Born in Argentina, proprietor Delia Viader spent much of her formative years in Europe and especially in France. Delia came to the United States as a post-graduate student and holds a doctorate in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France and pursued advanced business Studies at three American universities: MIT, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. After MIT, she moved to California and continued business school at the University of California Berkeley. During her studies, she realized the opportunities in the United States for both starting a career and raising children in a healthy environment. Recognizing the potential of the up and coming wine region nearby, Delia soon set her sights on purchasing land in the Napa Valley and subsequently plunged into the wine business in the early 1980s. With an initial loan from her father, Engr. Walter Viader, she acquired their Howell Mountain property and set out to create a world class wine estate. Delia continued learning about winemaking through programs in Enology and Viticulture offered at University of California, Davis to better learn the practical theory behind making fine wine. All while raising four children on her own, Delia forged the vision and design for this unique estate vineyard property, wine blend and brand.
Always “daring to be different,” Delia decided to bring the Bordeaux style of winemaking and unique vineyard cultivation to the California hillside. Delia has earned the reputation as a pioneer for planting the vines in rows going up and down the mountain, following the path of the summer afternoon sun down the steep slopes of Howell Mountain. This European planting design had never before been implemented in the area. After the first several vintages, Delia’s vineyards on Howell Mountain were regarded as an ideal model for growing super-premium quality grapes. Moreover, due to the sun exposure and excellent drainage the vineyard performs especially well in cooler vintages and is resilient against any harvest rains, producing fruit of exceptional quality. The original focus on Cabernet Franc as the main blending component, thought to be radical upon release, was a natural harkening back to Delia’s European roots and her love of Chateau Cheval Blanc.
The idea of a single woman running a successful winery business while raising a family was a rare happening in Napa Valley’s developing fine wine business in the 80’s and even to this day. Delia’s story illustrates the importance of education and understanding coupled with following one’s instincts. The VIADER estate and Delia’s wines have consistently reflected these strengths.
Director of Operations
Alan has assisted in the vineyards at VIADER since childhood, primarily working during his summer vacation at the family residence and vineyard estate. Today he looks back fondly on those early mornings when he was responsible for manually clearing rock piles and shoveling tanks… His early education in wine tasting and wine evaluation sparked his respect for terroir-driven wines and for the many diverse viticultural practices employed around the world. He has visited and worked harvest in some of the world famous wine regions in Argentina, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and has traveled extensively throughout California's wine country.
In college, he formally pursued his interest in viticulture with a hands-on program in Sonoma and he learned the fundamentals of winemaking at UC Davis. There, he accumulated more knowledge and respect for the organic farming principles he grew up with at VIADER. Alan also spearheaded the biodynamic project with consultant Phillipe Armenier, integrating the biodynamic calendar and several herbal treatments to the vines and in the cellar with fervor. Alan has been managing the VIADER vineyards since 2002, but has worked in all areas of wine production, and also national sales. In 2006, Alan started dedicating his time to both vineyard management and winemaking, and would later become the Director of Operations, responsible for the 2005 vintage wines at VIADER.
Also in 2006, Alan married his beautiful wife Mariela who is a trained chef who also owns her own chocolate company, Bark 72. Alan and Mariela have two young boys and happily live in the Napa Valley. Alan is an adventure-seeker and is often found hiking, skiing, camping and off-roading somewhere far out of cell-phone range. As Delia’s right-hand, Alan has the opportunity of overseeing production from start to finish. And having inherited his mother’s passion for winemaking and expressing the terroir, Alan is looking forward to many exciting vintages in the family business.
Sales and Marketing
Janet Viader grew up in the Napa Valley on the vineyards of VIADER which was founded in 1986 by her mother, Delia Viader. Janet has been involved in the family business since a very early age and has witnessed firsthand the growth of the business and brand. Janet studied Political Science at both the University of California at Berkeley and Sciences Po University in Paris, France. She has spent time in the wine regions of western Europe, Argentina, and back home in the Pacific Northwest improving her wine education, language skills and palate. Before officially joining the family business in 2007, she helped lead a political research project in Argentina for a fellow Berkeley student, and spent lots of time her with her family in Buenos Aires. She also has experience working at Napa Legal Aid, providing free legal services to low-income families, seniors and immigrants. Janet currently assists the family business with sales and marketing. With her brother Alan, she is part of “NG: The Next Generation in Wine,” a collaborative marketing group of second generation family vintners. Janet is also very involved in important issues affecting Napa Valley and the vintner community. She is one of the youngest Board Directors elected to represent the Napa Valley Vintners, the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation, its wines and community, with a membership nearing 500 Napa Valley wineries.
