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Our Team

Lyall Fahden Founder and Co-Owner

Lyall is among the third generation of Fahdens to work the winery, which he’s been doing since he moved back to Northern California in 1979. When he and his brother decided to go back to their roots and plant cabernet grapes in the 1980s, Lyall was there in the field. He enjoys the process of guiding the wine from “dirt to shelf.” Lyall’s hands have been in the earth here, planting vineyards, building a wall with volcanic rock dug from the soil, and placing irrigation. Every construction project on the grounds bears his handiwork, from the garden tea house to the lily ponds to both wine caves, which he carved out himself. He considers himself a student of life, always passionate about education and learning more of what the world has to offer. You can always find Lyall working the grounds, chatting with visitors, or driving his Cat D8 whenever he gets the chance. Along with his brother, Antone, he’s been proud to carry on the tradition of the Fahdens since 1912.

Favorite Wine: The Reserve Cabernet, followed closely by the Malbec.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: Sitting in the Monet-style gardens, enjoying his work.

Karen Fahden Managing Partner

Thirty years ago, Karen married Lyall and became part of the family, and by extension, part of the winery. Every day since has been a joy. She would say work is her hobby, and that’s because the work is so rewarding. She remembers a time years ago when three nuns showed up for a tasting. As she gave the ladies a tour of the grounds, one of the women leaned to her and said, “Honey, I can tell when you married into this, you married into work.” Nothing has been truer, and Karen wouldn’t have it any other way. Her work at the winery is multifaceted, including guest relations, management, event planning, and much more. When she can, she loves to spend time with her family and her two Fox Beagles, Jack and Jill, the winery’s unofficial mascots.

Favorite Wine: Karen has always loved the Cabernet, of course.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: The back pond is a lovely, secluded spot. It’s very private and serene.

Antone Fahden Founder and Co-Owner

Founder and Co-Owner

Coming Soon

Favorite Wine: 

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: 


McKayla Kennedy Assistant Winemaker

McKayla came to Hans Fahden through golf, of all things. She earned her Biology degree from Sonoma State University, where she played golf on scholarship. Her assistant coach happened to be good friends with a winery owner named Lyall, and the rest is history. She graduated in 2014 and has been with Hans Fahden since 2015, applying her microbiology education to all things wine. McKayla loves experimenting and homebrews her own kombucha. As she says, “Fermentation is my thing.”

Favorite Wine: Depends on her mood, but she loves the Sauvignon Blanc and the Mountain Cabernet grown on the property.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: Jack & Jill Hill. There’s a 360-degree view of the Valley and Mount St. Helena. It’s a very special, private spot.

Shellie Stevens DTC Wine Sales Coordinator

Shellie is a newer member of the team with an impressive history in wine advertising and marketing. We’re thrilled to welcome her into the fold! She’s made her home in Calistoga, where she’s been living and working for a few years. After six years as a liquor merchandiser for Safeway for the state of Arizona, she moved on to writing wine advertisements and promotions for Safeway in Portland, Oregon. From there, she decided she wanted to be where the real wine action was and made the move to California, where she worked as a Tasting Manager at Silverado Vineyards for a year and a half. She’s been at Hans Fahden ever since, managing our tasting room and wine club.

Favorite Wine: The Viognier holds a special place in her heart, as does the Estate Cabernet.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: Shellie loves sitting on the bridge overlooking the lily pond.

Aubrey Stucker Hospitality & Events Manager

Aubrey was born and raised in Sonoma wine country, an experience she brings with her to everything she does. Her deep love of nature and the outdoors makes her feel completely at home on the Hans Fahden grounds with its beautiful gardens and serene ponds. It’s a perfect setting for a party or wedding! Aubrey enjoys building relationships with people and seeing it through to the end when she can witness people fully enjoying their special day. People come here to connect through a shared interest and the winery is a perfect place for people to come together to enjoy wine and each other. Aubrey adores seeing that happen in real time.

Favorite Wine: The 2009 Narrative Cabernet.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: Under the teahouse looking out at the view of the mountainside, especially on a foggy or misty morning. Gorgeous!


Matt Denny Social Media Manager

If it’s online, Matt’s the one who makes it happen. He’s been doing social media work for wineries throughout the region for the last few years and we finally managed to snatch him up to work for us full-time. In addition to being a whiz at every social media site known to man, Matt’s also a skilled photographer. He’s been into photography since he was a kid and has been shooting for over ten years, capturing beautiful scenes and notable moments. When he’s not creating our online persona, he’s spending time with his fiancée and 8-year-old daughter, or possibly fishing.

Favorite Wine: The Chardonnay!

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: The tea garden. Just beautiful.

David Sundburg
Winemaker

David joined the Hans Fahden team just before the 2015 harvest with an extensive history in winemaking, including a stint as a winemaker in Chile. Wine has been his passion since his early days at Fresno State University, where he earned his degree in Enology and learned at the school’s own winery. His creativity and skill extend to every area of his life, from his huge passion for cooking to homebrewing his own beer and cider. He loves making everything from scratch – and he means everything. The love of creating a flavor experience from inception to completion is what led him to Hans Fahden and we are thrilled to bottle his creations. In his off hours, he enjoys gardening with his wife and spending time with his two sons.

Favorite Wine: David considers this like trying to choose a favorite child, but he’s particularly proud of the 2015 Cabernet.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: 
Unbreakable tie between the tea house and the wine caves.

Len Beatie Maintenance & Hospitality

Len does a little bit of everything, and on a working winery like this one, you need a little bit of everything done all the time! His food and beverage industry background includes 20 years as president of a seafood company in San Francisco and several years running a hotel in Kenwood, where he had to be knowledgeable about wine so he could give recommendations to guests at the wine bar. A California native, he’s been in the North Bay Area for 20 years, currently living in Calistoga. After coming out of semi-retirement, he helps out wherever he’s needed, whether they need an extra hand in the tasting room or someone to help replace irrigation lines. It’s invigorating, rewarding work.

Favorite Wine: The 2009 Narrative Cabernet was a stunner, though it’s now sold out. The new reserve is also very good, though it’s still young. It’ll be incredible.

Favorite Hans Fahden Spot: Another vote for the top of Jack & Jill Hill. Secluded and quiet, and an absolutely beautiful spot to watch the sunset.