Ryan Hill is the Vice President and Director of Sales for Hill Family Estate. He attended local schools before graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in Wine Business Strategies. He is very active in the Napa community and currently belongs to Native Sons, Yountville Kiwanis, Yountville Chamber of Commerce and the Next Generation groups. Prior to becoming involved with Hill Family Estate, Hill worked in the hospitality business as a dishwasher, busser, food runner, server and sommelier. Hill has worked at Gordon’s, Bouchon, George’s at The Cove and Nine Ten restaurants. His love for food and wine developed in the restaurant business and has carried through to Hill Family Estate. Ryan resides in Yountville with his family, where he continues to grow the business while celebrating his family roots of farming in the Napa Valley.
Doug Hill has nearly four decades of experience in the development and management of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties. As president of Oak Knoll Farming Corporation, he currently manages over 700 acres of vineyards, cultivating premium cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and other varietals for notable wineries including Silver Oak, Ramey, and Duckhorn. Doug also farms 120 acres of his own vineyards, much of which is utilized for the wine label he owns and manages alongside his family, Hill Family Estate.
Growing up in Healdsburg on the family farm instilled Doug with work ethic, reverence for nature and a spirit of optimism. After earning a degree in Plant Sciences at Cal State Fresno and traveling extensively in Latin America, Doug returned home to Sonoma County in 1978 to learn the art of vineyard management while employed by Sonoma-Cutrer. After settling in Yountville, Doug managed the extensive holdings of the Jaeger family before starting Oak Knoll Farming. His long tenure in Napa has familiarized him with the Valley's microclimates and soils, enabling him to pioneer new varietals and growing regions; Doug planted the first vineyards in American Canyon and brought the first Albarino to Napa Valley.
As a third generation California farmer, Doug is experienced in finding practical solutions to the challenges that arise in vineyard development projects, and strives to utilize environmentally conscious land management practices.
To learn more about our vineyard management services, please visit:
Darci moved to Yountville from Southern California in the 1970's. She worked for Don and Sally Schmitt (who later founded “The French Laundry”) at Vintage 1870 as a server and assisted with special events. During this time, she joined The Napa Valley Theater Company acting and singing in numerous musicals and dramatic plays for two years. Shortly thereafter, she married Doug and raised their two children, Ryan and Carly, on a small homestead in Yountville.
As a passionate gardener, Darci works hard maintaining the aesthetics and landscape at the Hill Family Estate tasting salon. She is often seen with her Bichon (Jack), who is a certified therapy dog that loves to dance for our patrons.
Carly Hill is a Yountville Native, and enjoyed growing up in the Napa Valley. She attended San Diego State University and obtained a bachelors degree in food and nutritional science. She also completed her dietetic internship through the University of Delaware, where she became a Registered Dietitian. Carly currently resides in San Diego, where she works for Naval Medical Center as a Dietitian, helping primarily with the Pediatric population. When Carly is not at the Hospital, she helps with Hill Family Estate wine events in Southern California. When Carly is not advocating lifestyle and policy change, she is traveling internationally for both pleasure and for the family business.
Fate Passmore hails from Atlanta, GA. He completed his B.A. in European History/Business Education at Western Carolina University, where he was also a collegiate tennis player. He also completed his M.A. in American History at UNC a few years later. After two years as a college history instructor, Fate accepted a position as a Food & Beverage Director at Cedar Creek Racquet Club in Cashiers, NC. He continued on this career path over the next few years and accepted a position with Sailfish Point Country Club, relocating his family to Stuart, FL in 2004. Fate moved over to the distribution side of the wine business and joined Premier Beverage in 2008. He quickly began breaking sales records with this large distributor and their many suppliers. Fate is a certified sommelier and loves building successful wine programs. He is the father of 3 children, 2 boys (Ethan and Nate) and a girl (Avery). His wife, Aidene, is from Cape Town, South Africa.
