To Fahri Diner, Skipstone is more than a winegrowing estate. It is a devoted partnership with the earth.
A native of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Fahri speculates that an affinity for the land may be in his blood. Blessed with tranquil olive groves and idyllic, Mediterranean sunshine reminiscent of his birthplace, Skipstone inspires in Fahri an instinctive connection to the property. He once had a vision of such an estate while skipping stones by the water. Upon first sight of the property, he knew instantly that he had found a place of rare promise and possibility.
Fahri’s years as a successful entrepreneur have given him a striking ability to envision the potential of a property like Skipstone. He believes passionately in Skipstone’s ability to produce wines that rival the quality and artistry of California’s most highly regarded wineries.
Philippe spent much of his early life in Bordeaux, receiving his geology degree in 1989 from the University of Bordeaux. In his final year of study, he took a wine course out of sheer curiosity, and from that moment on realized his passion—and future—lay with wine.
In 1991, Philippe earned his master’s degree in agronomy and enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, a renowned terroir specialist. Fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality, Philippe’s appreciation of this profound connection continues to this day, and is reflected in his commitment to honor the terroir of Skipstone’s vineyards above all else.
Following his studies, Philippe set out to hone his craft alongside talented winemakers such as Jean Philippe Masclef and Jean Delmas at Haut Brion, Jean Claude Berrouet and Christian Moueix at Petrus and Dominus, and Roberto Stucchi Prinnetti and Maurizio Castelli at Badia o Coltibuono, before finally settling in Napa Valley in 1994.
Today, Philippe consults for an elite collection of California wineries and vineyard sites, considering each relationship based on the beauty and promise of the property’s terroir. It was this special potential that originally drew him to Skipstone Ranch. Philippe’s mission at Skipstone Ranch is simple: to express the beauty of the terroir through the artistry and intuition of the winemaker.
Emily Wines joins Skipstone with an impressive background in the wine industry.
Growing up in Seattle she came of age in the beginning of the Starbucks boom and this drew her to work in coffee shops. The history that informs the culture of coffee and tea intrigued her and she studied the subject thoroughly, even considering opening her own café. Traveling to France in 1997 opened her eyes to a new beverage obsession: wine.
In California, she realized while working at Jardiniere that she wanted to work with wine. She arrived at the Fifth Floor restaurant in 2000 as a server and Assistant Sommelier to her mentor Raj Parr. They received the Wine Spectator Grand Award for their wine list the following year. She then took over as Wine Director in 2004 and passed her Advanced Sommelier exam in 2005. The Fifth Floor now has a world-class wine program that includes a selection of 1400 labels, comprehensive wine education and a wine savvy staff of future sommeliers.
In 2008, she took the Master Sommelier exam and passed all three portions of it on her first try, earning the prestigious Remi Krug Cup. There are 96 Master Sommeliers in the United States, and 13 Remi Krug Cup winners, only two of whom are women.
Amigo Bob Cantisano
Organic Farming Specialist
One of the most respected and influential figures in California organic agriculture today, Amigo Bob has led Skipstone Ranch in its transformation to a fully sustainable winegrowing estate.
A specialist in organic farming for more than 35 years, Amigo has worked closely with many of Napa and Sonoma’s most prestigious vineyards and wineries, including Shafer, Araujo, Turley and Staglin, redefining the wine industry’s image of farming and agriculture. President of Organic Ag Advisors, Amigo was a founding member of California Certified Organic Farmers, the Ecological Farming Conference and the Ecological Farming Association, among other organic groups, and helped author the California Organic Food Act of 1979.
Deeply committed to integrating sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices into all aspects of Skipstone’s vineyard, orchard and estate management, Amigo began working with the vineyard in 2003. Carefully accessing each hillside, vineyard row, creek bed and soil type individually, Amigo has developed sustainable farming standards specifically tailored to the diverse geography and terroir of Skipstone Ranch. As in nature, change on the estate has been deliberate and thoughtful, always looking to maximize the quality of fruit Skipstone cultivates, while still honoring the integrity of the earth.
Brook felt a sense of excitement the first time she saw Skipstone. The estate immediately struck her as a special place, and she knew she had to be part of it.
Brook grew up overseas as the daughter of a United States Ambassador. She was raised throughout Eastern and Western Europe, and this experience left her with an expanded worldview and a love of fine culture.
After traveling extensively as a young woman, she settled into life in idyllic Sonoma County. After completing an education in Art History and Humanities, she started a successful career in the arts. At this time she started exploring the fine wines of Sonoma County. The process of winegrowing captivated her, and she felt a draw to pursue a path in wine.
She broke into the wine industry at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery where she had the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up.
All of this has led her to Skipstone. The care that is taken in stewarding the land at the estate appeals deeply to her. She thrives on being involved with a high quality product and feels there is a compelling story here of the people, the place, and the wine. She is very excited to tell that story and share in the dream that is Skipstone.
Estate Chef / Hospitality Coordinator
Amy joined the Skipstone team during the harvest of 2010. She began her culinary career after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
Her years in the industry have included working her way up in restaurant kitchens to managing them, free lance catering, and teaching culinary classes to children as well as adults. Her sweet tooth has led her to a few Pastry Chef positions as well.
Since 1995 Northern CA has been her home after moving from the East Coast. Amy feels right at home at Skipstone in her multi-faceted job that allows her to showcase not only the Skipstone wines but the Estate’s culinary bounty including Estate grown olive oil, honey and produce. She revels in providing Skipstone’s guests with unique, seasonal food pairings to go along with their memorable experience at the Estate.