery.

He took a chance on a quiet cellar worker who would forever change the destiny of this winery. He built a patio that has been host to hundreds, if not thousands, of special moments in people’s lives. He took a small building that could barely handle 2,000 cases and made it the winery we all know and love today.

Thank you, Dan. Thank you for building this place that will always be a place that is so special to so many. Sweet Cheeks Winery will continue to be a special place for so many because Dan built it to be that place.


Leo Gabica


Leo was the first employee ever hired at Sweet Cheeks Winery. In 2005, he started as our Assistant Winemaker and stepped into the role of Winemaker in 2013. Between his incredible work ethic and more than 15 years of experience in the wine industry, Leo has played a major role in building Sweet Cheeks into the winery that it is. Leo has earned many prestigious accolades and continues to expand our wine portfolio each year. Originally from the Philippines, his wife and three children are a huge part of his life. Leo also remains very active in the community by coaching youth athletic teams.


Beth Smith


With more than 25 years of bookkeeping and financial experience, Beth has been a member of the Sweet Cheeks Family since opening our doors in 2005. She has watched the winery grow and helped Dan bring his visions to life. Beth continues to support each member of the Sweet Cheeks Winery family and offers a fresh perspective to steer us in the right direction. Along with her canine sidekick Shanae, she is always ready for our next Sweet Cheeks Winery adventure.


Jessica Thomas

General Manager

After earning a degree in 2010 from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Jessica knew she needed to return home to the Pacific Northwest. Jessica joined the Sweet Cheeks Family in 2011, working part-time in the tasting room. After graduating from The University of Oregon in 2013, she managed the wine club and marketing until 2015. Spending a year traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Western Europe, and working briefly in Napa and Sonoma, Jessica returned as General Manager of Sweet Cheeks Winery in early 2016. Jessica also rescued two stray kittens found at the winery, Ollie and Cheeks.


Katie Brown

Director of Consumer Sales & Marketing

Katie saved the day, joining the Sweet Cheeks Family the day of our Wine Club Appreciation Dinner in 2012. She continued to work part-time in the tasting room while completing her degree at The University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. Upon graduation, Katie gradually stepped into the role of Marketing Coordinator. She has helped bridge new partnerships with local companies and programs. Outside of the winery, Katie can be spotted at other local wineries and breweries with her cute husband and their puppy, Sheldon.


Bernardino Ramirez

Vineyard Manager

Joining our team in 2014, Bernardino has played a crucial role in maintaining our vineyard. His vineyard crew fearlessly follows his lead year-round as they keep a close eye on the vines. Harvest is his favorite time of the year, making sure each row is picked at the right moment. Bernardino loves the farming lifestyle and raises goats and chickens with his wife and children.


Mallory Erb

Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Mallory has been part of the Sweet Cheeks Family since 2011, starting part time in the tasting room. Her electric personality allowed her to quickly transition into our Event Director. A native Eugene girl, Mallory knows all of the ins and outs of hosting a spectacular event at the winery. She even hosted her own wedding reception at Sweet Cheeks in 2013. When Mallory isn’t at the winery, you can find her riding her bike through Eugene, or relaxing with her husband and adorable puppy, Stella.


Ian Gabica


Following in his dad’s footsteps, Ian has fallen in love with the wine industry. A member of the Sweet Cheeks Family since 2013, Ian has helped with winemaking, local distribution deliveries, vineyard maintenance, and everything in between. With his bright smile and positive attitude, Ian is always willing to help to grow Sweet Cheeks Winery. He is our true jack-of-all-trades.

Sergio Ruiz

Cellar Master

Sergio started at Sweet Cheeks Winery on the vineyard team in 2014 and has been a valuable member of our family ever since. Sergio worked in vineyards all over the South Willamette Valley for eight years prior to joining us. Now working full-time in the cellar, harvest season is still Sergio’s favorite time of year. He loves spending time with this family, fishing, and riding bikes with his two children.

Sarah Tunnell

Lab Technician

An Oregon native, Sarah fell in love with wine in her early twenties while working at a small catering company doing wine dinners. She dabbled in writing about affordable wines, but decided to work a harvest in 2015 and never looked back. After working at a few wineries in the South Willamette Valley, California, and New Zealand, she found the perfect position at Sweet Cheeks Winery. In her spare time you can find her eating and drinking at local spots, hiking, and spending time with her husband and dog.

Brittany Jensen

Wine Club & Administrative Manager

Brittany grew up in the heart of wine country and always hoped to work at a winery one day. She discovered Sweet Cheeks Winery in July of 2019 when she and her husband made the decision to move to Eugene from her hometown of Dundee, Oregon. Right away, she knew this was the perfect place to start her career in wine. Brittany graduated from George Fox University in 2018 with a major in Education. In her time off, Brittany enjoys spending time with her husband, visiting local breweries & wineries, and exploring Eugene with their black lab, Laina.

Charlie & Barley

Winery Dogs

Charlie and Barley come to work each day at the winery and excel at their job responsibilities, including napping in the Barrel Hall, jumping in the pond on the tasting room patio, and following the vineyard crew around the property. Every day is a new adventure for our winery dogs, and we can’t imagine making wine without them!