Get to know our wonderful tasting room staff through
Meet our staff member Paige! Paige has worked at McGrail since May of 2018 and her favorite McGrail wine is the Good Life Cab. When she isn’t at McGrail, Paige is a kindergarten teacher who enjoys hiking, yoga, and drinking wine in her spare time! Paige loves seeing all the puppies that come into the winery. She says her favorite thing about working at McGrail is seeing the staff, because they feel like family to her.
Meet our staff member Gail! Gail has worked at McGrail since August of 2017, but she also worked in the tasting room when it first opened in 2008. Her favorite McGrail wines are the Graduate Cab and the McGrail Family Chard. She has helped with both harvest and bottling and can be found in the tasting room almost every weekend, because Gail’s favorite thing about working at McGrail is getting to meet new people. Gail was a legal secretary for 40 years before retiring and coming to McGrail. She has lived in Livermore since 1983. Gail has been married to her sweet husband Rick for 46 years and has two sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, a 19-year-old grandson (who also sometimes works at the winery), and a 14-year-old granddaughter. She loves her family and all her favorite TV programs, like This Is Us and Modern Family, have to do with family. In her spare time, Gail enjoys gardening, traveling, shopping and being anywhere near water. Most people probably don’t know that Gail used to have a Harley Davidson Softail she loved to ride.
Meet our staff Member Mary! Mary has worked at McGrail since June of 2017, but she has been a wine club member since 2009. Mary’s favorite part about working at McGrail is how she is treated like a part of the family and how it just feels like home. She says it’s the best job she’s ever had. Mary feels the combination of McGrail’s grapes and the winemaker’s talents equal the best wines in the Livermore Valley, which is why she can be found in the tasting room every Thursday and Friday. Her favorite McGrail wine is our Patriot Cab, as she is the mom of a police officer. Funny enough, when Mary was pregnant with her police officer son, she was working for a defense attorney, but later made the switch to medicine, managing a medical practice for a pediatric orthopedic specialist, and later, to wine. Mary says she discovered her love of wine by drinking box wine many years ago; due to this love of wine and because she wanted to be around happy people, she decided to work at the winery upon retirement. Mary has been married to her husband Dave for 20 years. They have four kids and two granddaughters, who Mary says are the center of their universe. On her days off, she enjoys being a nana, traveling, boating, and just being outdoors. Mary’s mission is to treat everyone how she would want to be treated. She loves making other people happy. We miss Mary’s grace and compassion. Say hello to Mary next time you see her at the winery!
Meet our staff member Charlie! Charlie has worked at McGrail since October of 2018 and he says his favorite thing about working here is the people. He has always loved wine and says working in a tasting room just feels natural to him. He’s even helped with harvest! Charlie’s current favorite wine is the 2016 James Vincent Cab. He has been a wine club member for over ten years. At the beginning of their membership, whenever Charlie and his wife would come wine tasting at McGrail, they would bring their two boys, who he says were given treats by our staff members, which made the experience more tolerable for them. Speaking of his family, Charlie and his wife have been married for a quarter of a century and together they have two boys, Jack (19 years old), who works in the culinary arts, and Nick (21 years old), who is a senior at Sonoma State, majoring in history. Charlie is also into history and has been an eighth grade U.S. history teacher for the past 22 years. He says one of the most embarrassing things that has happened to him was when he accidentally ripped his dress shirt using a yardstick as a sword during one of his teaching lessons, as he had to continue wearing the shirt for the rest of the day. A fun fact about Charlie is that he has been taking a group of eighth graders to Washington D.C. for the past 17 years. When Charlie isn’t in the tasting room or teaching a class of eighth graders, he enjoys golfing, cooking, wine tasting, and taking his traveler trailer out on trips. We miss Charlie’s super sharp, witty humor and his passion for wine. Say hello to Charlie the next time you see him at the winery!
