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Our founders have a combined 60 years of experience working with fine wine,
including all roles related to management, sourcing, sales, and client development.

We are long-time wine collectors who have also enjoyed careers in
investment, finance, and technology.

As a Wine Buyer and Senior Wine Advisor, Paul works directly with all of Courtier’s suppliers and clients across all areas of the business.

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Paul Jones
Founder

As a founder of Courtier, Ryan’s role as a Wine Advisor supports both the sourcing and sales teams, allowing him to work with all of company’s suppliers and clients across many areas of the business.

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Ryan Douvlos
Wine Advisor

Michael leads the Courtier sourcing and sales teams as a Wine Buyer and Senior Wine Advisor, working directly with all of the company’s suppliers, clients and partners.

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Michael Glasby
Founder

As a Senior Wine Advisor and Sommelier, Taylor works with Courtier’s clients on event planning, rare wine dinners and tours to Burgundy, including private tastings at top domaines.”

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Taylor Smith
Senior Wine Advisor

As Chief Financial Officer and Wine Advisor, Mark’s role at Courtier is to manage the company’s finances and share his love and knowledge of wine with clients.

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Mark Royer
Founder

Andy’s brings a wealth of experience to assisting clients on their cellar plans and collecting goals as a Senior Wine Advisor and Bordeaux expert.

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Andy Frieden
Senior Wine Advisor

Chris has nearly 20 years of experience working as an investor, an officer, and an attorney with a variety of companies.

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Christopher A. Patz
Advisor

Loring’s decades of experience in building successful businesses and public organizations from the ground-up is rooted in his deep passion for art, architecture, design and community.

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Loring Sagan
Advisor

Tom has been an enthusiastic collector and consumer of fine wines for 30 years and has enjoyed many trips to his favorite wine regions.

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Thomas R. Brown
Advisor

Matt developed an interest in wine early in his career, and is an avid collector – he enjoys learning more about old wines while sharing treasures from his cellar with fellow enthusiasts.

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Matt Kelso
Advisor

Margherita’s refined taste and appreciation for design and quality are on display in her cuisine, personl style and ability to inspire others.

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Margherita Sagan
Advisor
Ryan Douvlos

While earning a BS in Finance from Penn State University, Ryan’s focus on alternative asset markets led to a study of fine wine as an investment, which led him to pursue learning opportunities through wine cellar planning and collection management.

Along with fellow graduates and other young entrepreneurs, Ryan formed a creative design company to develop web sites and produce business applications for e-commerce, online marketplaces, and supply-chain management.

An enthusiast with a developing cellar, he has a particular interest in Bordeaux wines sampling many great vintages while discovering new favorites to add to his collection. Through visits to the Napa Valley, he’s met vintners and winemakers while participating in tasting groups and attending rare wine dinners.

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Michael Glasby

Michael once said it took him just three years to become an expert in wine, ten more to realize he wasn’t, and then another decade or more to discover the more he knows, the more he knows he doesn’t.

He received his BSc in Economics from the University College London. Enrolling in wine classes In 1987, he made the rounds at auctions, tastings and events and joined the Wine & Spirits Education Trust program, completing their Diploma in 1992. In 1989 he took a job at the pioneering British retail chain, Oddbins, which culminated in opening their first Fine Wine Store.

Moving to California in 1994, to explore production, Michael made wine at Justin Vineyards and at Joseph Swan Vineyards in 1994 and 1995. Fortified with that education he returned to retail in 1996. He was in the first class to graduate the UC Davis Winemaking Certificate program in 2006.

While Michael would say he is no expert, chances are he knows more than most.

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Paul Costigan

At the age of twenty-one, while spending a summer working in New Haven, Paul was introduced to wine through a chef and her husband who frequently entertained friends and family around their dining room table with food and wine conversation.

A move to Chicago brought an opportunity to assist a friend with his wine import business and Paul’s revelation with fine wine. First, through experiencing a 1961 Lascombes, and again with a revelatory bottle of 1845 Cossart Gordon Bual Solera Madeira.

They moved the company to Sonoma and founded The Rare Wine Company in 1992. Over many years, Paul helped establish the company’s reputation in the fine wine market, developing a global network of customers and suppliers. Throughout critical growth periods, he managed all aspects of sales, marketing, and operations.

As the founding General Manager of Coi restaurant in San Francisco, Paul continued to explore his love for food and wine.

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Paul Jones

Paul was twenty-one and on a trip to the Napa Valley when he had his first taste of fine wine. Graduating from the University of Virginia later that year, he worked the harvest at a local winery and began his education on grape growing and winemaking.

Curious about the wines of the world, he moved to San Francisco to study in the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma program while pursuing an interest in cooking. Exploring fine dining restaurants and participating in various groups, his palate developed through extensive tasting and learning.

