Kenna’s dad always told her when she was a young girl, “You are only as good as the people you choose to surround yourself with.” Kenna and Todd have always considered the quality of their staff as important as the quality of their wines. The “motley crew” who make up the Hawk Haven family share a love of making new friends and enjoying delicious food accompanied by great wine.
Lalo came to Hawk Haven in 2009 with orchard experience and has adapted to the world of viticulture amazingly. He loves working outside and talks to the vines as though they were human. Now the venerated Hawk Haven Vineyard Supervisor, Lalo lives with his family in the farmhouse in front of the tasting room.
Lou joined the Hawk Haven crew in April of 2014, but he has been in the industry for 13 years. He is currently our assistant wine maker, working closely with Todd to produce our award-winning wines. “I have always loved driving to the shore area as a kid and an adult, so I was very excited when I had an opportunity to go job hunting in Cape May County. You’re never far from a laugh when he is around, and he is also very good at sharing his knowledge of the vineyard and of wine making in a way we can all understand.
Conor joined our winemaking team in the fall of 2016, putting his chemistry knowledge and worldly expertise to work in the winery. He has quite a few degrees in fields ranging from Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, Business, and Chemistry from universities including the Culinary Institute of America, and Saint Joseph’s University. He also has a background in chemistry and analytical chemistry. As if that isn’t impressive enough, Conor has worked for wineries in Italy, Spain, and California. He even has experience as a pastry chef/chef at restaurants in England, Spain, New York, and the Caribbean.
Lynsie began working at Hawk Haven in the summer of 2010 as a member of the tasting room staff. Eventually she took over our social media, maintains our website, and you can now find her in the Hawk Haven “office” working on ads and doing other office-y things. She’s also the one we ask when we can’t find printer paper or when we’re having trouble with the register, so she was made a manager in 2016. “But we’re all more like teammates here and that’s one of the things I like about coming to work,” she says. “Plus there’s wine.”
Annie came to us via her mother, not only literally but as a legacy; her mother is one of our original Sangria Sunday girls, Beth. Naturally, Annie spent a lot of time here at the vineyard, so when the opportunity to work alongside Kenna and Lynsie on the marketing team presented itself, she enthusiastically accepted the position on the very same day she graduated from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not working behind the scenes in the office, she can be found pouring wine in the tasting room and taking photos of the vineyard and all our guests in a totally non-creepy way.
Rick Leiti is a relatively new face at Hawk Haven Vineyard but his interest in wine runs deep. “For the better part of my twenties, I spent so much time not knowing what I wanted to do. Then I found my passion is wine and it gave my life a direction.” In addition to working in the tasting room, managing retail outlets, and working in the vineyard, he also does the winery tours. Leiti said that on the top of his list of dreams is to one day own his own winery. But for now, he is enjoying learning all he can and helping make great wine at Hawk Haven. In 2015 he received a certificate from Wine & Spirit Education Trust and noted that there is always something new to learn.
Ryan Matthews has been working at Hawk Haven since June 2015, but has been immersed in the wine world for quite some time. Originally from Philadelphia, he studied Viticulture and Ecology at California State University, Fresno. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science from Rutgers University. Ryan has used his expertise in many different roles at many different wineries, but here at Hawk Haven, you can find him offering tastings, guiding guests on our Vineyard & Winery Tour, playing in the vineyard, and helping out during harvest.
If you are interested in working at Hawk Haven, send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org