Our Team

A great group crafting an exceptional wine experience

 

At Topa Mountain Winery we are passionate about our region’s ability to produce local and environmentally sustainable wine. We believe in a holistic philosophy to winemaking which starts with climate, and emphasize the importance of the vineyard, as well as wine’s relation to the food we love to grow, cook, and eat. We look forward to hosting you soon, and showing you what makes our Ojai Shangri-La so very special!

Larry Guerra+

Larry Guerra, Owner

Katie Ota+

Katie Ota, General Manager

Dominic O’Reilly+

Dominic O’Reilly, Winemaker

Sonia Hopkins+

Sonia Hopkins, Wedding & Private Event Coordinator

Blane Switzer+

Blane Switzer, Operations Manager

Ashley Wilson+

Ashley Wilson, Tasting Room Manager

TMW’s Tasting Room Team+

TMW’s Tasting Room Team, Wine Educators

Larry Guerra

Larry Guerra, Owner

Owner Larry Guerra built the winery to pursue his passion for viticulture and wine and to showcase exceptional wines made from grapes grown in the Ojai Valley Region.

The first estate vines were planted in 2009, with varietals selected based on the region’s unique climate and soil, after extensive research and analysis. Some of the plantings brought new varietals to the Ojai region, such as Barbera, Tempranillo, Carmenere and Touriga Nacionale. Others have long thrived in the region, including Syrah, Grenache and Viognier.

Larry’s dog, Luke, is a fixture at the Tasting Room – be sure to follow along with Luke’s wine dog adventures on Instagram @topamountainyappyhour!

Larry Guerra can be contacted at larry@topawines.com.

 

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Katie Ota

Katie Ota, General Manager

Katie joined the TMW Team in April 2019, but she’s no stranger to the wine industry, nor the Ojai Valley. Katie is Ojai born and raised, and spent the previous decade managing the Direct-to-Consumer program at Bonny Doon Vineyard, in Santa Cruz, California. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz.

Katie is much more of a behind-the-scenes team member – but you will see her in the Tasting Room when she is able to escape her desk. Katie loves organization, systems, computers and data… we know, BORING! But she knows how to have a good time, too. If you ask her anything wine club or e-commerce related, just prepare to have your ear talked off.

Katie lives in Ojai and enjoys cooking, spending time with her dog, Rally, and reconnecting with her old stomping grounds here in the Valley.

Katie Ota can be contacted at katie@topawines.com.

 

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Dominic O’Reilly

Dominic O’Reilly, Winemaker

Winemaker Dominic O’Reilly’s winemaking career began at Owen Roe, his family’s winery, which has facilities in Washington and Oregon. He worked his way quickly from cellar-rat to management, gaining many skills in this fast-paced and competitive industry. Dominic developed a deep-rooted passion for the art of making and tasting wines, and soon began honing skills towards terroir-driven and European influenced styles.

Having begun his education in wine at an early age, Dominic chose to study Philosophy and Literature rather than pursue a degree in enology. After college, he began a life-changing role at the Ojai Vineyard in 2010, where he fell in love with the terroir and regions of Southern California and decided to devote his career to understanding it. Working closely with Adam Tolmach at the Ojai Vineyard, Dominic further refined his skills and style. In 2014, after a year of consulting, Dominic accepted the position of head winemaker for Topa Mountain Winery. Dominic has also broadened his experience with harvests in Australia at Killikanoon Winery, located in the Clare Valley, as well as Isabel Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. He continues to consult for wineries and vineyards both locally and internationally.

Dominic has taken full advantage of the many microclimates spread across Santa Barbara County and Ojai. With his wines, he has been able to achieve complexity, marrying a balanced and refreshing style with the fruit and flavor evocative of our warmer Southern California climate.

Dominic and his wife, Anna, own and operate Anna’s Cider in Santa Paula, California – the first and only cidery in Ventura County.

Dominic O’Reilly can be contacted at dominic@topawines.com.

 

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Sonia Hopkins

Sonia Hopkins, Wedding & Private Event Coordinator

Sonia’s passion for design came at an early age, her memories of redesigning her bedroom at the age of twelve is where she suspects it all began. “Designing feeds my soul, it’s as natural to me as breathing.”

She thrives on organization and the details, loves spreadsheets, budgets, design boards and constant communication. For the past fifteen years Sonia has built a rich portfolio of weddings and events that include Five Star Resorts, Beautiful Private Estates, Rustic Ranches, and many other amazing locations. She’s also had the pleasure of working with the most amazing clients. “Relationships are important when planning your wedding, getting a strong team behind you early in the planning process is imperative.” Planning a wedding is one thing, but designing our clients perfect memory is what we strive for.

Sonia has built a team of dedicated event designers that provide services planning the most intimate of Events to Full Production Event Planning and Design. You can see Sonia’s work spanning the pages of C Weddings, The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Carats & Cake, California Wedding Day, Flutter Magazine, Ceremony Magazine, Wedding Chicks, Green Wedding Shoes, Once Wed and many others.

Sonia Hopkins can be contacted at topamtnevents@gmail.com.

 

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Blane Switzer

Blane Switzer, Operations Manager

Blane has been with TMW since the beginning! He has a very loyal following from our regular guests and wine club members – Mr. Popular! Behind the scenes, all of the various moving parts stay in motion thanks to Blane. Born and raised in Ojai, Blane definitely is part tour guide for any and all questions about the local food scene and fun things to do. Outside of work, Blane loves to travel and is a great cook – he makes awesome pickles. His dog, Zyra, is the newest addition to the Topa Dog Pack, but is already the largest… she is a Cane Corso and we all have bets going on how big she is going to get!

Blane Switzer can be contacted at blane@topawines.com.

 

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Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson, Tasting Room Manager

Ashley has been a core part of the TMW Tasting Room team since coming on in 2017, and we are thrilled to announce her promotion to the Tasting Room Manager role in June 2021. She is a graduate of Brooks Institute and is also behind the lens of many of our photos on social media.

Ashley lives in the Ojai Valley with her husband, Bryan, and their two darling girls, Ember and Eisley. The Wilson’s own and operate Buckskin Vintage, a carefully curated collection of unique vintage clothing pieces. Ashley also is a spin teacher at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. All this to say, Ashley has a lot of free time! (Not!)

Ashley Wilson can be contacted at ashley@topawines.com.

 

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TMW’s Tasting Room Team

TMW’s Tasting Room Team, Wine Educators

We are nothing without our rockstar group of Wine Educators!

In addition to mastering the art of front of house hospitality, the talents of this group know no bounds: photography, cooking, painting, table-refinishing and repairing, banking, bottling line and sorting table workhorses, teaching, parenting, tax-preparation, gift giving, compliance, flower arranging, heavy lifting, dancing, watermelon cocktail making, modeling, deep cleaning, ceramic art – just to name a few skills!

Amber, Alvin, Charisma, Domenico, Georgia, Grayson, Heather, Jess, Lauren, Lynn, Maddy, Mona, Regan, Ryan, Taylor, and Ze’Lee can’t wait to greet you soon!

TMW’s Tasting Room Team can be contacted at info@topawines.com.

 

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