At La Crema, we make it our mission to build a team that understands and supports our vision. Since the beginning, our fascination with cool-climate wines has attracted talented and passionate individuals eager to contribute to our story. Barbara Banke, our proprietor, and three generations of the Jackson family have led by example, cultivating a dedicated team and fostering a spirited community of La Crema wine lovers.

Barbara Banke

Chairman and Proprietor

Barbara Banke

We’re always looking for the next perfect wine or great vineyard. That prospect of making something really spectacular and discovering something new is what motivates me.

Barbara Banke, a graduate of UCLA and Hastings Law School, served as a land use and constitutional law attorney. She argued cases before the United States Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals before she transitioned to wine. Her prior experience is what set the foundation of La Crema’s commitment to land stewardship and discovering new terroirs that align with the high standards of La Crema’s portfolio.

Barbara’s passion for excellence and innovation mirrors the brand’s foundational vision and has established La Crema as a leader in premier winemaking and cool-climate viticulture. Her and Jess Jackson’s three children (Katherine, Julia, and Christopher Jackson) continue that vision.

Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray

Third-Generation, Co-Proprietor

Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray

Wine is more than a product. It’s culture. It’s art. It brings out so many emotions in people.

Hailey Jackson Hartford Murray, granddaughter of the legendary Jess Jackson and daughter of Jenny Jackson Hartford and Don Hartford, grew up in an iconic wine family—wine practically runs in her veins.

Growing up, Hailey played hide-and-seek among the century-old Zinfandel vines in her backyard. After working harvests in France, Chile, and the Russian River Valley, she chose to leave her biology degree to dive fully into winemaking. She participated in harvests at Yangarra Estate in McLaren Vale, Australia, and Château Lassègue in Bordeaux.

Her work at La Crema highlights the lasting influence of her experiences and passion for wine. Hailey lives with her husband, Max Murray, and their two children in the place where it all started: Sonoma County.

Craig McAllister

Head Winemaker

Craig McAllister

From the rush and intensity of harvest, to bottling the wines and taking them to market, he continually strives to improve quality.

A New-Zealand native, Craig McAllister spent his first 20 years in Christchurch, New Zealand, then lived in London for six years. He has travelled extensively throughout the world. He found himself drawn not just to the wine industry, but to the wine lifestyle due to his love of cooking, traveling and being outdoors. This led him to Lincoln University in New Zealand, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in viticulture and enology.

Craig’s deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Craig first joined the La Crema team in 2007 as the Harvest Enologist. After gaining additional experience abroad, he joined the La Crema team full-time in 2009. He has been a steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and worked extensively on the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. He also helped to further develop La Crema’s esteemed collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. He was promoted to head winemaker in 2017.

For Craig, there is never a dull moment in winemaking. From the rush and intensity of harvest, to bottling the wines and taking them to market, he continually strives to improve quality.

Craig believes that the best wines are those shared with family and friends over a delicious meal. He resides in Healdsburg with his family.

Lisa Valtenbergs

Facility Winemaker

Lisa Valtenbergs

Sonoma County native Lisa Valtenbergs has always had a sensitive nose – an attribute that inspired a family friend to declare she should make perfume or wine. It proved to be shrewd advice. Not surprisingly, her uncanny ability to detect and identify myriad aromas has been a tremendous asset as a winemaker.
Lisa was inspired at an early age by Sonoma’s agricultural traditions, prompting her to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business with a minor in Viticulture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Adding to her skillset, Lisa spent a semester abroad studying international wine marketing at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and earned a Winemaker’s Certificate from UC Davis.
After stints at several wineries in California, Lisa re-joined Jackson Family Wines as a production enologist for Kendall-Jackson in 2004, and in 2006, she was promoted to assistant winemaker. In 2008, she became assistant winemaker for Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, eventually being named winemaker in 2014, where she spent six vintages making widely-acclaimed high elevation Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Following a year-long global travel sabbatical with a vintage in South Australia’s McLaren Vale, Lisa joined the La Crema winemaking team in July 2022. In 2024, her two decades of vineyard, winemaking, and blending skills were instrumental to La Crema’s addition of a Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon to their line of superlative Burgundian-varieties and category-leading Sauvignon Blanc.

Eric Johannsen


Eric Johannsen

"Even early in the growing season, your conception starts to develop about what the wines will eventually become."

Eric Johannsen is no stranger to Northern California wine country. Having grown up in the redwood-forested Santa Cruz Mountains, vineyards and wineries were almost literally in his backyard. “I would hike or ride my bike through the historic Jesuit monastery vineyards, and those old, gnarly vines seemed so dramatic. When my folks went wine tasting at the top of our road, my sister and I would tag along. The old stone cellar of the Novitiate (now Testarossa Winery) seemed saturated with the smell of wine. It remains an indelible sense-memory.”  Another fixture of life were large family gatherings, often up at a rustic cabin in the mountains, always with plenty to eat and drink. The importance of celebration, conviviality, the communal table were firmly planted in his psyche.

Out of a lifelong fascination with food and wine, along with academic interests in science and the humanities, a career in winemaking eventually followed. After receiving undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Philosophy, with some restaurant work on the side, Eric began to pursue a Master of Science in Enology at the University of California, Davis.

Before joining the La Crema team in 2004, Eric spent his early career at such wineries as Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Cuvaison Estate Wines in Napa, and Williams Selyem Winery in Healdsburg. Throughout his career, he has focused on crafting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that represent the unique qualities of each world-class winegrowing region and vintage. After 20 years in the industry, he counts being in the vineyard, soaking in its cyclical rhythms, as his favorite aspect of winemaking. “Even early in the growing season, your conception starts to develop about what the wines will eventually become.”

When Eric is not working, he continues to pursue deeper understanding of wines from around the world. He has visited wine regions throughout Argentina, Australia, and France, including a memorable trip to the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy that cemented the Burgundian varieties as his passion. Eric also enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly skiing and camping, as well as cooking for friends and family.

Tracey Shepos Cenami

Executive Chef and Cheese Specialist

Tracey Shepos Cenami

She loved the prospect of living in wine country and having the opportunity to create food to pair with specific wines.

Tracey Shepos Cenami grew up in a family that was always cooking. Her Italian Nana and mother put considerable thought into everyday meals, treating each as a special occasion. She held her first job as a dishwasher at a summer camp and was immediately hooked on the camaraderie, artistic expression, and satisfaction of the kitchen. She knew she had found her calling. Throughout high school, she continued to pursue jobs in the culinary industry before attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

After years in the culinary world, Tracey was drawn to the wine industry, which she found to be a natural transition. She loved the prospect of living in wine country and having the opportunity to create food to pair with specific wines. Before joining the La Crema team, she worked for eight years as the executive chef for Stark Reality restaurants, a Sonoma County restaurant group. During her tenure there, she helped to open five different restaurants and create a catering department. She also worked under Chef Michael Romano at Union Square Café for two years.

Tracey played a pivotal role in developing the culinary program at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, including introducing a VIP wine and cheese pairing experience – a lesson in the fundamentals of wine and cheese pairing which expertly pairs local artisan cheeses with La Crema wines. When she’s not at La Crema she regularly competes on the Food Network against some of the country’s top chefs, including Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Christa Lutdke.

When Tracey is not creating perfect pairings, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and son barbecuing in the backyard or eating oysters on the Sonoma Coast.  She is a founding board member of the Sonoma County chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization dedicated to inspiring, advancing, and supporting women in food, beverage, and hospitality.

Her personal favorite pairing is La Crema Pinot Noir with bacon, almonds and Valley Ford Estero Gold cheese.