Meet our team member Gayle! Gayle began working at McGrail in August of 2016 and she can usually be found in the tasting room, giving tours, or helping with harvest. Her favorite McGrail memories are every sunset she’s experienced since she’s been working here and she says her favorite part about working here is being around people who are happy all the time! She enjoys learning about Livermore history and the winemaking process, because it’s like conducting a symphony to her. Gayle says this is a great retirement gig for her, as she spent 30 years working at Bank of America, and 25 of those years in the Residential Appraisal Department, but she also has worked as an Assistant Buyer for BevMo and as a caretaker for her father. Funny enough, Gayle’s stint at McGrail has become a family affair of sorts, as her cousin-in-law, Jeff, is also a Tasting Room Associate. Gayle and her husband Chris, who have been married to one another for almost 43 years, have one adult son, Mike, who is awesome, and a beautiful 98-pound Burmese Mountain Dog. When she’s not at McGrail, Gayle enjoys music, biking, and just being outdoors. Gayle has been studying vocal jazz and classical voice, and while she mostly sings old songs from the Great American Songbook, she can lay down some awesome harmonies, too. Gayle and her family visit Lake Tahoe quite frequently, as she bikes around the lake twice a year and she vacations with fellow Tasting Room Associate Jeff and his family in Tahoe at least once annually. One thing Gayle would like others to know about her is that she hates being late and she never lies. We miss Gayle’s wisecracking humor and her love for our Rosé, which she insists is medicinal. Please say hello to Gayle the next time you see her at the winery!
Meet our staff member Patty! Patty has been at McGrail since February of 2018 and her favorite wine is any vintage of the James Vincent Cab. She loves working at McGrail, because our customers come in happy and looking to have a good time. Patty enjoys connecting with new people and old acquaintances in the tasting room and introducing them to the Livermore Valley and McGrail wine. She says she is consistently amazed at how kind and wonderful the staff at McGrail are. Before working at McGrail, Patty worked a few different jobs: as an IT Manager for several Silicon Valley startups, as a stay-at-home mom (though she was still working for a friend’s marketing consulting business), and for the Pleasanton School District for 16 years. When Patty isn’t at McGrail, she spends her time with her grandchildren, entertaining friends, shopping, and playing with her dogs (Tilly, Reggie, and Tina). Her friends call her the “dog whisperer,” because she’s had so many dogs, her friends often call her before calling the vet, and because she can’t walk by a dog without saying hello. Patty also has 3 grandchildren, 3 adult sons, and a husband, Geert, to whom she’s been married for 36 years. She says the biggest surprise of her life was giving birth to a child with a permanent disability, but says her son has grown into a very fine and loving young man. Patty is so very proud of Danny and how high functioning he has become. She says being his mother has taught her so much about patience and compassion for others. In fact, another hobby of hers is volunteering her time to local schools and the Special Olympics! One thing you might be surprised to find out about Patty is she is a die-hard fan of Tower of Power and Diana Ross. We miss Patty’s positivity and calm, compassionate nature. Say hi to Patty next time you see her at the winery!
Meet our staff member Denise! She has been at McGrail since March of 2019 and she’s been bringing her own personal wine opener to use while working since then. Denise’s favorite McGrail wine is the Shamus Patrick Red Blend, but she’s also been sipping on the Kylie Ryan Rosé during the SIP. She says McGrail has been her favorite winery in the Livermore Valley for years, so she’s happy to now be a part of it and to be able to learn so much about the wine industry in the Livermore Valley, which she calls home. Denise has even helped with harvest! When she’s not working at the winery, she enjoys traveling with friends and family, but she also works for a transportation company that she and her husband own, but says she is lucky to have the flexibility of working from home and to have been able to be a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. Denise has been married to her husband, who is her highschool sweetheart, for 27 years now. Together, they have two daughters, whom they adore very much, and a very spoiled Mini Aussiedoodle named Kaya. Next time you see Denise at the winery, say hello!