Jean relocated in 2011 from Southern California to Northern California to follow her passion for the wine industry. The first years of her professional career were spent in the restaurant and retail industry, where Jean worked as a Server and Event Coordinator at select fine dining establishments in Orange County. This experience combined with a sales position at Sur la Table, gave her a solid base upon which to expand her knowledge of food and wine at Hill Family Estate. Jean’s lifelong passion for gourmet cooking and wine pairing makes her a wonderful fit as our tasting room ambassador. Jean currently resides in Napa, California with her husband and three Boxer dogs.
Bill is one of Hill Family Estate’s lead Sales Associates at the tasting room. Bill was born and raised in the Bay Area, where he developed an early passion for food, wine and hospitality. Bill moved to the Napa Valley in 2003, after completing a degree in Communications from Sonoma State University. With a natural gravitation toward wanting to help people, Bill held customer service jobs at Macy’s, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Starbucks. Bill also co-owned a web design & marketing business for 10 years in Napa, before realizing his next steps would be securing a job in the wine industry. Bill currently lives in Napa with his husband Gary and their Yellow Labrador, Luke.
Katherine Henley Silva
Katherine Henley Silva is the Director of Hospitality at Hill Family Estate. She is originally from Washington State, and has a lot of experience in hospitality and retail management. Since her migration to the Napa Valley, Katherine has been the Direct to Consumer Manager for two boutique brands, and was the Wine Club Manager for a large wine group where she was in charge of five different wine clubs. She has also worked as a wine educator at the historical Robert Mondavi Winery. Katherine is very passionate about food, wine and family. She has been in the Valley for almost 10 years, is married to a local industry professional, and is looking forward to a long future with Hill Family Estate.
Christie Friday is the Director of Operations for Hill Family Estate. She has over 25 years of experience in the wine business, with her first job working on a bottling line during college. Once she graduated from Sonoma State University, she realized the financial aspect of the wine business was where she wanted to be. She currently resides in Napa with her three boys, Joshua, Elijah and Gabriel.
Jesse Dewyer is the Operations Manager for the farming side of Hill Family Estate. Born and raised in Michigan, the US Navy brought him to Northern California where he has resided since 1994. Jesse has a degree in accounting from Golden Gate University, and a degree in Viticulture from Napa Valley College. Jesse (photographed with is dog, “Scout”) has been working with Doug Hill since 2006. Prior to joining Hill Family Estate, he worked in public accounting, construction management, and vineyard management. When Jesse is not working; he is fishing, abalone diving, traveling or spending time with his wife Beth, daughter Larkin and his side-kick Larkin’s Lucky Scout.
Dawnine Cates is the Wine Club Director for Hill Family Estate. She is a Napa native and grew up in the wine industry. Dawnine has over 10 years of wine club and retail experience, with both large scale and boutique wineries such as Domaine Carneros, Black Stallion, and Turnbull Wine Cellars. Dawnine loves to travel and relax with her husband and two children.
Jeff Chandler is a long time Napa resident and retired fire captain from the nearby Fairfield Fire Department. He started his relationship with Hill Family Estate as an esteemed member of our wine club who dropped by one day shortly after retiring to pick up some wine and ended up joining our team. He gained numerous years experience in the hospitality field around the Napa Valley before picking up a fire hose. He and his wife Maria have a small vineyard in their backyard and have made a small amount of their own wine for the past 6 years. This is where Jeff has gained hands on experience in wine education that he happily shares with our guests. Jeff has always enjoyed a team atmosphere at work, and is fitting in nicely and enjoying being part of the team at Hill Family Estate.
Justin is born and raised in the Napa Valley. He graduated high school early to move to New Zealand to work at Goldwater Estate Vineyards. He worked both in the cellar and out in the vineyards where he gained knowledge in cellar management, viticulture and wine making. After a year in New Zealand, he moved to Australia where he attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School for 9 months then finished his culinary experience in Ottawa, Canada where he graduated with a Le Grad De Poma (savory/patisserie). Justin moved back home to the Napa Valley and worked at the Martini House in St. Helena for 2 years. He worked his way up in the culinary world from A.M. Garmenshay to Sous Chef. He moved back into the vineyards as a Vineyard Manager for five years. He is married to Kate with their daughter Leonora and Miniature Schnauzer, Misha.