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Our Team

HomeOur Team


To work with solid professionals like Kate and Tyler is a pleasure. But to like them as people and to admire and share their values is a blessing.


Hal likes to say that he was born a tree hugger, even though he was actually born in southeast Los Angeles, a land of very few trees.  After two careers in New York and attending medical school for a PhD in brain science, Hal returned to his native California to do something good for the earth.  In 2010 & 2012, he bought two adjoining ranches in Geyserville, the heart of Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. By 2016 he had restored its creeks, replanted the vineyards, repaired the existing roads and started his first vintage.  Working first with Jesse Katz (now of Aperture) from 2014 to 2018 and now with Kate Nowell-Smith, starting in 2019, he has set about to make the highest quality Bordeaux varietal wines, that are most fitting to the Alexander Valley, in the most earth friendly way.  High-end viticulture is inherently an intense farming activity that can be very hard on the land.  Through careful, yet unrelenting practices to support his motto “great wines come from a healthy planet”, Hal has pushed the envelope on sustainability from organic, to fish and bee friendly, all the way to climate friendly. Today, the team at Sei Querce is working to be among the first to produce certified carbon neutral wines in the United States.  And with the daily farming and winemaking in the hands of his team, Hal focuses his energies leading Global Bamboo Technologies/BamCore as CEO, where he hopes to have an even broader impact doing good for the earth.

Vineyard Manager

Tyler is a graduate of the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program and St. Mary’s College in Health Science. Tyler joined his primary position at Redwood Empire Vineyard Management in 1997 on the grounds crew and eventually worked himself up to his present position as co-owner and viticulturist. Here, among other responsibilities, he oversees the farming of approximately 1000 vineyard acres. Working together at Sei Querce, Tyler and Hal have redeveloped 60 acres of vineyards, converted them to organic farming, achieved Fish and Bee Friendly certifications, restored 1500 feet of our creeks, and are now working with the California Land Stewardship Institute to become one of the first Climate Adaptation Certified vineyards.  We chose Tyler in 2010 because he stood out as the most highly regarded winegrower by the leading wineries in Northern Sonoma County and because he was willing to invest in the professional growth needed to help drive us to a high level of sustainability across multiple impact dimensions. We are proud to say he is now a county-wide leader in sustainability.


While working at one of our fruit buying wineries, Kate got to know our site, our vineyard blocks and our farming practices. After two harvests working with our fruit, she approached us and shared her vision of developing a program of small lot, minimal intervention and highly sustainable wines. Our plans to push toward a carbon neutral vineyard footprint were compelling to her.  She was sold on us and we were sold on her.  We totally love her first vintage (2019) and can’t wait to release the wines. Delightfully, Kate’s first vintage also included creating a spectacular Vermouth from our 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, showing her quick talent and insight into blending natural tastes and flavors.  It all makes sense as Kate comes to wine from her earlier experience as a chef, food writer and recipe tester.

Kate originally developed a love for Alexander Valley fruit over a decade ago when working at Stuhlmuller Vineyards. She went on to hone her small lot approach at Porter Creek Vineyards, but welcomed the opportunity to return to the Alexander Valley, and to re-focus on Bordeaux varieties, giving them a European sensibility and elegance.

Consulting Winemaker (2014-2019)

Jesse Katz had already worked at a number of the greatest estates of Bordeaux (Château Pétrus), Latin America (Viña Cobos) and California (Screaming Eagle) when he met Hal.  Jesse was buying the fruit for his award winning Malbec from an adjoining property. He wanted to buy fruit from us but since we were preparing to redevelop most of the vineyards, we had none for sale.  Based on his travels and experience, Jesse thought our ranch was one of the best sites to produce premium Bordeaux varietals in Sonoma County.  We decided to engage Jesse’s passion and insight by hiring him to help guide our replant and to make our first excellent vintages (2014-2018).  Using extensive soil and solar aspect analysis in each block, Jesse helped pick each rootstock and each variety and clone.  Because of his unique talents, Jesse’s recognition has continued to grow globally.  He now leads his own winery, Aperture Cellars. And he continues to buy our fruit.