Paul Woolls and Betty Woolls - Proprietors
Progeny Winery is the love story of Paul Woolls and Betty Woolls rooting their lives and passion for wine together. Paul began life in the Midwest, where he was born almost on the campus of Indiana University. He later moved to New Mexico, and now sheepishly admits developing the beginnings of a passion for wine there‐ albeit on brands that today no serious vigneron would admit consuming. From those beginnings, Paul found in college that starving for a month would allow for one great meal at the only French restaurant nearby. Law school, followed by his law practice, allowed the drive to learn about wine to thrive. That interest in wine culminated in a fortuitous wine tasting where he met Betty.
Betty hails from Minnesota, having spent her childhood growing up in a rural farming community. After college she raised a family while building a career in real estate investment and development in Minneapolis. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for food and wine fueled the fires that transitioned her from owner and teacher of a cooking school in Minneapolis, to creating a winery in Napa Valley.
In Napa, Betty fell in love with the beauty of the land, the vineyards and the climate. She landed in Oakville with a parcel of land, including vineyards and a home site. Betty reconnected with her deep-rooted appreciation of the soil and the bounties it brings. Over the next few years, additional vineyards, construction of a winery and the release of her first vintage of wine followed. While in Los Angeles conducting a tasting of her wines in 2003, she met Paul. A friendship developed rapidly, followed by dating. During their early years together, Paul and Betty traveled together to promote her wines, solidifying the idea to Paul that he would enjoy developing a new wine venture.
A marriage, a special vineyard on Mount Veeder and many years later, Paul and Betty now share a goal of making the best possible wine from the exceptional vineyards they steward together at Progeny Winery. Likewise, they are most fortunate to enjoy a family life provided by numerous children (all girls) and even more grandchildren (mostly boys). They continue life’s joyous ride as companions, partners and winemaking buddies.
Sean Capiaux -Winemaker
Founding winemaker, Sean Capiaux, has established an impressive and notable career over the past twenty six years at prominent wineries around the globe. He graduated from California State University, Fresno (BS, Enology; minor in Chemistry) in the late-80’s and began his career at Jordan Winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Sean traveled to Perth, Australia to work on the winemaking team at the Houghton Winery and later returned to the United States to become the assistant winemaker at Pine Ridge Winery in the Stags Leap district. Peter Michael Winery tapped him to become their assistant winemaker where he worked for four years. Sean spent several years as a bicoastal winemaker attending to wines both on Long Island and in California before settling full time in the Valley.
Sean serves as winemaker for the Progeny Estate Winery and consistently creates world class mountain Cabernets. Sean describes his winemaking style as neo-classic in that he employs modern equipment to produce non-interventious wines which are naturally fermented and bottled unfined and unfiltered. These techniques allow the varietal character and terroir of the Progeny Estate to be the stars of the show.
Orlando Preciado (right) was born and raised in the town of St. Helena (Go Saints!) near the base of Howell Mountain and brings with him the strong work ethic of the beloved Preciado family. His sister Blanca is a member of our hospitality team and both are first generation Napa Valley residents. Orlando graduated from California State University in Fresno in 2008 (B.S. Enology; minor in Chemistry) and has worked abroad (South Africa and Spain) and also locally for Grace Family Vineyards in St. Helena. Orlando is our Assistant Winemaker as well as resident nutritionist and fitness instructor having spent many years studying both subjects in his spare time.
Aaron Elam (left) grew up amongst the redwoods and near the coastline in the small California town of Fortuna in the Eel River Valley. Youth football and baseball set the stage for the athletics he performs as our Assitant Winemaker in the cellar. Aaron graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Louis Obispo in 2004 (B.S. Fruit Science; minor in Wine and Viticulture) and worked both abroad (New Zealand) and locally (Fantesca Estate) as a Vineyard Assistant and Cellar Master. Aaron counts his lovely wife Jen, son Madison and his throng of snowboards amongst his most prized possessions.
Alan Peirson - Viticulturist
A California native, growing up in Marin County, Alan Peirson began his studies as a student in Art History at the College of Marin. Surrounding his artistic life as a ceramicist and sculptor, Alan has always had an intense interest in food, wine, building, design, horticulture and landscaping.
For twenty years, designing, building and managing what is now the Peter Michael Winery Estate, Alan played an integral role in the genesis and development of the estate winery and vineyard program. He also used his many talents as Estate Manager, as well as Artistic Director of a non-profit organization raising money for the performing arts. His palate for fine wines was fed and expanded while managing The Vineyard Cellars.
In the summer of 2002, Alan started a new challenge on the slopes of Mt. Veeder with Sage Vineyards, developing and managing an estate vineyard and wine program while maintaining an active role as part owner of L’Angevin Wines
Blanca Preciado - Hospitality Director
Born and raised in St. Helena, Blanca Preciado grew up within the Napa Valley farming industry in a well-established vineyard management family and is the first official employee of Progeny Winery. She began her journey in the wine industry soon after graduating from San Jose State University anticipating it would be short lived. She did not expect to fall in love with wine education, hospitality, and her work family.
Blanca began working for the Woolls family in 2011. In 2013, she was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist them in the development of a new luxury brand and Hospitality Center. Knowing this would be a long journey ahead; she never hesitated to take the challenge. She proudly carries her love for her home, the Napa Valley, and her love for Progeny Winery on her sleeve as the Hospitality Director.
When she is not working, you’ll find Blanca playing soccer, cooking at home, spending time with her close friends and family or planning her future wedding with fiancé Esteban.
John Gerber - Winery Estate Chef
John Gerber has been active in the food & beverage industry for nearly three decades. A native Texan, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (B.A. Sociocultural Anthropology / Economics). John spent time traveling abroad to pursue his interest in world cuisine and later received a degree in the Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. John developed his talents and has held leadership positions at some of Northern California’s top ingredient driven restaurants including the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, Domain Chandon in Yountville, The French Laundry in Yountville, and the Pacific Edge at Highlands Inn in Carmel among others. John also spent time abroad apprenticing in a 3-star Michelin rated restaurant in Bergamo, Italy.
In his free time, John enjoys traveling the world with his wife Robin as well as foraging for wild mushrooms, hiking throughout northern California, and working away in the garden.