There usually isn't a singular moment that you can point to when asked why we decided to start making wine. Rather it is a case of talent, personal passion and hard work meeting opportunity. Well at least this was the reasoning we used when we tried to sell our accountant on our business venture.


Monica Kortz - The link that holds us together

Monica's inspiration for making wine came from her father. Bert Kortz was always a guy who had big dreams and a big work ethic. Taking care of her dad in the final years of his life he shared with her that he always wanted to make wine. "How hard can it be? just get some grapes, add a little sugar, let it ferment for a while and there you go!" Of course we knew that there was a little more to it than that, or at least her long time friend and wine maker Julie did. But like her dad Monica always tackled challenges head on. Monica is the cornerstone of Fillmore West Vineyards. Email Monica at: (
History of The Fillmore)

Julie Cavallero - Winemaker 

The first 9 years of Julie's career were spent working for commercial wineries in the Russian River and Napa Regions-- from small artisan producers to moderate sized boutique wineries, including Stags' Leap Winery, Etude, and Williams Selyem. During these experiences she was exposed to a myriad of wine making techniques, both traditional and cutting edge. The first four harvests were spent in the cellar as a "cellar rat", learning how to manage tanks and barrels full of fermenting juice and wine, operate pumps and drag hoses, and most importantly, master the "art" of cleaning. The following five harvests were spent in the laboratory monitoring fermentations and performing chemical analysis of juice and wine. We are extremely fortunate to have Julie as our wine maker and co-owner of Fillmore West Vineyards. We are also equally fortunate to have her as a very dear friend. You can Email Julie at:

Susan McKenzie - Distribution and Operations

While Susan's background has been in distribution and sale, she brings much more to the success of Fillmore West Vineyards. She has also worked as our Grounds Supervisor, Wine Education and Sommerlier. We have all worn many hats at one time or another, but Susan wears all of them well. It would be an understatement to say, if it weren't for Susan we'd all be sleeping in. Susan kick-starts our day! Email Susan at:

Barbara Connelly - Cellar Rat (and over qualified for the job)

Julie and Barbara met at Stags' Leap Winery. The reason that her title has "over qualified" at the end of it is her many years of experience as a lab analyst for Stags' Leap. Though Barbara has retired from Stags' Leap, she helps us out with production and bottling and we are so grateful to have her.

Debbie Weeks - Marketing & Media 

Debbie has worked as a commercial illustrator and Graphic Designer for over 30 years, also having 10 years of experience as a Web Designer and SEO. Debbie is responsisble for all of our collateral, and website as well as lable design and poster art. If you have any questions about the art or website you can email Debbie at:

Fillmore West Vineyards LLC