Larkspur, CA, September 9, 2019 – O’Neill Vintners & Distillers is pleased to announce the appointment of Marty Spate as Vice President of Winemaking and Winegrowing. Spate, based in Paso Robles, brings 14 years of experience in enology, high case production winemaking and winery general management to the role. As Vice President of Winemaking, Spate will oversee the entirety of O’Neill’s seven million case wine production from grape to wine.
Most recently, Spate served as the Lead Winemaker and Director of Masstige Winemaking at Treasury Wine Estates. In this role, Spate led a team of four winemakers, oversaw winemaking for over 15 brands, and engaged in new product development.
“Not only does Marty possess extensive winemaking experience, but he also has a deep understanding of team dynamics and leadership. I strongly believe that Marty will support our teams in bringing their very best to the table, be it winemaking or client relationships,” said O’Neill Vintners & Distillers’ CEO, Jeff O’Neill. “We could not be more excited to welcome Marty into our O’Neill family.”
Spate grew up in Central California farming grapes for his family farm. His farming experience, as well as a love of cooking and wine, led him to study Enology at California State University, Fresno. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree Spate began his career in the wine industry as winemaker for two years at family-owned Joseph Filippi Winery, where he took on many roles from sales and marketing to DTC outreach. Spate continued his winemaking role with Mission Bell Winery, and later Woodbridge Winery. Both wineries were owned by Constellation Brands at the time though Mission Bell has since been acquired by E & J Gallo. As Senior Winemaker at Blossom Hill Export, owned by Diageo at the time, Spate managed all aspects of blending and aging to fit specific style profiles for the over five million case United Kingdom-based wine brand.
“I am excited and humbled to continue my winemaking career as the Vice President of Winemaking with the O’Neill Vintners & Distillers family,” noted Spate. “O’Neill has built a reputation for consistency and integrity in their operations as well as high-quality, accessible wine. I look forward to contributing to the continued success of O’Neill Vintners & Distillers.”
Spate takes over from Mark Rasmussen who has been with O’Neill Vintners & Distillers since its founding. He will assume a limited, semi-retirement role and is not ready to leave the O’Neill family. Rasmussen notes, “This company is just too much fun and rewarding to just leave and there are so many great things on the horizon for us.”
When he is not at the winery, Spate enjoys cooking and 80’s music and movies.
About O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers was founded in 2004 by industry veteran and entrepreneur Jeff O’Neill. The vertically integrated winery has grown to become the seventh largest winery in California with a reputation for producing high quality wines from the North Coast, Central Coast and Central Valley. Through its extensive vineyards and modern production facilities, O’Neill provides premium winemaking services to the industry as well as its growing portfolio of national brands. The company’s national brands portfolio includes Line 39, Robert Hall, Harken, Exitus, Day Owl Rose, Austerity and Intercept. For more information, please visit www.ONeillWine.com.