Meet our staff member Pam! She has been working at McGrail since August of 2019. Although she is a full-time Learning and Development Management for a food service company, Pam came to work at the winery because she wanted to learn more about wine and because she was inspired by her Portuguese heritage and her uncles who used to make wine for fun. Aside from her jobs at the winery and in the food service industry, Pam is a mom to an 18-year-old son, named Travis, and a rescue dog, named Sparky. In her spare time, she enjoys dining out with friends, traveling, working out, and running. She has even run a half marathon and has hiked Half Dome in Yosemite. One thing most people may not know about Pam is that she is a breast cancer survivor. Her tenacity shines through in a story she shared with us about her childhood: “when I was a toddler, maybe 18 months, we were at the beach and my dad dug a hole in the sand, gave me a cup, told me to walk to the water, fill the cup, and then fill the hole in the sand with the water. My sister said it was painful to watch because I walked back and forth to the water and hole for hours, never giving up on this task she knew would never happen as the water continued to be absorbed by the sand. I did this until I collapsed and fell asleep on the sand. So I would say I’m very determined.” In addition to her drive, we are missing Pam’s love for people and her willingness to dive into the winemaking processes, as she helped with harvest just weeks after joining the team. She says her favorite thing about working at the winery is the people–both guests and staff, the views, and the energy of it all. Say hi to Pam next time you see her at the winery!
Today, we’re introducing you to our Assistant Winemaker and the star of our Tiger King and Richard Simmons Workout videos, Sir Cristian John-Paul Saucier, III. He has been working at the winery since February of 2015 and has probably worked 99% of weekends since then. Cris says he can’t choose a favorite wine, because they all contain his sweat, blood, and tears, but says Patriot is pretty smooth. His favorite thing about working at the winery is getting his hands dirty in production. In his spare time, Cris says he likes to break ankles on the basketball court, but we all know he’s really just an avid Golden State Warriors and Oakland A’s fan. Cris and his girlfriend enjoy cooking together, and often create meals inspired by the show Chopped, but have been doing quite a bit of hiking during the SIP. He says he wants a dog really badly, preferably a mutt, but his girlfriend’s cats will do for the time being. The last few weeks of the SIP have also really inspired Cris to dabble in acting. His favorite television show is Parks and Rec and he really wants to be Ron Swanson when he grows up. When asked what he’d do with a million dollars, he says he would open a chicken nugget food truck. A fun fact about Cristian is that he is almost 70% French! We don’t really miss Cris, because he’s been working hard at the winery, making wine, making deliveries, selling wine, and acting. Next time you see Cris at the winery, don’t be afraid to say hi!
Today, we’re introducing you to our longtime team member Eleanor. She has been working at McGrail since August of 2012 and says her favorite thing about this job is working with the Livermore Valley’s best production crew, as they laugh a lot! Her favorite wine at the moment is the 2016 Austin James Cab. Eleanor helps with harvest and bottling at every chance she gets and can also be found tending bar at almost all of our private events. She came to work at the winery to learn how to discern a good wine from a bad wine and to learn about the production side of the industry. Aside from her love for the production aspects of the winery, Eleanor also enjoys McGrail’s unbeatable sunsets and the camaraderie amongst the staff. When she is not at the winery, she is an English teacher to international adult students and spends her spare time cheering on the Golden State Warriors, sipping wine outdoors with friends, doing yoga, cycling, and running. She has run several half marathons and has cycled centuries. A few years ago, Eleanor had a bad accident while biking 50 miles in the Berkeley hills and broke her arm and shoulder in four different places. Although her injuries kept her from participating in that year’s harvest, she was determined to recover and went on to do a 65 mile bike ride just 6 months later! Eleanor’s fortitude doesn’t stop with her cycling; she has also been a vegan for 37 years and she and her husband Steve raised their two kids as vegans. She is so proud of her adult children–a daughter who is an architect in London and a son who is applying to med school. One thing that might not be obvious looking at this photo, but becomes very clear upon hearing Eleanor speak, is that she is English and has a lovely accent we all enjoy listening to. We miss Eleanor’s witty humor and her dedication to the art of wine.