Mike Benziger was born in White Plains, New York but his family migrated to Sonoma when he was only four years old. He considers himself, for all intents and purposes, a Sonoma native, as his formative years were spent wiling away his time at his family’s winery, Benziger, and causing mayhem with his cousins on the winery grounds. As a teenager, he stood out in Sonoma as a star basketball player and recruitment from a New York college lead him to obtain his undergraduate degree in Business Management and History from Manhattanville College. Out of college, he joined Young’s Market Company as a sales representative and learned the chain store business. Somewhat disenchanted with the lack of romance and mystery in straight-ahead chain sales, he went to work for a collective winery tasting room in San Francisco’s iconic wharf district. Mike's interest in the wine business became more of an obsession after a winemaking internship at his family's winery. Being intimately involved in all aspects of winegrowing and winemaking during his internship; from working the canopy in the vineyard, to picking grapes, to the crush, punch-downs, barreling down, topping off the barrels: every aspect of wine production (which involves countless hours of washing and re-washing every winery tool imaginable!) he decided to pursue the wine business with an even greater degree of commitment and seriousness. Mike often says that he finally found his mode of creative expression when he discovered winemaking. Mike joined forces with boyhood friend, Ben Flajnik, and they launched Envolve Winery®.
Ben Flajnik was raised in Sonoma with an irrepressible urge to dream big and make music. An accomplished musician, he began life with an innate entrepreneurial spirit which lead him at an early age to explore the music business. Following a colorful, fun and memorable childhood in Sonoma, Ben pursued Music Production at University of Arizona. While still playing and making music, Ben established a highly successful Internet advertising company in San Diego but could never quite shake the desire to make wine, having been raised in Sonoma wine country alongside friends, like Mike Benziger, whose families worked in the wine industry. When Mike Benziger suggested they finally create the brand they’d both only dreamed about, he didn’t hesitate and together they established Envolve Winery®. “We couldn’t have done this without Mike’s family. They’ve been great with us. They’ve functioned as our mentors, our inspiration and have provided us with great resources to do what we want to do. You never make this journey alone and Mike and I couldn’t have done this without the kind folks at Benziger.” In his 28th year, Ben was seen on ABC’s “The Bachelorette”, an experience that he describes as equal parts “bittersweet and revelatory. That experience really allowed me to open myself up a bit more. That’s a tremendous gift. I became not only a better son and brother from that. I’d like to think I became a better man, too. We’ll see.” Ben was also seen on ABC’s “The Bachelor”, which he viewed as a genuine journey, to discover not only love, but also, more about himself as a man.
British by blood, Californian by accent, and French by education, Danny Fay is a true citizen of the globe. Born in Oxford, England, his family later migrated to Sonoma, California when he was just 10 years old. At 12, Mike’s dad accidently drilled Danny in the chin with a fastball during batting practice; they’ve been best friends ever since. He holds a Wine Marketing B.S. from Cal Poly (SLO) and a Wine MBA from Bordeaux Ecolé de Management in France. For the last 2 years, he has been backpacking the world, making wine in California and Australia, while studying biodynamic winemaking in New Zealand and France. In 2012, Fay assumed his role at Envolve Winery® as Managing Director of Brand Development, a position well-suited to his personality, as Danny finds the greatest rewards can be found in sharing wine with consumers who may have previously found it too mysterious to understand. Indeed, Danny’s mission is to demystify wine for the average consumer and to introduce them to its many joys and delights. “For me, the greatest thing about wine is that it seems to bring people together, in these moments in time, when everyone is relaxed, happy to be around one another, and grateful for that specific moment of leisure.”
Kate Benziger was born and raised in Sonoma, California. Just like her brother, Kate spent most of her years in and around the vineyards at her family's winery. Finding it hard to deny her roots, Kate found her true love for the wine industry when she began interning at Benziger as a teenager. Trying to find her niche within the wine industry, she interned with different departments every summer - Marketing, Sales, Hospitality and the Lab. Ultimately, developing a passion about everything wine and learning what it takes to survive within the business. In an attempt to see what lied outside of Sonoma, Kate ventured off to study Communications and Spanish at the University of Arizona. After graduating in 2011, she always knew she would one day return to wine country as wine has always been in her blood. Conveniently, Mike, Ben & Danny had just started expanding Envolve and needed a person they could trust and count on. Kate has been a phenomenal asset to our family and has become a younger sister to all of us. She is currently running our marketing, inventory and customer relations departments. When she's not at work, she can be found roaming the streets of San Francisco where she currently resides.
A born and raised California girl, Mecaela has always been in close proximity to wine country. After high school she was not ready to commit to one area of study without first exploring all the options. Traveling up and down California, she worked as a chef and attended five different colleges, taking courses in any and every subject she could. With a love of art, music and world cultures, but no particular talents as an artist, it was ultimately her passion for food that led her to the wine industry. One day after wine tasting in Sonoma with her family, she stumbled across the wine program at Cal Poly SLO, and it was then she found her calling in life. The thing she loves most about wine is how it is an ever changing artform that can be shared with others and is a beautiful way to bring people together. After completing her BS degree in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in Wine Business, Mecaela decided to continue her education abroad. She completed a program in Enology at University École d' Changins in Nyon, Switzerland, followed by extensive travel throughout the European wine regions. Visiting small family wine producers in the Northern Rhone and throughout Italy secured the notion that working for a family business would make her happiest. After working as an Assistant Sommelier in London, she said goodbye to restaurant work, returned stateside, and has been living and working in Napa/Sonoma wine industry ever since. In her spare time, she is the author of the Napa Brunch column for Examiner.com and started a food blog with her boyfriend titled The Two Forks. When she is not in the kitchen, she can be found strolling the park with her dog Barley.
