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Our Team

Raj Patel Owner

Raj was born in India’s state of Gujarat and settled with his family in Northern California in 1972. He attended the University of California, Davis, where an internship at Robert Mondavi Winery inspired him to what would become a lifelong interest in fine wine.

PATEL Wines’ first release was 100 cases of a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate reviewed the wine, scoring it a 95, and The Wine Advocate has scored the subsequent vintages at 94 or above. A successful follow up was the introduction of a Right Bank Bordeaux-style red wine in 2008.

After years of research and cultivating relationships with growers, Raj was able to add limited-production wines to the brand, including a Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon, a Atlas Peak Malbec, and a Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc. Current total production is around 1,000 cases and sells out each year.

Julien Fayard Winemaker

With more than two decades of winemaking expertise, Julien Fayard is one of Napa Valley’s most respected winemakers producing California varietals with French finesse. He believes in producing wines with an identity, exploiting what makes each one unique. Julien’s wines are a pure expression of their terroir, highlighting the specificities and characteristics of the fruit, vineyard management, soil and climate. He has a track record of building brands both in terms of quality and market presence. 
Originally from France, Julien began his career as a winemaker producing quality rosé at his family’s winery in Provence. In Bordeaux he worked at Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Lafitte before relocating to Napa Valley. In Napa, he was Philippe Melka’s director of winemaking for a few years before launching his own projects. 
Julien earned his Master in Agri-Business from ESA France and his Master in Winemaking from Toulouse France. In 2011, he received his MBA from UC Davis.


Allison Wilkes Brand Manager

Allison grew up in Los Angeles, and quickly fell in love with “Wine Country” and all that it has to offer while attending UC Davis.  Jumping in feet first, Allison successfully opened Cornerstone Cellars’ first tasting room in Yountville, CA, as well as rebranded and grew consumer and wine club sales at Rutherford Ranch Winery in Rutherford, CA.  Allison lives in Napa, CA with her husband and two sons.