Meet the Team

Meet the Team

GARY & PHIL CARACCIOLI
Founders

In 2006, Gary and Phil Caraccioli partnered to develop a premier estate sparkling wine brand in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Planting Escolle in the coming years allowed for this vision to fully develop into the focus that drives Caraccioli Cellars to this day.

SCOTT CARACCIOLI
general manager

Scott Caraccioli is a fourth generation Swiss-Italian, born and raised in the heart of Salinas Valley’s agricultural industry. In 2008, Scott graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a Masters in Business Marketing. He works daily with the winery, vineyard and hospitality teams to ensure all aspects of Caraccioli Cellars are setting the bar for sparkling wine production and experience in the United States. Scott has been an active member on the executive boards for the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, Carmel Chamber of Commerce, and previously held the title of President of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association from 2014-16 & 2018-19. He was instrumental in passing conjunctive labeling throughout Monterey County and remains invested in the evolution of Monterey County as a wine region.

MICHEL SALGUES
founding winemaker

Michel Salgues earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Inra-SupAgro in Montpellier and an M.S in Food Science from The University of California at Davis. He built a name for himself in the American sparkling wine field during his 20-year career at Roederer Estate, one of the pioneers of wine production in the Anderson Valley. As Vice President of Production and Wine Maker for the U.S. branch of Roederer Group, Salgues was at the helm of this premier sparkling wine facility from 1985 to 2004.

After retirement in 2004 from Roederer Estate, Michel continued his passion for winemaking with the Caraccioli Family. Under Michel’s guidance the Caraccioli Cellars brand established key wine growing and making techniques that formed the basis of its foundation that continues to live on in production today. Michel spent a decade sharing his immense knowledge and practices with the Caraccioli team and passed away in October 2017.

GREG VITA
head winemaker

Greg graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Botany and Plant Science and landed in St. Helena with Spring Mountain Vineyards, ascending to Head Wine Maker and General Manager. He assisted in establishing their custom crush facility ultimately making wines for greats such as Frog’s Leap, Dunn, Philip Tongi and Chimney Rock.

Greg has been a vineyard and winemaking consultant to wineries in the Napa Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County for the last 24 years. Greg worked alongside Michel Salgues as a peer and took over production of Caraccioli’s still wine program in 2014. After Michel’s passing in 2017, Greg took over as the head winemaker overseeing all Caraccioli Cellars production.

CHRIS VITA
assistant winemaker

The son of winemakers Greg and Diana Vita, Chris got his start working in various cellars with his parents. Chris chose to make this passion his career after graduating from the esteemed winemaking program at UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology. He is a winemaker and consultant primarily in Monterey County. Chris’ winemaking philosophy rests upon a balance of science and tradition using modern technologies to support traditional winemaking techniques.

ERNESTO URIBE
cellar master

Ernesto was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and came to the United States when he was three years old. He was raised with strong roots in the agricultural community in South Monterey County and worked with the Caraccioli family’s agriculture company. Michel Salgues was quick to notice his potential and that he possessed a skill set that would be beneficial to the Caraccioli Cellars team. Ernesto worked alongside Michel and used his skills to aid in harvest, production and bottling. He continues to work closely with the winemaking team through each new vintage.

SAMANTHA COOPER
director of hospitality

Samantha is a Bakersfield native and attended CSU Monterey Bay. She graduated in 2008 with a degree in Business Administration, emphasis on Marketing and Management. Samantha refined her skill set with various hospitality professions before finding a home with Caraccioli Cellars in 2011. She oversees every customer experience aspect from the tasting room and outside events to online presence. In addition to entertaining members in the downtown Carmel tasting room and coordinating each successful wine club release, she plays a pivotal role in all aspects of hospitality management at Caraccioli Cellars.

DANA PARSONS
tasting room manager

Dana was born and raised in Massachusetts and studied retail management. With a hospitality driven demeanor and retail management background, Dana also pursued her interest of becoming a licensed esthetician and spent many years perfecting her craft. She moved to California and held hospitality management positions with several wineries throughout northern and central California before joining the Caraccioli team in 2018. Dana is instrumental in providing optimal tasting experiences for all Caraccioli guests.

ALBERTO
vineyard manager

Alberto learned the ropes of the agriculture industry at a young age and honed his expertise as a licensed landscaper and contractor. He managed vineyards in Carmel Valley and took viticulture courses at UC Davis before taking over as the vineyard manager of Escolle in 2019. Alberto enjoys every facet of the vineyard: from pruning and cultivation to veraison and harvest. He can often be found walking rows and his meticulous management is driving the quality at Escolle to new heights.

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