Board of Directors
Wine Women organization is run by the all-volunteer Board of Directors and Forum Chairs who plan and execute all the organization’s activities. Click on the Directors’ names below to learn more about them.
The Founder Advisory Board
Nicole Cummings, President
Nicole Cummings has had her hands in the wine industry since 2001. She currently serves as the Director of Human Resources for Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford where she is responsible for leading the activities of the HR department. She holds the Professional in Human Resources certification, and is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management, Forbes HR Leadership Council, Wines, Vines, and HR, WineWomen, and is the Napa County representative for the Napa Valley Vintners on the citizens advisory committee for the Napa Valley Transportation Authority. She was a recipient of the 40 under 40 award from the Midlands Business Journal in 2012. Nicole resides in Napa with her husband and two children.
Jessica Thornton, Events Director
Jessica Thornton – Bio coming soon…
Elena de la Garza, Forums Director
Elena de la Garza, born and raised in Mexico City, is a Human Resources leader who has been working in the wine industry for almost 20 years. She started working at Trefethen Family Vineyards in 2005 as a Vineyard Office Manager, and currently oversees all aspects of HR as their Vice President of Human Resources. She is passionate about education and considers herself a lifelong learner. Elena holds a degree in Business Administration from Cal State East Bay and an Executive MBA from the University of San Francisco. Some of Elena’s passions include spending time with her teenage son, family and friends, traveling near and far, exploring new food and wine, and spending time in nature, which she finds to be cathartic. Elena resides in Napa, and her favorite quote is “Encourage your hopes, not your fears.”
Ashley Burnett, Business Development Director
Ashley Burnett grew up in Fresno, California where her love for the wine industry and nonprofit work began. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2005 and stayed in Los Angeles working in account management and telecom sales until 2017 when she finally made the move to her dream city Napa, California. She started working for NakedWines.com as Senior Manager for US Partnerships and Business Development, helping develop their voucher insert partnership program and nonprofit work with the Latino Community Foundation and the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. Ashley continues to stay involved with the Mighty Moms Foundation of Fresno, California that supports and raises funds for single mothers with cancer. She looks forward to the growth of WINE WOMEN and being inspired by all of the amazing women in the Napa Valley area.
Laura Bacharach, Education Director
Laura Bacharach is Portfolio Manager for nakedwines.com, one of the largest online DTC wineries in the country and USA TODAY’s Best Wine Club. Laura’s responsibilities include developing and managing the company’s wine education program for its 100+ employees, helping to plan the portfolio, and onboarding independent winemakers from all over the world. Laura studied International Hotel & Tourism Management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. She continued her education at San Francisco Wine School and is now a Certified Specialist of Wine, California Wine Appellation Specialist, and Certified Wine Educator candidate. When Laura isn’t working or discovering new wines, she is judging wine competitions or volunteering as a sommelier for Auction Napa Valley.
Susannah Harris, Treasurer
Susannah Harris, a European expat from the island of calypso and rum (Trinidad), first read about the Californian wine industry in Alexis Lichine’s Encyclopedia of Wine & Spirits. It was an intellectual curiosity that developed into a 30-year passion. Graduating from UC Davis with a BSc in Enology, followed by winemaking in Germany, Czech Republic, England, a stint in Portugal, Virginia, and northern California she finally settled in Napa Valley to make wine in the Alexander Valley for Chateau Souverain. 14 years later citizenship finally in hand she transitioned to a new career in Finance, as Staff Accountant. Married with 2 dogs and a house full of projects her free time is greedily split between reading, opera, sipping on bubbles, and weeding the bottom of the garden.
Heidi Van de Ryt, Secretary
Heidi Van de Ryt is an Executive Assistant at Napa Wine Company, a custom crush wine-making facility in Oakville, CA. She has worked in the wine industry since 2016 and feels she has had the fortunate opportunity to learn many aspects of the industry from harvesting grapes to bottling, and everything in between! Prior to her position at NWC, she was a Family Law Paralegal for 13 years and worked in radio and television. Heidi holds a BA in Broadcasting from San Francisco State University. Growing up in Sonoma she was drawn to the beauty of the vineyards and was passionate about learning more about the “grape.” Her dream was to live in Napa Valley, work for a winery, and play competitive tennis. She is happy to report that her dream came true!
Christine L. Mueller, President Emerita, Co-Founder
Christine Mueller has worked with Fortune 500 companies and has been the CEO of Marketing Made Simple/2Alibis LLC since 1999, with more than 25 years in advertising, media sales and marketing. Since the mid-90s, she has worked with wineries and hospitality-focused businesses to help them raise their visibility through web strategies, print advertising, PR and broadcast. Chris served as the president of the Napa-Sonoma Chapter of Women for WineSense from 2006 to 2015 and then as President of Wine Women. She is a current member of SFSU Hospitality and Tourism Management department’s Advisory Board, and delivered the commencement speech in May 2012. She has an Advanced Certificate from WSET, and serves as the Brand Ambassador for Spann Vineyards.
Marcia Macomber, Co-Founder
Marcia Macomber has served as Creator-in-Chief for Cornucopia Creations, her marketing and graphic design firm, for more than 20 years. Her clients range from large corporations, such as ClosetMaid, to small entrepreneurs, including gourmet chefs, small wineries, contractors, CPAs and sculptors. She served as Communications Director and Marketing Director of the Napa-Sonoma Chapter of Women for WineSense for five years and then as Marketing Director of Wine Women for three years. In addition to her marketing and design work, Marcia hosts the WINE WOMEN Radio Hour – a weekly show broadcast locally on KSVY 91.3 FM and downloadable as a podcast on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network across the US. She has been a past president and member of Business Network International (BNI) and is currently a member of the Sonoma chapter of Polka Dot Powerhouse.
Jackie Egidio, Co-Founder
Jackie Egidio has worked in the wine industry for over 20 years focused on Finance and Human Resources. She has been fortunate to work in hybrid roles for world-class small and medium-sized wine brands, leading dynamic teams. After her son was born in late 2018, she embarked on her own business venture offering bookkeeping services to small businesses throughout Napa and Sonoma Counties. Jackie remains active with Wine Women and currently chairs the Winery GM Forum. She is passionate about promoting talented women in our community and is very proud to be a co-founder of Wine Women and to have served on the Women for WineSense National Board and Napa-Sonoma Chapter Board. She loves a good hike, fresh produce from the farmers market, and swimming in the pool with her son, Ben.
Ellen Reich Luchtel, Co-Founder
Ellen Reich Luchtel is owner and vintner, with her husband Gary Luchtel, of Fortunati Vineyards in Napa, where they grow and make remarkable wines including Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Ellen is an active member of CANVAS, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa County Farm Bureau, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley AVA and the Junior League of San Francisco. She served as Membership Director of the Napa-Sonoma Chapter of Women for WineSense for more than five years and then as Membership Director of WineWomen.