The Nef Family with Founder Hans Nef (1944-2019)
From left to right: Thomas König, Kalya König, Moira König, Michèle König-Nef, Mimi Baldi, Nino Nüesch, Hans Nef, Nicole Nüesch-Nef, Jürg Nüesch-Nef
Jürg Nüesch-Nef – Nef Family Representative
Jürg Nüesch started his professional career as an aircraft mechanic for Swissair before gaining a mechanical engineering degree at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. He applied his knowledge in various functions for international mechanical engineering and pharmaceutical companies while continuing his education in business administration.
Jürg has always had a great passion for wine and agriculture. He received the opportunity to combine his interests with his professional background when he started managing Vina Robles alongside his father-in-law, Hans Nef. Since 2019, Jürg also manages the family’s civil engineering consultancy firm in Switzerland.
In his spare time, Jürg enjoys spending time with his family, especially in the Swiss mountains. He also engages in various sporting activities such as ice hockey, skiing, inline skating, and mountain biking.
Hans–Rudolf ("Hans") Michel – Co-Owner
As a young man, Hans worked on a diversified family farm near Zurich, Switzerland. He graduated from the Technical College of Agriculture in Zollikofen, Bern with a degree in Agricultural Economics, having already gained diplomas in Commerce and Agriculture. In 1982, he came to the United States to work for a farm management company, and later started his own agricultural consulting and management firm. Hans met Hans Nef in the early 1990s, and they eventually partnered in laying the agricultural and business foundation of Vina Robles. “I want Vina Robles to be known for producing distinctive, high-quality wines, and for providing excellent service to the guests who visit our hospitality center,” he says.
Kevin Willenborg – Winemaker
Kevin Willenborg is a versatile winemaker who has over 35 years of extensive experience working in key regions such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Sonoma, British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, as well as California's Central Coast. A graduate of University of California at Davis, his fast paced career started with an internship at Chateau Petrus in the mid-1980s, which provided him with a great introduction into the industry's traditions and philosophy. Ever since, he has enjoyed shaping world class wines from ground to glass. "Each wine has its own life. That life begins with the planting and development of the vines. It is then transferred from the earth through the vine as the grapes are harvested, crushed, fermented into wine and eventually bottled. The role of the winemaker is to respectfully steward this life with care and attention to detail.”
Carter Collins – Viticulturalist
To say that viticulture runs in the blood of Carter Collins is an understatement. The son of a grape grower, Carter grew up on a vineyard that his family planted in 1997 adjacent to our tasting room property! After graduating from Mission College Prep in San Luis Obispo, Carter attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he earned his wine and viticulture degree with a concentration in viticulture. His college internship with Vina Robles would prove to be pivotal. “It took longer to get through school while I worked as an intern, especially during harvest,” Carter says. “But I was happy to have the hands-on, real world experience.” Today, Carter manages our day-to-day vineyard activities and oversees all fruit that comes into the winery, all with a passionate focus on sustainable winegrowing. When he’s not at work Carter enjoys golfing, hunting and spending time with his wife, Cheyenne, and their two dogs Addie and Bela. “I love being out in the vineyard,” Carter says. “It’s a chance to experience something new every day.”