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Our legacy isn’t just about the wines we create—it’s about the traditions we honor and our unwavering commitment to excellence. Meet the individuals behind the scenes, each adding a unique touch to the legacy we continue to build.

james-foster

James Foster

Senior Director of Winemaking

James Foster’s winemaking career did not happen by chance. As a child, he was raised on the family farm, the historic Roseland Plantation in Eufaula, Alabama, where they farmed peanuts, hay and cotton. Although James grew up in Alabama, his father worked in the California wine industry, and James began to follow in his footsteps.

In 2002, James became Head Winemaker at Concannon. Always a lover of Bordeaux varieties, he is honored to be working with the original Concannon Margaux heritage clones and first-released, Concannon Cabernet Clones 7, 8 and 11 in continuing Concannon’s legacy in Cabernet Sauvignon.

Brett Fikse

Brett Fikse

Assistant Winemaker

Since 2012, Brett has played a vital role in Concannon’s winemaking, embodying our philosophy and dedication to crafting complex, harmonious, and age-worthy wines. Beginning in the cellar, he tackled tasks like racking, blending, and equipment sanitation. Progressing to the laboratory, Brett analyzed components throughout harvest, fermentation, blending, and bottling. Today, he holds the position of Assistant Winemaker. An avid runner completing marathons, including the Livermore Valley Half, he’s not only a skilled winemaker but also a accomplished homebrewer. Brett humorously embraces the saying, “Making good wine requires a lot of beer!”

Paul Buwalda

Paul Buwalda

Viticulturist & Vineyard Manager

Hailing from Wisconsin, Paul embarked on his agricultural journey on his family’s dairy farm. Cultivating a passion for sustainable farming, he pursued Agricultural Business at Dordt College in Iowa. After a decade on his father’s Wisconsin farm, Paul, along with his family, relocated to California.

In 2015, Paul became a vital part of the Concannon Vineyard winegrowing team. Serving as Viticulturist, he spearheads our vineyard management, sustainable farming, and green practices initiatives while meticulously preserving our historic vineyards and vines. Paul pays extra special attention to our Mother Vine Vineyard and Block 7 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards. He also oversees our experimental vineyard, continuously testing new grape varieties and trellising methods to foster ongoing innovation in the vineyards.

Heidi Rasmussen

Heidi Rasmussen

Director of DTC Sales and Hospitality

For over 15 years, Heidi has been a beacon of positivity and passion at Concannon. Under her leadership, Concannon has earned the title of Best Winery in the Bay Area multiple times. Heidi extends her influence beyond the winery, actively contributing to the Livermore Valley Wine Association and Livermore Chamber of Commerce, where she serves on the Board of Directors for both organizations.

Outside of work, Heidi cherishes family time, global travel, outdoor pursuits, and involvement in local community events. A dedicated mother to a 16-year-old son, she instills the value of “Try” in his life—encouraging fearlessness in embracing new ideas, sports, approaches, and experiences.

Kelsea Rounds

Kelsea Rounds

Wine Club Manager

Kelsea, our dedicated Wine Club Manager, has played a crucial role at Concannon Vineyard since 2013. At the core of Kelsea’s approach is a commitment to cultivating community within the wine club. Her vision extends beyond transactions; she strives to forge connections, organize engaging events, and establish a space where members truly feel part of something special.

Married and a proud mother of two, she balances family life with her role, emphasizing a healthy work-life balance. Evenings are dedicated to monster truck races with her son and playing dolls with her daughter. Post-bedtime, Kelsea focuses on personal health and well-being, discovering a newfound passion for weightlifting.

Niki DiPietro

Niki DiPietro

Tasting Room Manager

Meet Niki, the passionate and seasoned Tasting Room Manager at Concannon Vineyard. Niki’s approach to managing the tasting room goes beyond pouring. She believes in creating a welcoming and educational atmosphere where visitors can not only savor the flavors but also gain insights into the winemaking process and the rich history of Concannon.

Away from the tasting room, you might find Niki exploring local farmers’ markets, seeking out unique food pairings, or visiting another Livermore Valley winery. Her commitment to sustainability aligns seamlessly with Concannon’s eco-friendly practices, ensuring that every aspect of the winery experience reflects a dedication to both quality and responsibility.

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