Our TeamMeet the Mira Family
Gustavo A. Gonzalez
For over 20 years Mira winemaker and co-founder Gustavo A Gonzalez has been practicing his craft in the Napa Valley and around the world to critical acclaim. Gustavo has worked in California, Italy, France, Argentina, and Brazil. His local knowledge and global perspective bring a highly experienced and creatively expansive approach to Mira’s vineyard practices and winemaking techniques.
The roots of Gustavo’s love for wine reach deep into his childhood. He grew up in California’s Central Valley, surrounded by family with longstanding ties to agricultural business who instilled in him a love of the land and an appreciation for wine. He enrolled in college planning to pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering but felt himself drawn to literature and philosophy, and as he shifted his studies towards those subjects he found wine flowing through the history of Western Civilization.
Gustavo’s newfound appreciation for winemaking’s heritage took him to the Napa Valley where he joined the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1995 as a harvest sampler, working in the field collecting samples. It was this first opportunity to witness the transformation of grapes into fine wine that made it clear: winemaking was not just Gustavo’s job, it was his vocation.
In his 17 years at Robert Mondavi Winery, Gustavo earned the title of Head Red Winemaker and established the Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as one of the leading Napa Valley Cabernets, consistently receiving Wine Spectator ratings of 95 or higher. He produced the best Sauternes style wine of the new world and raised the Pinot Noir program to cult status, all while working with other wineries around the world. He was responsible for the 2001 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia “Masseto” Toscana which received 100 points from Wine Spector and was described by James Suckling as, “possibly the best Tuscan red ever.”
It was Gustavo’s strong relationships with leading Napa Valley grape growers that brought Mira from shared dream to reality, providing the young winery with unique access to the finest blocks of grapes in some of the Napa Valley’s premier vineyards including Hyde Vineyard in the Carneros AVA and Schweizer Vineyard in the heart of the Stags Leap AVA.
With his superb craftsmanship and attention to detail, Gustavo quickly established Mira as one of the top producers of small production single vineyard wines from the Napa Valley. At a blind tasting commemorating the historic Judgement of Paris and featuring eight of the world’s top wines from Bordeaux and the Napa Valley, the 2012 Mira Cabernet Sauvignon Schweizer Vineyard took the top slot for Cabernet from the Napa Valley besting Screaming Eagle, Schrader To Kalon, and Shafer Hillside Select.
Gustavo’s love of winemaking has never diminished because he knows there is always something new to learn in the pursuit of producing the highest quality wine. Every vintage is different and presents unique opportunities for those who understand how to embrace those differences. The Napa Valley offers an unmatched combination of optimal climate and exceptional soils, and with 20 years of knowledge and experience Gustavo is able to allow the innate spirit of the fruit grown in this special place to shine through in the wines of Mira.
Jim “Bear” Dyke
Over his 30-year career, Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr. has consulted with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, trade associations, public policy makers and helped manage numerous national and state political campaigns.
Jim began his career in Washington, D.C., as a Senate parking lot attendant. In short order, he parlayed a stint as Assistant Brewmeister at Capital City Brewing Company into a lobbying position at the Beer Institute, which served as a springboard to the upper echelons of the Washington D.C. public policy world and an introduction to the alcohol beverage industry.
In 2005 while establishing Jim Dyke and Associates, which went on to become the successful public affairs firm JDA Frontline, Jim met by chance winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez at the Off The Record bar in Washington, D.C., and the dream of creating a world class winery began to take shape. In 2009 the duo sourced their first grapes and in 2012 Mira went to market.
Over a very short period of time, Mira has established itself as a leading producer of limited production single vineyard wines exclusively from the Napa Valley.
Ed Thralls came to Mira from Benovia Winery where he served as General Manager, driving a high-growth consumer-focused business model and creating a world-class customer service reputation, directing all sales, marketing, hospitality, finance and business operations for the winery as well as production planning for the 72 acres of organically and sustainably farmed estate vineyards. Prior to that role, he served as the director of consumer sales & marketing for Flowers Vineyards & Winery and Huneeus Vintners.
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science from the University of Florida, an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University and brings more than 25 years of combined experience in both wine and financial technology industries. He studied winemaking at UC Davis and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).
DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER SALES & SOCIETY 610
Molly Pearson has been with Mira since the very beginning, growing and learning about the industry and all things wine. Through the years she has developed deep-rooted connections to Mira’s many supporters across the country and around the world. She loves being able to develop relationships with the entire extended Mira family, helping select wines for special occasions and simple weeknight sips. Molly has held several roles with Mira Winery over the last decade, but her first love has always been interacting with Mira customers. She is always happy to help with all things wine, from stocking the cellar to sending the perfect gift.
