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Meet the key people behind the winery’s success.
William P. Foley II (Bill) is most widely known for his role as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF), and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (NYSE:FIS). However, his passion for great wine evolving from a hobby to an inspired business venture over the past 17 years has earned him praise and recognition among fellow vintners and industry professionals around the world. In 2010, Wine Enthusiast named Mr. Foley “Person of the Year,” in honor of his dynamic portfolio and remarkable growth during one of the worst economic periods in the last century. Today, the Foley family owns twelve wineries in California, one in the state of Washington, and three in New Zealand.
In late 2012, Bill’s three greatest passions (world-class wines, exceptional cuisine and outstanding destinations) culminated in what has become the Foley Food & Wine Society – a first of its kind, all-encompassing opportunity to experience the entire collection of wineries, restaurants and destinations in his collection.
In addition to Bill’s many business accomplishments, he and his wife Carol are active philanthropists supporting children’s education and military veterans. Bill is also an avid golf enthusiast and was named one of Golf Digest’s “Top 5 Executive Golfers” in 2004.
Paul Warson grew up in Studio City in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles overlooking the San Fernando Valley. His parents were big fans of Julia Child and ethnic cuisine, an influence that would help shape his life.
Paul left LA to attend UC Davis where he initially studied entomology. In his spare time at university Paul began brewing beer. His first efforts led to less than satisfactory results. “I took a basic winemaking class to see if I could improve my beer. I eventually ended up changing my major to Fermentation Science with every intention of becoming a brewer.” While still in school, and unable to find an internship with a brewery, Paul worked a harvest at Gloria Ferrer in Carneros. “It opened up a whole new world to me and inspired me to focus my studies on winemaking.”
After college Paul did another harvest internship at Gloria Ferrer followed by a short stint at Merryvale. In 1996, he joined Newton Vineyard on Spring Mountain in Napa. His next stop took him to Australia where he worked a harvest at Rosemont in 1997. Upon returning to the States Paul landed at Ch. Potelle where he spent 2½ years, first as enologist then assistant winemaker. At the end of 1999 Paul moved on to Trefethen where he started as assistant winemaker before being promoted to associate winemaker and eventually winemaker.
Paul joined Firestone Vineyard in October of 2009. “I saw unlimited potential for the property. Firestone has amazing vineyards, a great winemaking facility and a climate that is incredibly hospitable to both grapes and people. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Paul is an avid gardener and excellent cook. He lives on the Firestone Estate with his wife Leah, and children Alexa, Nate, and Alyson. “It’s like Lion Country Safari out here. The scenery is gorgeous and heavily populated with deer, bobcats, foxes, weasels, pigs, mountain lions and birds. We’ve got great hiking plus the beach is nearby. What’s not to love?”
With more than thirty years of experiences in the wine industry, Richard Leith Camera is a man of many talents. In the vineyards at Firestone he directs the symphony trellised vines, nurturing each of their unique characteristics and growing conditions in the valley’s complex microclimates.
Born into a military family, Richard spent much of his childhood living and traveling in Europe. Through long road trips with his father he explored the French and Italian countryside, Swiss Alps, and spent summers traveling the coastlines of France and Portugal. During the early 60’s his family migrated across the pond to London where he enjoyed the budding British rock scene in the Soho clubs. Richard also spent many summers with his grandfather on his property in Old Lyme Connecticut. His grandfather was an avid gardener and through his time working the Connecticut soil, Richard found his love for growing things.
Richard went on to receive his degree in Geography from Penn State and upon graduating started a landscaping business with a friend from college. In 1975 he moved out west to California where he joined a group of venture viticulturists. It was there that he met his wife Trisha. Over the next decade the group cleared, planted and cultivated over 350 acres of vineyards in order to build Renaissance Vineyard and Winery. Afterwards, Richard spent five years in the Carmel Valley working at Galante Vineyards followed by a short stint at R.H. Phillips before he moved north to the Napa Valley.
His illustrious career in Northern California included work for the William Hill Winery and a thirteen year stretch with the famed Hess Collection. In April of 2007 Richard and Trisha moved north to the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley where he became Director of Vineyard Operations at A to Z Wineworks, just south of Portland. Later that year, they moved back to Northern California where Richard continued work as Director of Vineyard Operations for Langtry Estate & Vineyard.
In the spring of 2010 Richard moved down the California coast to the Santa Ynez Valley where he started work at Firestone Vineyard. When he first set foot in the Firestone vineyards, Richard was amazed by the acres of ancient vines that were still producing incredible wines. According to Richard, the vines, in combination with the area’s unique latitude, elevation, soil, and changing climate makes for an extremely challenging work environment. To be successful, the vineyards require Richard’s constant attention to detail. This ensures maximum quality and flavor of the grapes year after year.
When he’s not working, Richard enjoys spending time at home cooking for friends and family with fresh vegetables from his garden and a glass of wine in hand. He’s a self-proclaimed foodie whose culinary talents include handmade pastas, smoked ribs, and just about anything you can throw on a grill. One day he and his wife hope to retire to their property in Anchor Bay on the Mendocino coast, where they will spend their days watching birds, fishing, and listening to the dull roar ocean.