Mariela was born Mariela de la Cerda, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Mariela and VIADER's winemaker, Alan Viader, were married in 2006. Mariela has always shown a passion for cooking, and was professionally-trained at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon (Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts). After finishing her studies she pursued her dream of being a chef and was contracted as an intern at Bouchon in Yountville, a sister restaurant of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in the heart of Napa Valley. Upon completing her internship at Bouchon, she was curious to explore other types of cuisine, and started working at Chef Hiro Sone’s Asian-inspired restaurant Terra in St. Helena. Simultaneously, Mariela cooked at Redd restaurant, under Chef Richard Reddington, formerly of Auberge du Soleil. Proving herself as a talented chef she was given an opportunity to help test and develop recipes for a number of cookbooks. In late 2006, she decided to leave the restaurant world to pursue a career as a private chef found herself cooking events all over the Napa Valley. Currently, she actively participates in the family business, as Director of the Culinary Program at VIADER, happily preparing anything from hors-d’oeuvres, to casual picnics, lunches and elegant 3 to 5 course dinners for our guests. With her own organic vegetable garden on the VIADER estate, and another in her own backyard, Mariela always uses the most fresh and seasonal organic produce for all her wine-pairing dishes
Cante Swearingen was born at the St. Helena Hospital just about 2 miles from VIADER. He grew up in the Napa Valley, and used to ride the school bus with Alan, Janet and Paul. He first got involved with fine wine and food doing sales with Chef Michael Chiarello. He also worked in a small family winery as Tasting Room Manager, where he was often called upon to help with winemaking in the cellar when customers were not tasting wines. Cante then spent eight years at Mumm Napa where he was managing the tasting room employees and operations while also happily waiting on over 100,000 guests per year. Cante's first day at VIADER was September 13, 2006 single-handedly running the Hospitality Program, and he has successfully coordinated with Mariela and her Culinary Program. For any wine tastings or special events, Cante is the best contact. He prides himself on having many satisfied customers who he likes to call: “VIADER Ambassadors.” Cante is also a Bocce Ball fanatic, playing every season and recently winning the local Spring League Championship with his team the Hone Dogs. They are one of the most decorated teams in St. Helena Bocce history. Cante is an avid sports fan and also grew up mountain biking around the Napa Valley and could probably tell you a few secret rides around the area, if you ask. We are proud to call Cante a member of the Viader family.
Shipping Manager & Quality Control
When Blanca first came to work for VIADER, she was not actually involved with the winery operations, although she had previous experience. In 1994, she was hired to help care for Delia’s youngest, Alex Viader, who was less than a year old at the time. Little by little, Blanca started taking on more responsibilities, when she had free time. She started reorganizing the Viader family’s home and the winery office. After seeing at the winery that Delia could not supervise everyone, Blanca offered to assist and teach the labeling and bottling teams. This led to her being offered a full-time position at the winery, doing quality control and also directing the shipping department which sends hundreds of orders each week out of the winery. By this point, Alex was in elementary school with Blanca’s daughter Jessica. The children feel like siblings, and Blanca is actually Alex’s godmother. Blanca came to California from the town of Atachéo, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico in 1991. Although most of her immediate family is in the Napa Valley, she tries to visit her hometown at least once a year, and has even taken Alex there for Christmas! Blanca is a kind and generous friend, loved dearly and appreciated by everyone in the Viader family.
As a fourth-generation Napa resident, Kimberly Brown is the best source for local information about wineries, restaurants, and entertainment. She loves all things Napa, especially its exceptional wine, food, and hospitality. Her roots run deep in the culinary and private catering world, and she has held front of the house and management positions in several top restaurants across the Napa Valley including The French Laundry, REDD, Martini House, and Cindy Pawlcyn’s flagship restaurants Mustards Grill and Go Fish. In between, she also spent two years working at a luxury health spa in Sun Valley, Idaho, where before work she would comb the idyllic winter mountains for the best snowboarding. Kimberly also has interest in hiking, camping, fishing and scuba diving, and continues to be very active now back home in Napa. She looks forward to sharing her love of the great outdoors with her rapidly-growing young son Liam. Until then, she will continue to embrace the beauty in this amazing valley through the eyes of her three-year old son (who’s current fascination with nature forces her to stop so he can smell every single flower they come across). Kimberly has assisted Executive Chef Mariela Viader with several of our special events in the past and officially joined the team in 2013.
Maurilio Camarillo Canchola
Born in Gallinas, in Michoacán Mexico, Maurilio has been with VIADER full time since January 2003. His first experience at VIADER was actually in 1997 during the installation of the Syrah vines– a mere 7 acres on one of the steepest locations of the VIADER Estate at 1300 feet. Maurilio was responsible for putting in the row end posts, and worked with such dedication, that Delia offered future employment should the need arise. In 2003, he was hired as an extra hand in the cellar, but is really our extra hand for everything. He and Blanca joke about being the “mil-usos” or “jack of all trades” at VIADER because they participate in every aspect of production as well as shipping. Maurilio is also a fan of Mexican soccer, and supports the Monarcas of Morelia, Michoacán, a team which rivals the famous Chivas.
Starting his day early mornings with his cousin Maurilio, Efrain is responsible for the cellar work, and takes great care with all his tasks in the VIADER cellar. From topping the barrels, to racking, preparing equipment for harvest or bottling, he is a dedicated and detail-oriented member of the winemaking team. Efrain is often heard whistling or singing songs from his native Michoacán, Mexico down in the caves. He moved to Napa Valley fifteen years ago with his family, and soon found that the liked making wine. He was hired as a cellar hand, and Efrain also helps in the vineyard, with the Wine Club and labeling. On his days off, he plays soccer with Maurilio in the Napa Adult Mens Soccer League, and their team often takes first place.
Gabino Martinez Hernandez
Gabino was born in Oaxaca, and started at VIADER in 2003 along with his younger brother Anastacio who works with our vineyard crew. Gabino cares for the extensive gardens throughout the property, including Mariela’s organic vegetable garden. Gabino also has an artistic side, creating rock walls, planters and paths out of the endless piles of rocks displaced in the 1980s when the soil was tilled for planting. He also lends a hand to everyone around the property, whether it's the shipping department, the vineyard, or the kitchen. What is also impressive about Gabino is that he knows how to prepare the signature sauce from Oaxaca, a chocolate marinade called mole, and that he never loses his smile.