Carhartt Family Wines would cease to exist without the help and daily attention of a diverse and hard-working group of individuals. Although we employ a few more hands than when we started this company in 1996, the message remains the same: we invest in our people above all else.
When Mike’s father, Jack Carhartt, bought Rancho Santa Ynez™ in the early 50’s, Mike was a young child. Mike was born in Pasadena, Ca., but after coming up to the ranch several times with his dad on weekends, he decided one day that he would not make the trip back down south. He was in turn “raised” by the ranch hands on the property, who filled his youth with hard lessons in farming and cowboying. From pulling a disk plow, to saddling up his buckskin horse, to driving big rig truck and trailers, Mike grew up doing what he loved. He continues to do so today by farming grapes and working his own land, or “living the dream” as he likes to say.
Brooke was born and raised in San Marino, CA. After high school, Brooke attended both UC San Diego and Santa Barbara, before completing a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Chapman University. Brooke is a self-made winemaker, gaining experience through on-the-job training, veteran winemaker friends, and ongoing personal study. Together with her husband Mike, Brooke launched Carhartt Vineyard in 1996. She crafted their first vintage in the fall of 1998, featuring one barrel each of Merlot and Syrah. As the “OG” winemaker, she created the Carhartt Family Wines signature style, and now 25 years later, she is honored to continue sharing her passion and crafting wine alongside her son Chase.
Chase was born and raised in the Santa Ynez Valley. He grew up on Rancho Santa Ynez™ as the third generation in a family farming operation. Chase received a B.A. in Enology (Winemaking) from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. For the last ten years, Chase has traveled the world making wine in different countries, pursuing fresh ideas and methods for the growth of the Carhartt Family Wines brand. In 2013, he stepped in as co-winemaker with his mom, Brooke. In the Spring of 2016, he released a second label for Carhartt Family Wines, “Carhartt Venture,” reflecting his experiences and innovations from traveling the globe. In 2020, he launched the first vintage (2018) of his South African Wine Project labeled “Cargaux.” Today, he continues to farm, make wine, and run the business alongside his parents.
Team Member since 2011. Although joining the team officially in 2012, Evan has been a friend of the Carhartts since he was 5 years old. In his time with Carhartt Family Wines, Evan has worked in each part of the business, starting as a server in the tasting room and working his way up through harvest & winemaking, hospitality and fulfillment, Wine Club Manager, and finally to his current role of Director of Operations. In his free time. you can usually find Evan on the court playing some form of racquet sport!
Team Member since 2020. The service industry is not only a profession, but a passion for Christian. In playing an integral role at Carhartt Family Wines team, he hopes to share his love of wine, hospitality, and community with anyone who stops in for a visit. Nothing makes his day like a bottle of bubbles and the opportunity to bring people together in an engaging, unpretentious, and fun way. Always eager to make each visit special, you’ll find him handing out dog treats, recommending local restaurants, or just talking hockey with anyone who’ll listen!
Team Member since 2013. Connor, a Valley native, entered the Carhartt Family Wines tasting room a decade ago hunting a summer job between semesters. A fulfilling career blossomed from that first handshake with Chase many years ago. Clay has worked with us as a tasting room associate, harvest assistant, event hand, and currently as Wine Club Manager. In addition to his time at CFW he grew and excelled in the wholesale wine sales market where he gained business acumen and worldly experience in wine at all levels as well as a compounding love for the industry and those within it. Connor is your man in the arena for wine club needs in addition to all things Carhartt Family Wines.
Team Member since 1993. Agustin Hernandez, lovingly known on the ranch as ‘Superman’, is a living legend at Carhartt Family Wines. Because of his incredibly long career at Rancho Santa Ynez™, he knows the ins and outs of almost every operation. Alongside Mike, he heads up farming our vineyards, while simultaneously fulfilling the cellar master role in the winery. On any given day, you might find him fixing broken pipes, tending to various vineyard necessities, or finding a way to be more efficient in nearly everything he does. He is a father to three beautiful children, and a provider for an amazing family!
Team member since 2006. Daniel Toscano, known as ‘Danny’ on the ranch, plays an integral role at Carhartt Family Wines. Alongside Agustin, he helps with all vineyard farming, while also playing a key role in the cellar. Being in a similar age group to Chase, he is a natural when it comes to understanding our winery management software, therefore helping bridge a gap between the daily cellar operations and the administrative back end. He is a loving husband, and father to two beautiful children.
Team member since 2015. Val has been a team member since 2015. She works behind the scenes making sure everyone gets paid, from the staff in the tasting room, and the folks working hard at the ranch, to our vendors and the tax man. She’s an avid cyclist and can be seen charging the back roads of the valley in her free time. Val is also a succulent enthusiast and is generous in sharing her passion. A gift of one of her plants is always a special treat!
Team member since 2019. Born and raised in the Santa Ynez Valley, Spencer Gomez joined the team in late 2019 as a server at the Carhartt Cabin. His passion for service can be seen through his interactions with customers, where he shares his wine and local Santa Ynez Valley knowledge to make each and every person’s experience amazing. Spencer also plays an important role at Rancho Santa Ynez™, where he organizes warehouse inventory, packages shipments to be sent across the country, and provides a constant line of communication between the tasting room and ranch team. He also helps the vineyard and cellar team during harvest. In his spare time, Spencer enjoys flying his drone over our vineyard in search of that killer photo!
Team member since 2023. A Los Angeles Native, Lauren has been coming up to Santa Ynez with her family for as long as she can remember. As a little girl, she enjoyed exploring, hiking, and of course, feeding the ostriches! Lauren brings over a decade of event coordination, as well as a deep appreciation and love for wine! She infuses our gatherings with a genuine warmth through her passion for hospitality and dedication to creating an exceptional guest experience. When she’s not at the Carhartt Cabin at a Live Music night, or taking in the beauty of the Rancho Santa Ynez Vineyards, you might find her hiking the Santa Barbara canyons or preserves with her pup, Meadow!
Team member since 2023. Sam Taus, a native of San Luis Obispo, California, was raised in a family passionate about Central Coast Wines, starting his education early at home. He continued his wine journey during his studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, focusing on wine and viticulture. After graduation, he pursued his career in wine sales in Napa Valley, eventually becoming the Direct Marketing Manager at Vintner’s Collective, representing around 20 boutique family wineries. Returning to his roots, Sam now serves as the Marketing Manager at Carhartt Family Wines, where he’s dedicated to growing the wine industry. For all things marketing at Carhartt, Sam is your go-to person. When not working, you can likely find him enjoying the beach, or playing soccer on the nearest turf.
At Rancho Santa Ynez™, we have four dog pals on any given day. You might find them playing frisbee, sunning themselves, or alerting us to arrivals with lots of barking. They’re a great source of joy to all the team, and often a much-needed source of playful distraction. Sangi, Halle, Ellie & Bodhi – we love you!