Kathleen Heitz Myers
President & CEO
Years of hands-on experience in every facet of the family business inspired Kathleen Heitz Myers' deep-rooted love of winemaking. Her firsthand knowledge of every aspect of running a winery combined with a broad-based education in science, genetics and the culinary arts uniquely prepared Kathleen for her dynamic leadership role at one of Napa Valley’s most revered wineries.
The Heitz family values education, and Kathleen approached her studies with the intent of gaining an international perspective. She began her scientific studies in Switzerland, ultimately earning a Biology degree from the University of Oregon. She also attained a lifetime teaching credential from UC Davis, and continued her education in France and Thailand with the study of cuisine.
In 1978, she returned home, eager to contribute to the Heitz Wine Cellars winemaking legacy. Her career at Heitz began in sales and marketing, where she spearheaded a program to export Heitz wines to markets around the globe. Her ability to identify innovative ideas and flawlessly execute them won her the family’s vote of confidence to lead the entire operation.
Since 1998, Kathleen has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of Heitz Wine Cellars. She has charted a highly effective course for the winery by embracing frontline business practices while continuing to preserve Heitz's commitment to quality and innovation.
Kathleen’s ability to create long-term relationships has fostered valued business connections and friendships with customers, employees and community leaders alike, a vital cornerstone of Heitz Wine Cellars’ ongoing success. Her respect for community involves her service on several boards-of-directors including past Chairman of Wine Institute, past President of Napa Valley Vintners, past President of Wine Service Co-op and the Advisory Council for the Land Trust of Napa County.
“My parents believed in the American dream of building a family business,” says Kathleen. “I think they would be amazed at the far-reaching impact of our small winery today. We hear stories from people around the world who celebrate life with Heitz wines, and we promise that we will continue to polish our legacy.”
Kathleen is married to St. Helena businessman George Myers, who is also an avid wine connoisseur and fly fisherman. They synchronize their busy schedules to travel together often as Kathleen represents Heitz Wine Cellars around the world.
About Heitz Wine Cellars: Founded in 1961, Heitz Wine Cellars is a true Napa Valley legacy: a multi-generation, successful family business that has held true to its founder’s vision for decades and continues to stand proudly in the world’s spotlight. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz and his wife Alice shared an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that helped usher in Napa’s modern era with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines—including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the legendary Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard—and the vision that Napa Valley wines could achieve international recognition. Today, the Heitz family is steadfastly upholding the principles and unwavering commitment to quality that built a wine portfolio of enduring excellence, while thoughtfully modernizing and diversifying the business. With hands-on management of the winery and organically farmed vineyards, the Heitz family continues to offer quintessential wines, made with 100% Napa Valley fruit, that celebrate their agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley, a place they call home.
Heitz Family: Founders Joe and Alice Heitz had a vision that encompassed creating Napa Valley wines that stand with the upper echelon of wines from around the world, and then bringing those wines to the international stage. Their daughter, CEO Kathleen Heitz Myers, brought that vision to the forefront, creating and implementing an innovative and sustainable approach to business, built upon a myriad of relationships that span the globe. Winemaker David Heitz has brought his own expertise to the cellar, while staying true to a vision of classic, polished wines with restraint and elegance. Representing the family’s third generation, David’s son Harrison Heitz joined the team at Heitz Wine Cellars in 2012 with an appreciation of the family’s legacy and his sights on contributing to the future success of the business. While Joe Heitz passed away in 2000, Alice continues to lend support at the winery with her keen palate and quick wit.
About Martha’s Vineyard
"Where is Martha's Vineyard?" Here is the correct answer for wine aficionados.
Martha's Vineyard is 34 gently sloping acres on the western side of the Napa Valley just south of Oakville. This verdant niche near the Mayacamas foothills soaks up the morning sun and then cools down a bit earlier than the valley floor.
Fanning out across a graveled alluvial plain, the vines are fringed with towering Eucalyptus trees which are often credited with the distinctive minty aroma and taste of the wine.
This certified organic ranch is home to a proprietary Cabernet clone famed for producing small berries with an intensely purple hue and splendidly concentrated flavor. Joe Heitz crafted the first memorable Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from this exquisite fruit in 1966.
Tom and Martha May have owned this much-heralded vineyard since 1963. From the beginning, the couple decided to focus on the agricultural end of the business, but they believed that they had "special dirt" which just might merit its own wine. The connection they made with Joe and Alice Heitz was a fortuitous moment in Cabernet history.
When the Mays purchased the land and moved into their home, they were greeted with two bottles of Heitz wine that had been left as a welcome by the sellers. Impressed with the gift, the Mays decided to visit Heitz Wine Cellars. That marked the beginning of a friendship that quickly became one of the most important relationships in the winemaking industry. The Heitz family's exclusive arrangement to buy the May family's grapes began with their first harvest and continues today.
Second generation Richard May and Laura May Everett are a major force in the family business today. They approach the farming of Martha's Vineyard in the May family tradition — with great energy and ardor. Both are devoted to the preservation of the extraordinary land that is their heritage.
Now, what about that name?
Trying to come up with a catchy name for their farm in 1963 Tom asked, "What about Martha's Vineyard?" Martha modestly replied, "Oh, we can't do that." But, Tom loved the humor in it, so he persisted until Martha politely acquiesced.
Martha's Vineyard — Now, you know the "West" of the story.