Molly is a native of South Carolina where she resides with her family. A lifelong wine lover, she enjoys learning about different wine regions and enjoys sharing that journey with her husband. When not chatting with Mira supporters you can most likely find Molly on the beach or the boat playing with her children.
A Napa native and recent UC Santa Barbara graduate, Sam Dearden has spent his life immersed in every facet of the wine industry. During his teens, he worked in production and during harvest for luxury wineries such as V Madrone, Chanticleer, Sleeping Giant and Domaine Carneros. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that Sam found himself working in a tasting room. During his junior year of college, he found a true passion and love for hospitality and sales at Margerum Wine Company in Santa Barbara. There, he found that he loves educating people about wine and making people smile every day.
Two years and a degree in Biology/Environmental Science later, Sam began his career working for Erosion Wine Company, a small startup winery located in Yountville. Although he began as part of the winemaking team, he soon transitioned to the role of Tasting Room Manager and Northern California Sales Representative, where he helped develop a personalized tasting program and built connections throughout the Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
When Sam isn’t at the beautiful Mira Hospitality House guiding guests through one-of-a-kind luxury wine tasting experience, you can find him playing golf or taking long walks on the beach. He loves all types of wine with a weakness for Mira’s Hyde Pinot Noir, which evokes thoughts of the Carneros terroir as well as childhood memories of walking through and sampling grapes from his family’s vineyards planted in the same district.
Rachel Thralls is Court of Masters Certified Sommelier with extensive experience developing and executing in-depth education programs for luxury wine brands, creating effective sales and marketing materials, and highly successful at luxury wine brand national and export sales via on and off-premise channels. She is a wine education consultant for wineries and other industry organizations across Napa and Sonoma Counties. Her motivation is entertaining and educating key members of the trade as well as consumers while conducting classes and seminars that articulate the wonders of California wine, food and farming.
Prior to starting her wine consulting business, Rachel graduated at the top of her Court of Masters Intensive Sommelier class at the International Culinary Center where she honed her food and wine pairing expertise. She was the Director of Wine Education at Rodney Strong Wine Estates as well as the food & wine writer for BevMo! and Wine.com. After receiving a B.A. in Communications and Psychology from Vanderbilt, she earned her Masters of Education from Notre Dame de Namur.
Rachel is also a certified Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and has completed the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate program through Cornell. In her free time, Rachel loves spending time with her two children and husband, creating unique food and wine pairings, exercising and gardening.
Jesus Medina has spent more than two decades supporting the production of premium wines in Napa Valley and around the globe. Over the course of a twenty-year career with the Robert Mondavi Winery he rose to the position of Cellar Master and took an active role in constantly refining and improving standards and practices for cellar work and winemaking. He holds professional certifications from Napa Valley College and UC Davis covering the spectrum of winemaking science.
Throughout his time at Robert Mondavi winery, Jesus collaborated on the modification and enhancement of the winemaking and cellar methodology to elevate the method of cellar operation to a highly educated and conceptualized department. He helped establish sophisticated efficiency metrics and to develop an innovative work organization system. This experience gave him an appreciation and understanding of diverse styles, philosophies, and production methods that he now puts to work in the Mira winery.
Beyond winemaking, Jesus has a passion for soccer having played in multiple leagues at various levels throughout his life. He currently coaches local youth clubs and continues to study the game, having obtained US Soccer Federation top level licenses as well as international licenses and certification in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil as well as UEFA certifications in Europe along with a Master’s in Physical Education received from the Universidad Isabel I in Murcia Spain in 2018.
The Napa Valley is where Bertram Whitman first fell in love with California. Originally from Connecticut, he first came to Napa as part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group’s management team at their flagship Rutherford Grill. He later joined the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, serving as Culinary Assistant at The French Laundry before following his love of storytelling into a full-time marketing and communications role with TKRG.
Born into the hospitality industry, Bertram was the third generation involved in operating his family’s New England country inn and restaurant. Throughout his life he has held a variety of restaurant, winery, and gourmet food store positions. In recent years he has worked with an array of luxury lifestyle brands throughout the state of California, helping these elite organizations share their stories with customers and fans around the world.
Bertram graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC before pursuing his lifelong love of food and hospitality at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY where he graduated first in his class.
Heather Mathias has been a part of the Mira team since the brand was launched and has worn many hats during that time, supporting all aspects of Mira’s business operations. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Production & Operations Management.
Over the course of a 25-year career in business management and bookkeeping, Heather has worked with a variety of companies in the advertising, public relations, and travel industries. Today she resides in Maryland with her husband, two sons, and a crazy Chocolate Lab named Maggie. Beyond her work with Mira, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and operating her own personal businesses with Scentsy and Color Street.