Kelli Willard, Principal Consultant
Kelli Willard has been working in Napa Valley for many years, primarily with limited production, highly-focused wine projects. The bulk of her wine industry experience revolves around starting-up small luxury brands. She possesses the unique ability to wear many hats and has a keen understanding of how to manage boutique projects at the highest level. Through her years of experience working in the wine industry, she has developed outstanding working relationships with the best resources in the Valley. Her extensive entrepreneurial experience drives her passion for working with quality wine projects in all phases of evolution.
Kelli most recently held the post of General Manager at BRAND Napa Valley on Pritchard Hill, where she was instrumental in the start-up of the new winery and the launch of the first three vintages of Philippe Melka-crafted Cabernets from the 110 acre estate.
"Kelli hosted numerous tastings, represented BRAND at offsite events and managed onsite events of varying sizes. She was integral in all operational areas such as set up and management of systems, inventory tracking, maintenance, accounting, payroll, compliance, taxes, etc. She worked well with the winery team to assist in purchasing, bottling, production, records and maintenance. Kelli was the first point of contact for all customer inquiries and the day to day operations of the winery.
She had a very successful three years setting up BRAND operations to run efficiently, effectively and independently... she is well liked, extremely dependable, her organizational skills are exceptional and she has a broad network to pull from."
Ed Fitts & Deb Whitman, Proprietors, BRAND Napa Valley
Prior to joining the BRAND team, Kelli was employed for more than three years by Schrader Cellars, with the title of Business Manager. Kelli gained additional winery start-up experience as Director of Operations for Evening Land Vineyards where she played a key role building their operations in both California and Oregon during the inaugural releases.
Growing up in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Kelli discovered a love of wine while attending Oregon State University. After earning a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, she found herself back in California, where she was born, working in Alumni Relations and Fundraising at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
She and her husband moved to the Napa Valley 18 years ago to be closer to the vineyards, to build a successful custom swimming pool and landscape construction company, and to raise their two sons. She is passionate about spending time with her family & pets, watching football, savoring great food and wine, and teeing off for the occasional round of golf.