|Michael Lynne, Owner
A New York native, Michael Lynne graduated from Brooklyn College in 1961 with a degree in English Literature and received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1964. Lynne began his legal career with a firm specializing in theatrical representation, which happily dovetailed with his lifelong passion for theater, film and television. After working as an attorney for Embassy Pictures (The Graduate, The Producers), he founded the entertainment law firm, Blumenthal & Lynne in the early 1970's. In 1990, he left the firm to become President and Chief Operating Officer of New Line Cinema, and in 2001 was named Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of New Line.
During his twenty-plus year association with the company, he was a driving force in its becoming the most successful, fully integrated independent film company in the world, with divisions devoted to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures as well as home entertainment, television, music, theater, licensing and merchandising. Mr. Lynne is currently a Principal of Unique Features, a film production company he founded with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Mr. Lynne oversaw production and distribution of a diverse mix of both financially successful and critically acclaimed motion pictures, including The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, About Schmidt, the Austin Powers films, Shine, Blade, Rush Hour, Seven, Dumb & Dumber, The Mask, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Magnolia, Elf, The Player, Wag the Dog, Little Children, Hairspray, The Golden Compass, and the Nightmare on Elm Street series. An ardent wine enthusiast, he initially considered vineyards in California, Italy and France but chose the properties on the North Fork for the quality of the wines being produced and for their proximity to his residence. Lynne likes to recall a family road trip made years ago to the North Fork during Long Island wine country's nascent years and a chance meeting with winemaker Kip Bedell that left a lasting impression. Lynne's admiration and enthusiasm for the region have steadily grown ever since that day. Likening the area to the Napa Valley of 15 years ago, Lynne says, "It's an exciting moment for Long Island wine and I am thrilled to be part of the future of this vibrant new wine region."
|Trent Preszler, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer|
Trent is one of the most ambitious and prominent leaders in the American wine industry. He has been described in the press as “a whirlwind of energy and a wunderkind of achievement,” and was the driving force behind Bedell Cellars’ long list of success stories during the past 13 years of Michael Lynne’s ownership. He guided Bedell through the launch of the artist series, which landed a spot on Wine Business Monthly’s coveted list of the world’s Top 10 Hottest Small Brands. He managed the renovation and expansion of Bedell’s facilities, which earned a spot on Wine Enthusiast’s list of America’s Top 25 Tasting Rooms. And most recently, he orchestrated Bedell’s selection as the official red wine of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Luncheon. These three accolades are particularly noteworthy because Bedell was the first winery in the Eastern U.S. to earn them.
Trent’s steady leadership at the helm of Bedell for the past decade has earned him the respect of his peers. He has represented Long Island on the Board of Directors of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation since 2004, and has represented New York State on the Board of Directors of WineAmerica since 2008. His master’s thesis at Cornell University was the first published analysis of the still–nascent local wine presence in New York City in the late 1990s and 2000s; it was named Best Thesis by Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management. With over 10 years of hindsight, today his thesis is considered to be a prescient foretelling of the locavore phenomenon that has since emerged nationwide.
Trent grew up on a cattle ranch in South Dakota and graduated near the top of his class from Iowa State University. His undergraduate honors thesis — an analysis of plant and microbial species biodiversity in medical research — was published as a book chapter by Oxford University Press. His first job out of college was an internship in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy during President Clinton’s second term. He lived in the United Kingdom for a year–long Rotary Scholarship at the Royal Botanic Garden while earning a Master’s Diploma in Botany from Edinburgh University. Trent later earned a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Cornell University, and his doctoral dissertation — the first economic model of grapevine crop load — was published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Cornell and is on the Board of Directors of the Iowa State University Alumni Association.
|Richard Olsen-Harbich, Winemaker
Rich has built his status as the Long Island winegrowing region's iconic winemaker by serving as a leader and trailblazer at every stage of a 31-year career decorated with achievements. A graduate of Cornell University, in the 1980s Rich wrote the region into existence as the author of all three federally recognized Long Island American Viticultural Areas. He established Long Island's second commercial winery in Bridgehampton, where his 1988 Chardonnay received 91 points from Wine Spectator, which still holds today as one of the highest scoring white wines in the region's history. He has been the leader in using hands-on artisanal winemaking in the region and implemented many pioneering techniques, including mastering the use of ambient indigenous yeasts for natural fermentations (one of very few American winemakers doing so).
He developed the first Bordeaux/Long Island consultation partnership with M. Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux. He was the driving force behind the founding of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, Inc., the first sustainable certification program for vineyards in Eastern North America. And most recently, in a triumphant affirmation of Rich's finely honed artistry, James Suckling, an editor of Wine Spectator for 29 years, awarded 90 and 92 point ratings to six different 2010 vintage wines, giving Rich the distinction of making the highest scoring red, white, and rosé wines in Long Island history.
|Seferino Cotzojay, Assistant Winemaker|
A native of San Raymundo, Guatemala, Seferino grew up working on his family's farm, and as a teenager he moved to Arizona and eventually to New York. His unexpected path into winemaking began in 2005 when he joined the Bedell team as a harvest intern and his dedication and hard work was quickly noticed. He has been a consistent force in the cellar ever since, promoted first to Cellar Master in 2007 and then Assistant Winemaker in 2011. Seferino's passion for winemaking is expressed by his connection to the land around him and the different nuances expressed in each lot of grapes. His infectious energy makes him an invaluable member of the Bedell team, and he proudly carries the flag for Bedell as one of the only Hispanic winemakers in the United States.
|Kip Bedell, Founding Winemaker
Kip Bedell began making wine at his home in Garden City, Long Island during the 1970's, with a home winemaking kit he received from his brother. He and his wife Susan joined a wine tasting group and enjoyed tasting and discussing wines with wine-loving friends. After several years of trial and error, Kip realized that his interest in wines had extended beyond basement winemaking. Aware of the attention that Alex and Louisa Hargrave (the founders of the Long Island wine industry and co-proprietors of Hargrave Vineyards) were receiving with their vineyard in Cutchogue, Kip made several trips out to the North Fork of Long Island. Encouraged by conversations with the Hargraves, Kip began searching for suitable vineyard land, which eventually led him to purchase the 50-acre David's Potato Farm in Cutchogue in 1979.