A California native, Terri is originally from Fair Oaks and grew up biking and hiking the river trails. Terri received her B.A. in English from UC Davis with a semester at the University of Edinburgh. Terri loves to travel, especially within California and has seen both sides of the Pacific from Hawaii to China and many European cities in between. An avid reader and sometimes artist, Terri taught folk dance for years in the Sacramento area. It was through dance that she discovered her talent for designing and hand-sewing historic costumes for fairs and weddings. Terri has working in various environments, including publishing and health insurance, but found her niche specializing in winery accounting and bookkeeping since moving to the Napa Valley in 2002. The wine industry is a close knit community and Terri enjoys the industry and its link to the unique Sonoma/Napa land. Terri oversees Envolve Winery's accounting, sales processing, human resources, compliance and enjoys participating in the winery's special events. Outside of work, Terri enjoys the outdoors, reading and cooking with her highschool sweetheart, John. She also relishes her time with family and friends, and her six oddball cats: Chloe, Stinky, Callie, Napoleon, Abigail and freeloading neighbor cat, Melvin.
Tiffany Burningham, a native to Sonoma, is no stranger to the wine industry. Her dad is a partner of Benziger Winery and growing up on the vineyards really instilled in Tiffany a passion for wine and its ability to create a positive and uplifting atmosphere among family and friends. She was offered the unique opportunity of interning in different departments of Benziger Winery such as hospitality, production and marketing while growing up in Sonoma. She attended Humboldt State University studying studio art and finished up at San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Anthropology. Though she enjoyed getting out of Sonoma to explore the world and discover who she was, it was her longing to be close to family and desire to raise her own son, Judah, in the magical place where she grew up, that ultimately brought Tiffany back home to Sonoma. Being back around the winery and her love for it sparked an interest in Tiffany to pursue a career in the wine industry. She was not only inspired by her father's work at Benziger Winery, but through her mother, a business owner, who always emphasized the importance of being a strong, independent woman, and a glass of Chardonnay can fix just about anything. Coming from a very big family, Tiffany has seen first-hand how wine brings people together, and she wants to be a part of creating that happiness for others. She has been close friends with Ben, Danny & Mike since they were young and is excited to work with them by using her own creativity to help build a positive place in the Tasting Room. Tiffany has worked at upscale wine bars in San Francisco and has been a bartender for the past seven years. She knows that her love for service in the hospitality industry will be a contributing asset to the Envolve team. Aside from her passion for wine, Tiffany enjoys traveling, fire dancing, working out, painting, making jewelry, cooking, creating yummy cocktails and spending time with her son on their biodynamic farm. She believes in living life to its fullest, taking each moment as it comes and seeing the beauty in lifes everyday miracles.
Colette, more frequently known as "Danny's sister," found herself in the wine country at the early age of 6. After graduating highschool, Colette felt she needed to see beyond the beautiful vineyards of Sonoma, which is why she packed up and moved to San Luis Obispo, CA. Although she was surrounded by the smell of harvest and the hype of great wine, she never indulged in the wine business until a few years later. The closest she got to the viticulture world was drinking kegs in the vineyards, which she states "makes great walls." Eventually, Colette moved back to Sonoma so she could be closer to her favorite "man"... her nephew Jaidyn. After a couple years, Colette was lost on what path she wanted to endeavor on, so she packed her suitcase and headed to the land of OZ. Australia is where she first dabbled in the wine world, and a great one it was. Here she worked for a company based out of Sydney, Wine Odyssey. After spending half a year learning everything she could about the "Magic Juice," she headed back to the states where she had wine on her mind. For Colette, it was perfect timing. Her older brother and his two childhood friends were opening their tasting room for their every growing winery, Envolve. She jumped at the idea of learning more and challenging herself to work in the wine industry as a lifelong career. She now manages the Tasting Room in downtown Sonoma and is constantly being challenged by her great friend, boss and brother - Danny Fay.
John Eddy, "John Boy," was born and raised far, far away from wine country - Tucson, AZ. He stayed in Tucson and attended the University of Arizona and did a study abroad program in Newcastle, Australia for six months. John knew from an early age that he always wanted to follow in his fathers and Uncles footsteps in the Commercial Real Estate industry. Shortly after college, he moved to Newport Beach, CA where he worked for a small boutique real estate firm. After a year, John decided to move back to Arizona to be close to his family where he worked for four years at the Cassidy Turley in Phoenix. Wanting a change in scenery and being confused as to whether or not commercial real estate was really for him, John decided to move to the bay area to give it one more shot. After working for seven months at Cornish & Carey in Santa Clara, John knew he needed to move on to a different profession. He moved up to the great city of San Francisco and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get his feet wet in the wine industry while working with some great friends. Besides making some wine with Ben back in college, which was called "Buena Spremuta," John didn't have much experience in the wine industry. He has been learning more and more about wine each and every day and is very excited to see where this opportunity might take him.
Nathan is a Sonoma native who was born and raised on the south side. After graduating high school he ventured to California State University, Chico to find a world outside of Sonoma. After leaving Chico he sought out quality of life in both Arcata and Berkeley, but still did not feel at home. Ten years later he has found comfort in moving back to Sonoma to set down roots in the Valley of the Moon. Being an environmentalist, the outdoors have always played a large role in his life. Environmental Science continues to be a foundation in his outlook upon the world and life at large. With experience in the fermentation industry, Nathan has a wealth of knowledge in the Sonoma Wine Community that he loves to share with a charismatic and energetic style. His BS in Environmental Science and Hydrology bring another real of science based conversation to the table, helping visitors understand the sustainability efforts at Envolve Winery. Happy to be home, Nathan is learning more about the wine industry by day and is excited to be a part of the Envolve family.