Claudio Ponte

Managing Partner

A graduate of University of California, Los Angeles' business school, Claudio has served on the boards of Winegrowers of California, California Association of Wine Grape Growers, the Wine Institute and the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. Claudio’s love for Italian wines and unique experiences led him to establish BOTTAIA Winery. After watching the growth of Temecula Wine Country become more and more lively and boisterous over the years, he recognized the need for a winery offering high-quality wines in a relaxing environment. Years of planning to make his vision a reality have finally culminated to the wine country oasis you can experience today. Needless to say, he can’t wait to share it with you…

Brian Hulbert


At a young age, Brian was introduced to wine by his father while making wine in the basement of their home in upstate New York. A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s business school and University of California Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, Brian spent 10 years in wine sales before transitioning to winemaking, and has spent the past 22 years making wine professionally. Brian considers winemaking as the expression of the land bringing the essence of our estate vineyards to the bottle to showcase BOTTAIA’s fine Italian varietals.

Jack Fagundes

Vineyard Supervisor & Assistant Winemaker

After catching the wine bug and making a career switch, Jack graduated with a degree in Viticulture & Enology from University of California, Davis. He then built his cellar experience chasing harvests in New Zealand, Portugal, and Washington, before sharpening his vineyard knowledge in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Seduced by the warmer weather and promising future of Temecula’s Wine Country, Jack is excited to have one hand in the cellar and another hand in the vineyard in his new role with our stellar team. A native of Brazil, if he isn’t watching or playing soccer, he is planning his next outdoor adventure.

Don Crank III

Consulting Winemaker

In his own words, Don is a “scientist by training and a passionate winemaker.” After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Biochemistry and Food Science, he discovered his love of wine. With more than 16 years of experience in the winemaking world, Don considers winemaking to be an art, each wine a culmination and an expression of the place in which it was grown.

Juliet Ponte

Tasting Room Supervisor

Juliet started “working” in the wine industry when she was a mere 8 years old, autographing bottles of her namesake sweet wine at Ponte Winery. Later on, she graduated from University of California, San Diego with a degree in Communication and Business and took on the position of Tasting Room Supervisor at BOTTAIA. A natural business woman with a strong aptitude for management, Juliet oversees BOTTAIA’s tasting room associates and ensures guests' experiences are living up to our standards of excellence. In Juliet’s free time, she enjoys traveling, the outdoors and a great glass of wine (of course…).

Lyvette Johnson

Wine Club & Online Store Manager

 Lyvette oversees everything Wine Club, and if you’ve given us a call, you’ve likely heard her warm, welcoming voice. A Michigan native, she received her bachelors degree in Hospitality & Hotel Management, spending the first part of her career working in the hotel industry before working at Ponte Winery as the Wine Club Manager. Lyvette’s education, experience and exceptional character left us with no questions – we knew she was a perfect match for the refined elegance that BOTTAIA exemplifies. When she’s not in the office, she spends her time working out (Zumba is her class of choice), traveling and experiencing the beauty of wine country.