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Karen Hunt Named President of DAOU Vineyards

Posted on August 26, 2010

Paso Robles, CA (August 26, 2010) -- DAOU Vineyards, owned by brothers Daniel and Georges Daou, producers of some of Paso Robles’ finest wines, has announced the appointment of Karen Hunt to president of the winery.

Hunt, a 20-year veteran in sales and marketing, was most recently Vice President of Sales for the Francis Ford Coppola Presents brands and Rubicon. Her experience also includes Vice President of Sales at Charles Krug winery and consumer sales and marketing experience at Ben & Jerry’s and M&M Mars.

“Karen brings a unique blend of talents and values to the DAOU Family Vineyards,” said Georges Daou. “Her experience, dedication to the industry as a whole and love for our wines makes her our top choice to help us become a global brand for demanding wine consumers. Daniel and I welcome her with open arms to our family.”

As president, Hunt is tasked with opening distribution of the DAOU brand nationally and internationally. Her strategy will include developing a national account base in the on-Premise channel to off-Premise high-end wine and spirit stores at the most senior level by leveraging her extensive network and relationships with distributors and buyers across the country. She sees an opportunity to bring the brand in the on-premise channel the recognition it deserves both through the quality of the wine and a custom education program for sommeliers. She will steer direct sales with a combination of e-commerce and a wine club.

Hunt will also serve as an ambassador of the Paso Robles AVA to bring deserved attention to California’s Central Coast, home to some of the state’s most unique terroir.

“Without a doubt, DAOU Vineyards will rise to the top of the pack in Paso Robles within five years, and they will be regarded as one of California's top Cabernets, regardless of origin. It's going to be that good,” said Scott McLeod, named the 2009 Winemaker of the Year by the Wine Enthusiast. As the previous winemaker for Rubicon Estate, McLeod is now owner of Scott McLeod Consulting, Wine X Ray and Safe Harbor Partners. “With Karen Hunt as president, her pure enthusiasm in bringing these wines to market will be unstoppable.”

“It is very exciting to see what is happening with DAOU,” said Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President/General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of America. “Since day one, Georges and Daniel Daou have been very serious about producing world class wines, and now by hiring Karen Hunt they have proven they are very serious about having a great organization as well. We have worked with Karen for a number of years and she has great energy, a strong work ethic and a passion for the business that rank her among the best in the wine industry.”

Bill Cascio, VP Director of Winery Relations, Glazer Family of Companies states, “As a major fine wine distributor, we were very lucky to ‘discover’ DAOU early in their development of producing world class wines from Paso Robles. With their recent announcement of Karen Hunt becoming president of the business, we could not be more pleased with the direction, quality and commitment this winery is making to create a portfolio of luxury wines. Karen's trade relationships, leadership skills and entrepreneurial drive will bring this portfolio of wines to a new industry level.”

“I will never forget the efforts of Karen Hunt while she worked for us at Ben & Jerry’s and can only imagine what her strengths will do for the DAOU brothers as they launch their brand globally,” said Jerry Greenfield, co-Founder of Ben & Jerry’s.

About DAOU Family Vineyards

Daniel and Georges Daou are committed to producing elegant, hand crafted world-class wines. Although both engineers by trade, the brothers are no strangers to agriculture. Their passion for quality wine was nurtured in France, where they were raised. Their father, like many living in France, enjoyed wine as part of every meal. Daniel and Georges came to appreciate wine as young adults and their passion for it has never left them.

In 2007, Daniel and Georges’ search for the perfect terroir led them to the west mountain Adelaida area of Paso Robles in California, where they found land that was part of the historical Hoffman Mountain Ranch vineyard that fit their criteria for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals that would rival the world’s best wine appellations. The vineyard is ideal for the wines the brothers produce with a combination of high elevation, cool marine influence, southeast and southwest sun exposure and highly sought after calcareous-limestone soils. An added bonus of the100-acre property is that over 70 acres are farmabl, making it one of the larger vineyard sites in the Adelaida region.

Nicknamed DAOU Mountain, the property also features incredible building sites with views for the Spanish-style winery and tasting room currently under construction. The winery has already received high praise from wine writers and buyers for their current offerings of premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and a signature Cabernet/Syrah. The brothers have set a goal of crafting estate bottled Bordeaux varietals that are due to be released to the market by 2012.

Region: Central Coast
Job Function: President/Owner/GM

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