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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.
With over 12 years of experience in the wine industry, Dave Frazier carries on the Firestone tradition of crafting approachable, fruit-driven wines that are consistently high in quality. Dave grew up in Bakersfield, California and says food and wine played a significant role in his early years. “When I was in the fifth grade, my best friend’s family moved to Napa, and after the move I spent every summer at their house. Over those summers, I was lucky enough to visit just about every winery in the Valley.” Dave’s early exposure to wine planted the seeds that would ultimately lead him to a career in winemaking.
Dave first attended New York University to study film, and went on to work production in Hollywood. After years of working in the industry he approached his father about working on the small vineyard he had established in the “Templeton Gap” near Paso Robles. After re-igniting his interest, Dave decided to pursue his passion and began taking local classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. From there, Dave went on to study at University of California, Davis earning his degree in Viticulture and Enology. Since graduation, he has worked for Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley and Byron Winery and Cambria Winery in the Central Coast. His most memorable harvest was spent in the RhoneValley of France in Côte-Rôtie.
Dave joined Firestone as Assistant Winemaker in 2015 and was promoted to winemaker in the summer of 2017. He describes the Firestone property as, “Not only visually stunning, but also happens to be in that ever elusive ‘Goldilocks’ zone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been driving to work worried about the weather I’m seeing. Then, just when I go up that last hill by the vineyards, the weather changes to perfect conditions.” He believes the unique climate and different soils found in the Santa Ynez Valley offer some of the best grape growing conditions. He attributes Firestone’s superior grape quality to the vineyard sites and vineyard management team which he describes as, “one of the most experienced, dedicated and hard-working crews I’ve seen.” When time allows, Dave enjoys walking the vineyards and tracking their development.
Dave lives in Arroyo Grande, California with his wife, Kristen who is a local bread baker. When he is not at Firestone, he can be found grilling on his wood fired oven, restoring vintage motorcycles, or at the farmer’s market with his wife.
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.