Prior to founding Benovia, Joe and Mary devoted their careers in healthcare to serving the underserved. Now in their second careers as vintners, they find that Mother Nature is the common thread in both industries, and serving the underserved remains a priority through their community work.

As the 2015 co-chairs of the Sonoma County Wine Auction, they helped raise a record-breaking $4.5 million for literacy programs in Sonoma County. Joe and Mary have been proud to partner with fellow vintners and continue to raise millions of dollars to support various programs across Sonoma County, in addition to their philanthropic work in other parts of the country.

Meet Our Team

Mary Dewane & Joe Anderson

Vice Chairman & Chairman

After growing up in rural Wisconsin, Mary spent two years in Paris, completing her graduate work entirely in French, traveling as much as she could afford to, and falling hard for the wines of Burgundy. Later, Mary discovered Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in California that reminded her of those expat student days. Mary’s contagious energy rubs off on everyone at Benovia. She draws upon her diverse array of life experiences, from her childhood spent working on the family farm to her tenure as CEO of one of the largest Medicaid managed care organizations in the country. Her enthusiasm for wine, boundless curiosity, and genuine affection for others epitomize the term “Benovian.”

Joe grew up in a family that valued hard work and strong ethics and built an exceptional career of helping others in the healthcare industry. He found his second vocation in the Russian River Valley, helping out at winery sorting tables during harvest time and tasting regularly at wineries like Rochioli. Joe’s watershed wine moment occurred in 2002, when Burt Williams poured him a glass of 1993 Williams Selyem Cohn Vineyard Pinot Noir. Profoundly moved by what he had tasted, Joe later purchased the venerable Cohn Vineyard, the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

Together, serving the underserved remains a priority for Joe and Mary through their community work and philanthropic efforts locally and around the country.

Mike Sullivan


Mike is a fifth-generation Californian who grew up in Sonoma County and started working in Dick Arrowood’s cellar at Chateau St. Jean at the age of 18. While pursuing his enology degree at Fresno State, Mike also spent his summers farming at Four Brothers, his family’s vineyard. Soon thereafter, Mike served as assistant winemaker under the legendary Helen Turley at Landmark Vineyards, and then at Chappellet. Mike garnered numerous honors—including recognition by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as “Wine Personality of the Year”—as head winemaker at Hartford Family Winery before partnering with Joe and Mary to found Benovia in 2005.

As a winemaker, Mike listens. He listens to the vineyard, to what the grapes are saying, to nature unfolding each year, and to the wine during fermentation. “At Benovia I only have one job: to create wines that capture the essence of this place and this time, and for me, no wine reflects its place and time more than Pinot Noir.”

When he isn’t making wine, Mike serves on the board of Russian River Valley Winegrowers, travels to wine regions that inspire him, and indulges his personal weakness for Burgundy, grower Champagne, and Rieslings from Alsace and Germany.

Chris Kangas

Vineyard Manager

Like Mike, Chris got an early start on his career. He was just 16 when he started working in viticulture at DeLoach Vineyards, and he ended up staying there for another 23 years. Chris brings more than 33 years of vineyard management experience in total to Benovia after managing estates for Feeney’s Russian River Valley Vineyards and Bowland Vineyard Management as well.

A Sonoma County native, Chris has spent his career studying the vineyards of some of California’s best wineries. Besides keeping a close eye on the fruit clusters, Chris also looks at the big picture — taking into consideration the environmental impact, community relationships, and economic viability of the vineyards he tends.

Chris is a full-time outdoorsman, who can be found hiking, camping, mountain biking or fishing when he isn’t out in the vineyards. At home, he keeps a vegetable garden and cooks. His farming philosophy is a combination of minimalism and perfectionism: “I like to tread as lightly as possible, yet get the best-quality grapes possible.”

Adolfo Hernandez

Associate Winemaker

Adolfo brings extensive technical expertise as well as a background with small, family-owned wineries. He came to Benovia most recently from Pahlmeyer Winery in St. Helena, where he served as a Harvest Enologist. He standardized all lab protocols in order to facilitate winemaking for the 500-ton operation. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Winemaker at Checkerboard Vineyards in Calistoga. There, he oversaw all of the winemaking activities for Checkerboard as well as the Levy & McClellan brands.

As an enologist at the Araujo Estate Winery, Adolfo was involved in overseeing the lab procedures, the winemaking, the vineyard and the cellar, ensuring quality throughout the process from field to bottle. He started his career in wine as a Laboratory Technician at Clos du Bois, where he supervised the lab to ensure productivity and efficiency.

Adolfo received a BS in Biological Sciences, Molecular and Cellular, from California Polytechnic State University, followed by an MBA from Sonoma State University. He is fluent in Spanish and English, and, when he’s not making wine, he is a master pianist.

Brian Catlett

Wine Club Manager

For the last 18 years starting in 2005, Brian has held various positions in the wine industry. His whole career has been dedicated to providing the very best in customer service. In 2005 Brian left a career in the wireless industry to combine his love of wine and service.

He started off as the first full-time tasting room associate a family winery in Sonoma had ever hired. He very quickly was promoted to be the Assistant Tasting Room Manager. After a few years, Brian left California to explore his love of Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and took a position with a luxury producer of the fantastic wine. After a year in Oregon, Brian decided to come back home to California.

Once home he took a position that enabled him to combine his love of Napa wines and art at a family winery in Calistoga. Two years later he accepted a position with a tiny Pinot Noir-focused family winery where he was at the time and remains a club member in the Russian River Appellation of Sonoma County. As magical of wine as Pinot Noir is, the storied Cabernet Sauvignons of Napa lured him back to Napa Valley. He spent almost three years working as the wine club manager, for a prestigious family winery in Saint Helena before moving on to head the growing wine club for a well-known family winery in Calistoga. Brian left Napa Valley to join our team at Benovia in 2022.

Brian is passionate about customer service and brings a wealth of experience in Wine Club management with him to Benovia Winery. We are very excited to have him be our newest member of the family. He holds a BA in Business Administration from Dominican University in San Rafael. In his spare time, Brian loves to travel with his wife, exploring the world and exploring wine regions abroad as well as in his backyard. He also likes to create art, and go hiking or mountain biking whenever he can.

Megan Koolmees

Tasting Room Manager

Megan’s journey into the wine industry took a somewhat unexpected route. While pursuing her BA in French Philosophy and Literature, she found herself living in Paris, where she had her initial encounter with what the locals fondly referred to as “vin de table”. It was during this time that her fascination with wine truly blossomed. Megan embarked on a personal quest to learn more about wine, eventually attaining her Certified level in the Master Court of Sommeliers as well as WSET level 3 with Merit.

After dedicating a couple of years to her role as a Sommelier in downtown Los Angeles, Megan felt a strong desire to transition from the food service sector to a life immersed in wine. Her first two jobs in the industry were with Tablas Creek Vineyard Paso Robles and Turley Wine Cellars in both Paso Robles and Amador County. However, motivated by her affection for Pinot Noir, she eagerly sought opportunities to channel her passion towards working with her favorite grape varietal.

Megan brings with her a passion for this industry and a drive to help everyone else fall in love with wine the same way that she did.