A career in sales began with a strong knowledge of fine wines and a well developed network of enthusiasts and professionals. As a sales associate, he developed a specialized knowledge of Burgundy and Italian wines, and began to build an impressive collection of his own while advising clients on their cellar plans and inventory management.

Paul continued to expand his capabilities while working one-on-one with discerning collectors around the world – sourcing and exporting from the European markets, directly from producers and negociants . As a buyer, he secured allocations of the most sought-after current releases, as well as acquiring significant collections of old and rare wines with impeccable provenance.

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Mark Royer

Mark made his career in finance, discovered fine wine and has now married the two. While he’s a numbers guy, his first sip of a 1970 Palmer sparked a life-long passion for wine, with a collection that is now growing towards 2,000 bottles of Barolo, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and German Riesling.

With over twenty-five years experience in the financial industry, starting with Salomon Brothers in the late 1980s, Mark moved from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. There he spent ten years managing private equity funds for Venture Law Group and Cooley Godward. Most recently he worked at First Republic Bank, where he financed Sonoma-based wineries.

While pursuing his interest in wine, he achieved a number of certifications including the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), and the French Wine Scholar Program Bourgogne Master-Level.

Mark is an active cyclist and enjoys riding through the world’s vineyards and organizing wine events from San Francisco and the Napa Valley to France and Italy. Wine has opened Mark up to all kinds of new adventures, perhaps too many to count.

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Matt Kelso

After earning a BA and MA from Stanford University, Matt embarked on a career in high technology.

Throughout his nineteen years in the software industry, Matt’s professional experience in FinTech, Software as a Service (SaaS) and analytics is highlighted by the several products he built from scratch for Wall Street clients. His experience is vast, having managed large teams, to building innovative startups, to implementing software “in-the-trenches”.

In addition to all of this, he earned an MBA from University of California at Berkeley in 2009 while working full-time managing his software analytics team.

Matt developed an interest in wine early in his career, and participated in many tasting groups, learning more about the wines of the world. He has traveled to France, Italy and Germany in pursuit of fine dining and epicurean experiences.

As an avid wine collector with several hundred bottles of his favorite Bordeaux and Burgundy with Napa Valley and Rhone Valley producers represented, he enjoys learning more about old wines while sharing treasures from his cellar with fellow enthusiasts.

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Christopher A. Patz

Chris has nearly 20 years of experience working as an investor, an officer, and an attorney with a variety of companies.

He actively participates – often as a director or committee chair – in many social and philanthropic organizations.

Chris is a member of the San Francisco Wine & Food Society, and he and his wife enjoy traveling and fine dining throughout the United States and Europe. During these travels, they routinely seek out new and interesting wines and, over many years, they have particularly enjoyed collecting Burgundies, Bordeaux, and the wines of Spain.

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Thomas R. Brown

Recently retired from a career in transportation and logistics that spanned four decades, and the creation and successful operation of two start-ups, Tom has been an enthusiastic collector and consumer of fine wines for 30 years and has enjoyed many trips to his favorite wine regions, most principally nowadays in Italy.

He has a cellar rich in Burgundy, Barolo and Bordeaux and enjoys fine dining and entertaining at his home in Marin County. Tom has been a friend and client of Courtier’s founders for almost twenty years.

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Loring Sagan

Loring’s decades of experience in building successful businesses and public organizations from the ground-up is rooted in his deep passion for art, architecture, design and community.

As a practicing ceramic artist, his fundamental perspective brings creative process to entrepreneurial ventures and urban infill transformation in significant redevelopment projects in San Francisco.

As Co-Founder of BuildInc, Loring’s responsibility revolves around the company’s strategic design and investment direction.

Loring is active in many local organizations: Co-Founder of The Lake Forest School (Tahoe City, CA); Board Member of The Green Trust (Dogpatch neighborhood, San Francisco); Advisory Board Member of La Picola Scuola (Italian Elementary School); Public Bikes; and Build Public, a non profit organization contributing to the transformation of public urban realms.

Loring has been involved in the design and development of his wife Margherita’s restaurant, Piccino, in San Francisco. He spends part of the year in Lucca, Italy, his wife’s hometown in Tuscany, where they own a home. While in Lucca, he spends time with family and friends, taking in as many opportunities as possible to enjoy the food and wine of the region.

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Margherita Sagan

Margherita was born and educated in Italy where she worked in Milan for the FIAT Group, until moving to the United States to pursue an MBA.

Her professional experience in the U.S. has included working as a Product Manager for large companies, most notably Hasbro, where she was responsible for new product launch in most of Western Europe.

Her desire to combine two loves – business and food – led her to start a restaurant in 2006. This venture quickly became one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants and has held that designation consistently for several years. It is a highly appreciated and respected venue by the community-at-large.

Margherita brings to the table a creative yet rigorous approach to business. She has a refined taste and appreciation for design and quality, along with a keen awareness of contemporary issues and challenges that inform her business choices and directions.

