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Our Staff

Jessi Gatewood, Head Winemaker


After earning a B.A. in Biopsychology at Mary Baldwin College and a Master’s degree at the University of Richmond, Jessi worked as research faculty at the University of Virginia when she reached a turning point in her professional life. Instead of staying in a traditional lab, she had a fortuitous meeting with Gabriele Rausse who instilled in her a love of the science and art of winemaking. In the ensuing years she worked in the cellars of several Virginia wineries--first meeting Michael in 2009 when he consulted for Pollak, where she worked as an assistant winemaker.  Her first head winemaker position was with Stone Mountain Vineyards in 2013 and,  the next year she was hired as the winemaker for Barren Ridge Vineyards, where together she and Michael crafted award-winning wines.   Jessi left Barren Ridge after the 2016 harvest to be with her newborn son and in 2017 joined Wineworks as Associate winemaker.  In 2018 she was promoted to Head Winemaker.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Trapeni,

Production Manager

Jess graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech in 2011.  After working in Process Development at a DNA company, she joined Wineworks in 2015 to run the wine lab.  In addition to expertise in the laboratory, Jess has refined and created many of our complex spreadsheets and systems that enable us to organize and manage the myriad of details and intricacies involved in our high-level production process, from harvest through bottling.  She is a wiz at Excel and all things detail-oriented.  

Cellar Crew

Jessica Trapeni, Production Manager

Steve Equi, Bottling Facility Manager and Associate Winemaker    

AJ Greeley, Assistant Winemaker

John Melton, Assistant Winemaker

Jason Greer, Assistant Winemaker

Gill Tinder, Cellar Assistant

 

 

Christie Shaps,

Retail & Marketing

Christie began her career in the wine industry in 1995 working at Jefferson Vineyards as the Tasting Room, Events & Office manager.  Over the years she has worked at several wineries, consulted throughout Virginia for start-up wineries and now oversees both Tasting Rooms, marketing, events, Wine Club and human resources for Wineworks.

Elizabeth Erickson,

Administration & Compliance 

After graduating with a B.A. in Communications & Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, Elizabeth spent nearly two years in Nice, France, where she absorbed the culture and language.  There she developed a deep affection for wine and its meaningful place at the table.  

Immediately upon her return to the States she began a career in wine wholesale and importation with The Country Vintner.  She has been in the wine business, in multiple capacities, ever since.  She currently manages the logistics, administration and compliance for Michael Shaps Wineworks, Maison Shaps, and Kenahora Wine Company (Michael's small importation company focused on wine from France).