For the next ten years, the Bedells commuted to and from Garden City to establish Bedell Vineyards. With the help of friends, they planted the first seven acres of vines and continued plantings over the next three years. The crops from '83 and '84 were the first grapes Kip sold. During the harvest of 1985 hurricane Gloria arrived, creating severe problems with power losses and the loss of most of the red grapes to the storm. Kip prefers to look at 1986 as the first "real" harvest. That year, Bedell Cellars produced award winning wines and won a Gold Medal from the Dallas Morning News Competition with their 1986 Chardonnay Reserve. By 1987, nineteen acres had been planted and annual case production reached 3,000. Kip now oversees the winemaking for a total of 78 acres (the Bedell, Corey Creek and Wells Road Vineyards) and a current annual production of 12,000 cases.
|Dave Thompson, Vineyard Manager|
Dave has been associated with the Long Island wine industry since 1980. In 1981, he planted Ressler Vineyards and managed it until joining Kip Bedell for Kip's first vintage in 1985. He has been with Bedell ever since. Dave is a member of the board of the Long Island Vineyard Technical Group, the Long Island Grape Research Advisory Committee, and the Long Island Sustainable Agriculture program.
|Donna Rudolph, Assistant Vineyard Manager|
Donna joined us in November '96. Although she had no formal training, she came to us after 15 years at Ressler Vineyards, where, coincidentally, she and Vineyard Manager Dave Thompson worked together for 3 years. Her favorite tasks in the vineyard are "pruning and tying, and learning how to get the best fruit from the vine." She is responsible for making certain that the crew gets their jobs done. Make sure you're not standing too close if you ask her, "Do you step on the grapes?"
|Jonathan Lynne, Executive Vice President – Sales & Marketing
A long-time media executive, Jonathan joins Bedell from RHI Entertainment, where he was Senior Vice President of Programming and Distribution. Previously he held positions as Executive Vice President of Marketing & Content Relations for the digital rights management software developer LockStream Corporation, and as Vice President of Programming for Hallmark Entertainment, a leading producer of made-for-television movies and mini-series. Jonathan's first foray into the wine and food industry was as the founding Head of Development for cable television's Food Network, where he had a role in discovering and fostering the early television careers of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, among others.
Jonathan's interest in food and wine is a reflection of his family's belief in eating and drinking well, and his parents Michael and Ninah have owned Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek Vineyards since 2000. He earned a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and resides in Manhattan. Jonathan will be responsible for strategic sales and marketing for both Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek Vineyards. He will also provide a premium level of service to Bedell's clients, both public and private.
|Matthew Rizzo, Wholesale Manager
A Long Island native, Matthew joined the Bedell Cellars team in the summer of 2003 as a seasonal tasting room employee, while attending the University of Massachusetts. Since joining the Bedell team, Matthew's role with the winery has grown along with his knowledge of wine. He has assisted with the management of the tasting rooms, and was an integral part of helping to launch the now-famous Bedell VIP Tour program. Matthew has flourished in his new position as Wholesale Account Representative, a role which requires him to be a perpetual motion machine, constantly on the road bringing his affable charm to Bedell's dedicated wholesale customers. Matthew has dramatically expanded the presence of Bedell wines in restaurants and retail shops in the Northeast's most luxurious coastal resort communities: The Hamptons of Eastern Long Island, the Berkshires and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island.
|MARKETING, HOSPITALITY & COMMUNICATIONS
|Molly Deegan, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales Development|
Molly comes to Bedell with a wealth of experience in New York City, including her position as Executive Events Marketing Director for AOL since 2003. She has also held significant positions related to client relations and media events for Condé Nast's House & Garden Magazine, O the Oprah Magazine, and Robert Mondavi Winery. As part of Bedell's senior management team, Molly's primary responsibility is to oversee all aspects of management for the Wine Club and Tasting Rooms, in addition to developing integrated sales and marketing programs that drive revenue through targeted customer relationships. On a personal note, Molly resides in Sea Cliff, LI with her husband John and her four year old daughter Frances. She also owns a home in Mattituck.
|Amy Finno, Senior Vice President, Events
Amy Finno returned to her roots on the North Fork of Long Island in June 2009 to assume the position of Vice President of Marketing and Hospitality at Bedell Cellars, and was later promoted to Senior Vice President for Events. Her responsibilities include integrated marketing related to weddings and private events at Bedell and Corey Creek. She joined Bedell from VH1, where she had been Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing since 2006. While at VH1, Amy facilitated the marketing and selling of the VH1 Soul property to advertisers including developing the first franchise on Soul, titled VH1 SoulStage. Prior to her career at VH1, Amy spent six years managing sweepstakes and promotions and overseeing the Coca-Cola Company team at D.L. Blair, the innovative marketing consulting firm. She holds a B.S. in Marketing and Communications from Long Island University/C.W. Post.