Karl Wittstrom oversees the daily management and operations of Ancient Peaks Winery. Karl is an entrepreneur, winegrower, rancher and longtime Paso Robles area resident who was raised amid his family’s ranching and farming business. Karl is a former director of the California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles, and he is a member of the California Cattlemen’s Association, California Farm Bureau and a past director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. He oversees his own family vineyard and co-owns Margarita Vineyard and Ancient Peaks Winery.
Doug Filipponi is a longtime local winegrower and Paso Robles native who oversees all vineyard operations for Ancient Peaks Winery. Doug was named “Wine Industry Person of The Year” by his wine industry peers at the 2006 California Mid State Fair in Paso Robles. He is also the president of Filipponi & Thompson Drilling, a past president of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and a past chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Festival. Doug is co-owner of Margarita Vineyard and Ancient Peaks Winery.
Rob Rossi oversees strategic planning and development for Ancient Peaks Winery. Rob is a local entrepreneur and businessman with varied interests throughout the Central Coast. Rob is a newcomer to the wine industry, having introduced Robert Mondavi to Santa Margarita Ranch in 1999. Rob’s interests emphasize historic renovations and reuse projects, which have included the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo and Granada Theater in Santa Barbara. He co-owns Margarita Vineyard and Ancient Peaks Winery.
Mike Sinor is recognized as one of the Central Coast’s highest-rated winemakers. His winemaking career on the Central Coast spans more than 20 years. At Ancient Peaks Winery, Mike directs the quality and style of the wines, and he also oversees viticultural practices at the winery’s estate Margarita Vineyard. His first complete vintage with Ancient Peaks was 2006. “The opportunity to work with Margarita Vineyard is what really drew me to Ancient Peaks,” Mike says. “The growing conditions here are remarkable—and that’s something I’m driven to reflect in the wines of Ancient Peaks.”
Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins is a Paso Robles native who belongs to the second-generation of the Ancient Peaks ownership families. As VP of Operations, she oversees sales and marketing, companywide budgeting, long-range planning, human resources and special projects. Amanda joined the Ancient Peaks team in 2006 and worked her way up to VP of Operations. Amanda is a past director for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, San Luis Obispo Wine Country and SLO CAL. In 2017, she co-founded Wine Speak Paso Robles, one of California’s premier wine industry trade events. A year later, she founded Dream Big Darling, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering the success of women in the wine and spirits industry.
Stewart Cameron oversees our daily winery operations and is involved in all facets of winemaking at Ancient Peaks along with Director of Winemaking Mike Sinor. After studying cellular and molecular biology in college, Stewart moved to San Luis Obispo. Here, found himself drawn to the wine industry. He caught the winemaking bug while working in a winery lab in Paso Robles, and he later joined Ancient Peaks in 2006. He worked his way up to the position of assistant winemaker and was promoted to winemaker in 2013, demonstrating an innate talent for winemaking along the way.
Jaime Muniz has been working at Santa Margarita Ranch since the first grapes were planted in 1999. Jaime is a longtime Central Coast resident and a graduate from Paso Robles High School. When Ancient Peaks co-owner and viticulturist Doug Filipponi took over vineyard operations in 2005, Jaime’s hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. A year later, Jaime was promoted to assistant vineyard manager and then to vineyard manager in 2009. “I’m always pushing hard, and I never stop learning,” he says. “I love working for a family-owned operation that is dedicated to quality.”
Kristin Muhly manages the national and international distribution of Ancient Peaks wines. Kristin was born and raised in San Luis Obispo. She earned her Ag Business and Wine & Viticulture degree at Cal Poly, and has worked in the wine industry ever since. Her experience includes stints at Justin Winery, Vines of Mendoza, Domaine Alfred and the Crimson Wine Group. She joined Ancient Peaks Winery in 2011. Here, she steers a national sales program that spans 46 distributors as well as four international markets. Kristin resides in Santa Margarita with her husband Taylor and their daughters, Maddie and Emma. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys hiking and horseback riding, as well as kicking back and barbecuing with friends and family.
As VP of National Accounts, Rachel is charged with growing our national accounts and chain business. Prior to joining Ancient Peaks, Rachel spent 20 years at The Henry Wine Group, most recently as the VP of corporate sales. The Henry Wine Group is Ancient Peaks Winery’s California distributor, and our relationship with Rachel runs deep. Her skill set is ideal for expertly managing and maximizing our opportunities across the United States. "I am thrilled to be working with such a high-quality team and excited to further develop our rapidly growing brand,” Rachel says. Rachel resides in San Jose, California with her husband, three kids, a dog, and two guinea pigs. Rachel enjoys roasting coffee, reading and spending time with her family.
Laura is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience in the wine distribution business on the East Coast. As such, she brings a wealth of relationships and regional market knowledge to our sales program. Laura is responsible for managing and growing our East Coast distribution network, as well as interfacing with accounts and sales representatives on a continual basis. Laura holds a degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) by the Society of Wine Educators. "I am very excited to be a part of Ancient Peaks," she says. "The passion and enthusiasm from everyone who works here is inspiring."
As our Western Sales Manager, Stephanie spearheads the distribution of Ancient Peaks wines in six states across the Western U.S. She came to Ancient Peaks from the San Francisco Wine Exchange, where she worked as the west coast sales manager, serving as the primary interface with distributor partners. “Ancient Peaks is an innovative brand and my job is to match that innovation in our market approach,” she says. “My goal is to inspire and create momentum through every level of distribution, right down to the consumer. It all begins with great wines and strong relationships.” Stephanie lives in Sacramento with her husband Ryan and their cat Cheddar. When not traveling for work, Stephanie enjoys spending time outdoors. She is also an avid scuba diver.
Erin directs all facets of our wine club experience, leading our quest to offer one of the most exciting and rewarding clubs in the industry. Erin earned her agricultural business degree at Cal Poly with a minor in viticulture, and has been immersed in the wine and food industry ever since. After college, she worked the harvest in New Zealand. She then spent five years as a hospitality and event manager at another local winery before becoming the food coordinator at the World of Pinot Noir. At Ancient Peaks, Erin oversees wine club events, member outreach, shipment coordination and more, with an emphasis on developing creative and educational member experiences. Erin lives in Atascadero with her winemaker husband Fin and their two children.
Kyle Coots manages all aspects of the Ancient Peaks Tasting Room and Café. Kyle is a California native who has called the Central Coast home for the last 15 years. He originally moved to the area to expand his family’s restaurant, Z Pie. After the restaurant’s closure, he was drawn into the world of wine hospitality, working his way up at Wild Horse, Sculpterra and JUSTIN wineries before joining Ancient Peaks in 2018. Here, he leads a dedicated hospitality staff and oversees our daily visitor experience. Kyle lives in Santa Margarita with his wife Samadhy and their children, Kyrie and Teio. He enjoys camping, hiking and savoring the abundant local food and wine available in our region.
Melodee came to Ancient Peaks with multifaceted experience as an event coordinator, photographer and graphic designer. She holds an associate of arts degree from the Art Institute of Dallas. She worked locally as an event and sales coordinator for Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and as a graphic designer for The Parable Group, before joining the renowned A. Blake Photography as an associate photographer. At our Oyster Ridge weddings and events venue, Melodee oversees all facets of site management, event execution and client relations. She lives in Paso Robles with her husband Jeff—who is a viticulturist—and their two daughters Josie and Anna. Her favorite pastimes include hiking local trails and kayaking with her family in Avila Beach.