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Sweet Cheeks Winery

Welcome

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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.

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Dan Smith

Founder

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.

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Leo Gabica

Winemaker

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.

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Beth Smith

President

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.

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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, Jessica returned as General Manager of Sweet Cheeks Winery in early 2016. Jessica has also rescued two stray kittens at the winery, Ollie and Cheeks.

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Katie Brown

Marketing & Wine Club Director

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 puppy, Sheldon.

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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.

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Mallory Erb

Event Director

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.

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Ian Gabica

Production

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

Production

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.

Grace Stopher

Wine Club Manager

Grace became a curious wine aficionado while working at an Italian restaurant during college at the University of Montana. After several years as an arts administrator in Missoula, Montana, she returned to her hometown of Eugene in 2017 to pursue a career in the Oregon wine industry. She is passionate about organizing all the little details and getting to know our wine club members. Grace is also an artist, avid outdoor adventurer, and zealous world traveler.

Amy Gangloff

Winery Tasting Room Manager

After growing up in small-town Wellsville, Missouri, and graduating from William Woods University, Amy traveled and spent time in Colorado, Kansas, and eventually found herself in Eugene. Amy was quickly immersed in the food and craft beverage industry and became our Winery Tasting Room Manager in late 2016. When she isn’t at the winery, Amy is exploring new wineries and loves to expand her palate with wines she has never experienced. Amy also loves gardening, hanging out with her dogs, Millie, and cat, Daisy, camping and going to festivals and concerts.

Julia Crowley

Sweet Cheeks on 5th Tasting Room Manager

Julia brought 25+ years of wine industry experience when she joined the Sweet Cheeks Winery family in the fall of 2019. She is the namesake behind the multi-award-winning website WineJulia.com and the voice of her own wine-focused segment on the long-running news radio show, Wake Up Call. Additionally, she is the Wine Buyer/Marketing Manager at an award-winning restaurant, owns a marketing business, and frequently judges for wine competitions. Julia is a passionate wine educator with a relaxed, down-to-earth approach to teaching others about wine. When she’s not at the winery, she loves camping at the Oregon Coast and discovering Oregon’s waterfalls with her husband and two teenage boys.

Rachel Couch

Event & Hospitality Assistant

Rachel moved to Eugene in 2012 to attend the University of Oregon. A Tucson, Arizona native, Rachel quickly fell in love with the beautiful state of Oregon. A visit to the Napa Valley on a road trip piqued her interest in the wine industry, and she was thrilled to start at Sweet Cheeks Winery in 2018. When she’s not at the winery, Rachel can be found at a local dance studio, exploring the outdoors, or hanging out with her three dogs.

Brittany Jensen

Administrative Assistant & Host

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, and exploring Eugene with their puppy, Laina.

Lindsey Reichel

Host

Lindsey fell in love with wines of the Southern Willamette Valley after moving to Eugene from Portland a few years ago. When she joined the Sweet Cheeks Winery team in 2019, it was a perfect fit. Lindsey is a welcoming, knowledgable host in our tasting room and enjoys sharing her passion for wine with all of our guests. When Lindsey isn’t pouring wine, she is outdoors adventuring in the Pacific Northwest.

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!