' Meet The Team - Helwig Winery

Meet The Team


Seth Norris, Director of DTC Sales

Seth was born and raised in California; he grew up in Lodi and currently resides in beautiful Amador County. Lucky for him he's been in wine country his entire life! Seth came to Helwig in 2013 and has worked in every department since he's been here. He started out in events, then worked his way into the Tasting Room, had a stint in production, moved into the Tasting Room & Wine Club Manager position and is now our Director of Direct to Consumer Sales. This has made him very well rounded in all aspects of Helwig operations. When he's not in the Tasting Room, you can find him on the golf course, either out of bounds or in the sand trap.

For any questions concerning direct to consumer sales, please contact Seth at seth@helwigwinery.com.

Kathleen Mahan, Director of Events and Culinary Services

Professional, creative, fun and outgoing are just some of the words that describe Kathleen. Born in Atlanta and primarily raised in California, Kathleen enjoyed life growing up in beautiful Northern California. Upon graduating from Oak Ridge High School, she moved to Southern California where she graduated from the Design Institute of San Diego with her BA in Interior Design and Fine Arts.

During college and for the next several years, Kathleen ran her own   high-end residential interior design firm in San Diego. She was a Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). In 2006, she decided to broaden her focus after helping several design clients with their own private events and weddings, and entered the events world. Much like interior design, her skill at working with clients, running jobs, allocating tasks and meeting both deadlines and budgets, fit seamlessly into her new career. Kathleen has been Events Manager at Helwig Winery since they opened.

For any questions about Events or Weddings, please contact Kathleen at kathleen@helwigwinery.com.

Kathleen is Past President of the Sacramento Chapter of National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).

Cheryl Speed, Accounting & Musical Events

Before coming to Helwig Winery, Cheryl spent 25 years as a business owner offering bookkeeping, payroll preparation, software instruction and office organizational services. Cheryl's client relationships and friendships developed throughout the Shenandoah Valley, Amador County, as well as Sacramento County, made it possible for her to assist in the accounting structure that is needed here at Helwig Winery and other entities.

Orchestrating the musical side of events at the winery has provided Cheryl with some new and exciting challenges that promise to be an asset to our community for enjoyment and relaxation. Helwig Winery has given her a change of pace and an opportunity to be a part of an exciting winery that has so much to offer for everyone.

On a personal side, farming and providing quality wine grapes to the community have also been educational processes that have provided her with awareness that is needed in the vine-to-wine experience. The opportunities of working with a variety of vineyard owners and mentors have provided Cheryl and her family many lifetime and priceless experiences that have made them who they are today. Cheryl can be contacted at cheryl@helwigwinery.com.

Cory Holbrook, National Sales Manager

Cory's experience in the wine industry goes all the way back to the 1990's where he was the proprietor of a winery in Santa Ynez. He sold that winery to a large corporation and moved on to his own smaller more manageable label where he specialized in Santa Barbara Rhone varietals. His heart strings later pulled him into owning a couple of restaurants where he was able to pair his love for great food and great wine, earning the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Later, after a couple of years of winery consulting, Cory happily settled into the Sierra Foothills to work for Helwig Winery in 2013.
If you have any questions about outside sales, Cory can be reached at cory@helwigwinery.com.

Gail Shaw, Wine Club Manager

Gail joined the team in September 2014. After living in the UK and travelling the world for 10 years, Gail came back to her roots in Northern California. She enjoys wines from all over the world, but especially Amador County wines. In addition to managing the office, Gail plays a vital role in working with the wine club and its members. She can be found in the Tasting Room on wine club release weekends or sometimes on weekdays as a back-up Tasting Room Host. When Gail is not at the winery, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Barney, and working on the family ranch.

If you give us a call, you are likely to talk to Gail.  You can also reach her by email at gail@helwigwinery.com for any wine club or general questions.

Sam Buttner, Tasting Room Manager

Sam moved to Amador County from the Santa Cruz area in 1999. He began his working career in the coffee industry, moving to the craft beer industry after turning 21. His passion for the perfect beverage led him to join the Helwig Wine Club in 2015. After showing up on a regular basis, we at Helwig Winery decided to bring him on board in 2017. His palate already having developed from years of coffee, tea, beer, and wine made him a natural fit in the Tasting Room. On his time off, you can find Sam at local breweries, hiking trails, or at the beach in his hometown; always with his furry friend, Ava, at his side.

If you have any questions about reservations or tasting experiences, Sam can be reached at sam@helwigwinery.com.


Lewis Willis, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Lewis has been with us since the very first day we opened and has been an integral part of the team since! He and his wife Jerrilynn have lived locally since 2011. Lewis cultivated his love of wine while working as the Beverage Department Manager at World Market in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was born and raised. Every once in a while his roots will kick in and you’ll hear that Bayou babble emerge.

He can be reached at lewis@helwigwinery.com.

Jack Carroll, Private Tasting Manager

Originally from New York, Jack has been in wine in California for the past 15 years. As our resident wine aficionado since 2013, Jack has spent extensive time studying wine both domestically as well as abroad. He is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to wine history, origins, flavor profiles and anything else wine related you can think of. When he is not doing the wine thing, you will find Jack traversing Northern California, fishing pole in hand, hunting for that next monster trout. Jack hosts all of our Private Tastings and Food & Wine Pairings.

If you are interested in hanging with Jack and talking wine, he can be reached at jack@helwigwinery.com.


Terri Swanson, Licensing & Government Compliance Manager and Olive Oil Production Manager

Terri Swanson (Nancy Helwig's sister) has worked for Nancy and Dave Helwig for many years assisting with their alpaca ranch business. As Helwig Vineyards & Winery began to grow and the three-acre olive orchard that was planted matured, Terri came on-board the Helwig Team to assist the vineyard manager with the olives and to manage the production of olive oil products. If you have ever wondered if the "Handmade by Helwig Winery" on all the olive oil products is for real, you can bet on it! All the oil from our orchard is hand bottled and the products are made by Terri. If you happen to tour our facility, you may find her in the Olive Oil Room bottling the oil or making soaps, lotions, lips balms, and concocting new olive oil products.

Prior to coming to work with the Helwig's on the alpaca ranch, Terri was an Assistant Vice President of a subsidiary investment company of Chemical Bank of New York (now JP Morgan Chase Bank). One of her many responsibilities was to oversee State Licensing as well as compliance with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was a natural fit for Terri to assume the responsibility of Licensing & Government Compliance at Helwig Winery.

Terri spends her free time golfing, camping, and sipping Helwig wine on the porch of her "retirement" cottage in Plymouth with her husband Gary, dogs, cats, chickens, and sheep.


Taylor Rodriguez, Head Chef

Taylor started working in kitchens at 19 years old, and it was in San Francisco where he fell in love with working with food in a professional setting. Starting out as a dishwasher, he moved his way up through the ranks and has worked every station a commercial kitchen has to offer. Taylor moved to Amador County in 2018 and worked at the casino before joining the team at Helwig Winery. He is inspired by the vast array of fresh ingredients California has to offer and loves putting his own touch on the Helwig Kitchen.