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Amy Thurston

Amy believes the common thread in all of her careers has been a focus on old-fashioned customer service – a formula of efficiency and thoughtfulness, where the right questions are asked and the answers considered in such a way as to obtain a uniquely personal end result.

In San Francisco, she held the positions of Maitre D at Bacar Restaurant and Concierge at the W Hotel.  In Dubai, Emirates Airlines used her services to interview potential stewardesses using their very strict guidelines.

In South Africa, she was the Amukeri for Singita Private Game Reserve where she managed the itineraries and day-to-day requests of guests traveling internationally.  Returning to the states, she became the Operations Assistant Manager of Meadowood Napa Valley, working closely on all projects related to guest satisfaction.

After transitioning to a career in design, Amy started her own styling and interiors company in Kansas City where she currently lives with her family.  

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Kate Francies

Throughout her career working at luxury companies, Kate has focused on cultivating and nourishing personal relationships.

In Manhattan at the center of the fashion world, she spent many years at Louis Vuitton and Burberry in merchandising and sales. While gaining experience in product buying and marketing, she provided luxury service to clients – before, during and after the sale.

Exploring an interest in personal fitness, Kate moved to Charleston, South Carolina to teach Pilates and other exercise styles. As the founder of an event company and a frequent instructor, she provides personalized services to clients in pursuit of their fitness goals.

Kate has traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe, where she’s enjoyed food and wine experiences on many trips to vineyards and fine dining.

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Daphne Feng

It all began on a high school study abroad trip in France where, making good use of the liberal drinking age, Daphne discovered the glorious wines of the Loire. In college, she developed a taste for fortified wines and could often be found toasting her Bud Light drinking compatriots with a glass of Fino Sherry or LBV Port.

After a stint at both Crushpad and Dogpatch Wineworks, where she learned the delicate art of simultaneously piloting a forklift whilst wielding a video camera and two tons of grapes, she completed the International Sommelier Guild Diploma and the WSET Diploma. Not long after, her retail debut unfolded at Noe Valley Wine Merchants in San Francisco where she built upon an already strong foundation of customer service. Currently, she is a student at the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine and a budding collector with a few hundred bottles.

Previously, in what seems like another life, Daphne studied Economics at the University of Chicago and helped bring down the global economy as an investment grade corporate bond research analyst for financial institutions at HSBC. Outside of Courtier, when she isn’t fully immersed in MW studies, she is pushing the limits of her triathlete endurance or stick-handling across an ice hockey rink.

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Michael Havens

Michael Havens became a wine lover while living in Europe in 1969. Following an academic career which included teaching at UCLA and UC Davis, he has been involved in the wine business in the Napa Valley since 1983, starting as a harvest intern and later founding his eponymous brand Havens Winery, which he ran for twenty-four years.

After selling that business in 2006, Michael has consulted for large and small wine companies, in both enological and business matters. He has served as a reader for the Institute of Masters of Wine exam. He also continues to make wine as co-owner of the Abrente brand, focused on the Galician varieties Albarino and Godello (both of which he was the first new world producer). In 2011, he purchased a wine export business and is agent for over eighty west coast wineries, shipping to twenty-five countries. In 2014, unable to keep his hands out of red wine grapes, he began a small new Napa Valley brand, Cave Dog.

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Andy Frieden

Andy’s passion for wine began while working at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. A trip to Tuscany to visit his family’s olive oil estate then sparked an interest that led him to the Napa Valley and a new career in wine.

Having worked for various merchants and distributors over the years, he’s had the pleasure to travel throughout France, Germany and Spain, visiting wine regions and tasting extensively.

As a fine wine specialist, Andy has attended the Bordeaux en primeur tastings for many important vintage releases, where he’s developed friendships with some of the region’s most celebrated vintners and winemakers.

With his years of experience and knowledge of fine wines, Andy offers a generous approach to educating and assisting clients with their cellar plans and collecting goals. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, tennis and practicing his culinary skills.

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Taylor Smith

While still at the university, Taylor supplemented his academic studies by working at several top restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. His developing interest and thirst for knowledge was met with a taste of a legendary fine wine, Domaine de la Romanee Conti La Tache 1966, and from there he was hooked.

After graduation, he moved to the Rhone Valley in France and began seeking out connections with local producers while learning the language and the wines of the region. Following a year abroad, he returned to California to accept a position at the famed Ridge Vineyards in their Monte Bello Estate hospitality program, which offered an opportunity to further hone his skills as a sommelier.

Now having earned one-, two- and three-Michelin stars with distinctive Wine Spectator Grand Award winning restaurant wine lists, Taylor now works to maintain one of the most recognized Burgundy fine wine programs in the nation at RN74 in San Francisco.

When he isn’t entertaining guests and clients over dinner, he’s likely to be exploring the back roads of France in search of undiscovered producers and up-and-coming winemakers, visiting domaines and friends in Burgundy and seeking out the next thrilling wine experience.

 

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