Current Officers/Directors

Ken Gualain, President
Round Peak Vineyards

Ken Gulaian Co-Owner, Round Peak Vineyards

Ken Gulaian and his wife Kari Heerdt took over as the owners of Round Peak Vineyards in December 2008, shortly after returning to North Carolina from a two year assignment in the bay area of California, where they spent a lot of time enjoying wine in Napa, Sonoma, and the Dry Creek Valley, and particularly enjoyed the small family owned wineries. Ken & Kari have spent two exciting years learning about the North Carolina wine industry, getting to know many of the people, learning the challenges, and looking for ways to further increase the great opportunity that already exist for producing and promoting North Carolina wines. Ken has an engineering degree and has a 20 year background in Industrial equipment design, service, marketing and sales. He most recently was a general manager for a $40 million services busi-ness for Ingersoll Rand in Davidson, NC. With a range of experience in sales, marketing, and management he would welcome the opportunity to help the North Carolina Winegrower's Association in whatever capacity is needed. 

Hailey Klepcyk, Vice President
Piccione Vineyards

Hailey Klepcyk has been working in the wine industry for nearly 10 years.  After studying Business Management at NC State and earning a degree in Art and Photography from Elon University, she found an interest in wine while working for Aria Tuscan Grill in Charlotte, NC.  Hailey’s passion for wine and winemaking deepened while working for Wisdom Beverage and Fine Wine Distributors helping restaurants build award-winning wine portfolios.  Hailey left the distributor world in 2013 to manage a local winery when she found a love of wines made in her home state.  In 2015, Hailey helped Piccione Vineyards find its footing in the Yadkin Valley by managing the tasting room.  She has a true passion for the North Carolina wine industry in all aspects from tasting room management to winemaking and helping in the vineyard during each harvest.
Amy Helton, Secretary
Co-Owner, Hanover Park Vineyard

Amy has been involved with grapes and wine since 1996 after a honeymoon to the South of France. Amy and her husband Michael own Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville, NC where they have been producing wine since 1999. A former art teacher, Amy now dedicates all of her time to the wine business. Producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Mourevdre, Chardonnay and Viognier for starters, Amy and Michael project to make up to 3,000 cases of wine per year from Hanover Park
Chuck Johnson, Treasurer
Co-founder and President of Shadow Springs Vineyard and Windsor Run Cellars both of Hamptonville, NC.

He is originally from Minnesota and attended the University of Wisconsin before moving to North Carolina in 1983. Prior to getting into the North Carolina wine business, he was a Vice President for a Fortune 500 worldwide logistics company. He believes strongly in the North Carolina grape and wine industry and wants to help it grow however he can.
Mark Friszolowski, Past President
Wine Maker at Childress Vineyards

A native of Long Island, Mark came to Childress from Pindar Vineyards, the largest premium winery on Long Island, where he apprenticed under famed California enologist Dimitri Tchelistcheff. At Pindar, he rose from cellarmaster to be-come the winemaker and general manager for 650 acres of grapes and production of 100,000 cases annually. Winning over 300 awards in his career, Mark has served on judging panels and seminars around the world. Currently, Mark has sat on the Board for the NC Grape Council.

 

Directors-at-Large

 

Nadia Hetzel - Winemaker, Cypress Bend Vineyards

Nadia Hetzel received her engineering degree in enology and viticulture from the University of Geisehneim in Germany after getting a certification for a three-year apprenticeship as a Vintner. She has worked in many prestigious wineries in Germany including the renowned Riesling producer Schloss Johanissberg and the first organic winery in Germany, Weingut Sander. Returning to the United States in 2008, she embarked on her American winemaking career in Texas, producing many award-winning wines out of vinifera and hybrid grapes at Haak Vineyards and Winery. Her career then took her to Iowa where she was the Winemaker of the largest producer in the state, Tassel Ridge Winery. Nadia Hetzel continues her career in her home state of North Carolina where she is the winemaker of Cypress Bend Vineyards in Wagram NC. Nadia is also a Certified Specialist of Wine. 

 

 

Justin Taylor - Winemaker, Parker-Binns Vineyard

Justin earned his BBA from Georgia State University where he focused on Real Estate Development and Property Appraisal.  Post-graduate, he worked 4 years in Real Estate Law producing clear chains of title on bank owned assets poised for resale.  In an effort to generate more income for a second degree, he started working with Total Wine & More in the Atlanta Metro market stocking shelves.  In 2011, a visit to the Shelton-Badgett Center for Viticulture & Enology sparked the desire to apply for the AAS degree program for the fall of 2012.  Continuing course with Total Wine throughout his studies, Justin was promoted to Wine Sales Associate and completed 5 of the regional sections for the Total Wine Professional Program.  During his time at Surry Community College, he had the distinct privilege to develop viticultural philosophies under instruction of Dr. Gill Giese, combined with tested and experimental enology practices taught by David Bower.  Upon completion of the program at Surry Community College, he entered directly into the Western North Carolina wine industry.

He started out as Assistant Winemaker to consulting winemaker Tom Payette at Burntshirt Vineyards in Hendersonville, NC.  He worked the 2014-2016 vintages at this cellar, processing 70-90 tons per vintage and packaging 5,000-7,000 cases of wine annually.  Working closely with vineyard manager Eric Case, he had the opportunity to work with grape cultivars of regional significance that were used to build the wine styles of Burntshirt. 

In the spring of 2017, he took on a new venture of personal and professional significance with Bob and Karen at Parker-Binns Vineyard in Polk County, NC.  As winemaker of Parker-Binns, his primary focus ranges from all cellar and lab activities to final adjustments on wines prior to bottling to meet the desires of the customer basis. 

Christopher Bolcato – Owner - Lazy Elm Vineyard and Winery located in Mocksville, NC.

He is originally from New Jersey, where the stories of his grandfather making wine in his younger years peaked Chris’s curiosity.
With the encouragement of family and friends, Chris began his journey making wine from grapes imported from California back in 2002. In 2009 Chris took a huge leap of faith to follow what had now become a passion for winemaking and moved to North Carolina to fulfill his dream of starting his own vineyard and winery. The Lazy Elm Tasting room has just celebrated their six year anniversary, opening in October 2013.Their vineyard property includes 43 acres with 5 1/2 acres of vinifera vines planted in 2012.

Aside from being the owner, Chris is also the winemaker, vineyard manager, bookkeeper, floor sweeper, etc. at Lazy Elm, all while still maintaining his career as an IT professional for over 29 years. Chris is extremely hard working and passionate about growing a renowned wine industry here in North Carolina.

JW Ray – Owner - JOLO Vineyards

Born in Malden Massachusetts JW grew up working in his parents’ breakfast nook and catering business with his family. After serving in the US Army, JW returned to working in the food and beverage industry, then cofounded a mortgage banking company, worked as an advisor for Merrill Lynch and SVP at Morgan Stanley, then Co-Founded Learn.com which was acquired by Taleo/Oracle in 2010. In 2010 JOLO vineyards were formed where JW serves as owner winemaker.