BIO: TILTED SHED CIDERWORKS, WINDSOR
Excellence in the Craft Beer, Cider, or Spirits Industries
Ellen Cavalli and her husband Scott Heath’s journey to founding Tilted Shed was a circuitous one. Ellen was the Editorial Director for the East Bay-based Avalon Travel Guides and Scott was a master print maker.
While living in Richmond, their burgeoning interest in natural building practices, gardening and fermentation led to a desire to grow more food and flowers along with bringing back lost skills. But they needed more space, so they began looking for land in Sebastopol. The prohibitive real estate market resulted in them setting their sights out of state.
In 2005 they moved to New Mexico and began farming on two acres of old orchards in the Embudo Valley. It was here where they began “fermenting everything” and even growing their own wheat. It was also here that they got serious about cider making. “It was so surprising to us—to see the powers of fermentation and how it transformed the apples from something mundane to something so amazing. It captured our imagination, and we became obsessed,” says Ellen.
In 2010, the couple, now parents were ready to return to California to be closer to family. This time around their search for a home and property in Sebastopol would be fruitful. They found a house and land that was in a state of disrepair that they would eventually completely renovate. They also started planting apples and would have their first harvest in 2011.
Today, they grow more than 120 varieties of cider apples; source organic apples from Sonoma County family farms; and make ciders that have earned international acclaim for Sonoma County terroir. They keep their production small, and the entire process is completed on site. “We are absolutely dedicated to our local Sonoma County apple farms,” explains Ellen, “we support and pay the highest amount for quality, organic apples as we want orchards to stay intact and be viable.”
Ellen is a longtime member of Farm Trails and is also their Membership and Marketing Manager. Ellen also participates in various ag advocacy groups including Sonoma County Food System Alliance. She lives on a 5.4-acre Sebastopol farm with her husband Scott, their son, dog, cats, chickens, sheep, and too many apple trees to count.
Image: Tilted Shed Team: Dana Glei (cider club coordinator), Scott Heath (cider maker), Ellen Cavalli (orcharding, communications), David Ridenhour (tasting room manager/harvest helper) and Dana Glei (cider club coordinator).
BIO: COSTEAUX FRENCH BAKERY INC., HEALDSBURG
WILLIAM SEPPI, President/CEO
Excellence in Local Food Production
William Seppi is President and CEO of Costeaux French Bakery. Seppi is the second generation to step into the baking business following his father and mother, Karl and Nancy, who purchased the bakery in 1981. (The bakery traces its roots back to 1923.)
Since returning to the family business 18 years ago, he has grown the company, expanding its capabilities and distribution footprint. Prior to joining Costeaux, Seppi worked in managerial finance capacities for Celerity Group, and its parent company, Kinetics Holdings Corporation. He began his career as a certified public accountant and auditor with Ernst & Young LLP. He earned a BS in Accountancy from Villanova University.
Today, Seppi leads Costeaux based on the company’s core values – family, community, quality, and service. The Costeaux operation includes the Costeaux Baking Centre and multiple Costeaux retail bakery café locations and ancillary brands. Costeaux is a regional provider of baked goods primarily serving the greater North Bay. The company has been consistently recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in the North Bay and Best Bakery in Sonoma County. Costeaux has won numerous accolades for its breads and bakery goods including Sweepstakes and Best of Show in annual competitions as well as winning Best Retail Bakery of the Year.
Seppi is actively involved in the community. He has served on boards including Naturally North Bay (affiliate of the Natural Network), Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce, Healdsburg Sunrise Rotarian, St. John’s Parish among other organizations.
Will and his wife Brandy live in Healdsburg and have three young children (ages 9, 10 and 11). He is an avid cook who enjoys time in the kitchen and entertaining guests from near and far. Will also holds the title of inaugural dance champion in the Healdsburg Dancing with the Stars program that supported local performing arts and is an Eagle Scout. In his free time, he travels with the family, takes in the outdoors, and enjoys time on the golf course.
BIO: CHRISTINE COGGINS MARGETTS, CLOVERDALE
Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture
Sonoma County native Christine Coggins Margetts has been providing her business expertise to many well-known county agriculture-related non-profits, including Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Sonoma County Farm Trails, and Russian River Valley Winegrowers. She has frequently offered such invaluable bookkeeping services that clients have referred to her as “my right hand” and “my valium” clearly demonstrating Christine’s commitment to excellence and her level-headed problem-solving abilities.
Christine was born and raised in Santa Rosa. She has a deep connection in agriculture and began raising and showing animals at local fairs in 1973. As a member of 4-H and FFA, she showed goats, hogs, sheep, and rabbits at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds—it was in this capacity that she discovered her interest in accounting. Figuring out how much it cost to raise and show an animal and then sell it—intrigued her from a financial standpoint. She even began her accounting career working for the Sonoma County Fair and Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
Christine moved on to working for American AgCredit and several local wineries. For over twenty years Christine was accountant, general manager and forever friend to Saralee and Richard Kunde until their passing. Now Christine provides bookkeeping for several local non-profit, Sonoma-County based agricultural entities.
“I’m very thankful and touched to be recognized for this award—I feel very honored,” says the accomplished bookkeeper who clearly has a deep commitment to helping her community with her invaluable skills.
BIO: JOE IMWALLE, SANTA ROSA
Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture
At 82 years old, Joe Imwalle continues to work seven days a week and 10 hours a day at his venerable family produce farm and store, Imwalle Gardens on West Third Street in Santa Rosa. Remarkably the beloved business has been around since the 1880’s when Joe’s grandfather began delivering vegetables via horse and buggy throughout Santa Rosa.
When Joe took over the small farm and produce stand, he was just 23 years old. Over the years, the town has literally grown up around them. “There used to be only three houses on the street, now there are shopping centers and churches everywhere,” says Joe who still does all the buying for the business.
Some of the buildings were originally built over 100 years ago including a redwood hay barn that is now used as a warehouse. A couple of greenhouses are more recent additions, and while Joe used to spend much of his time growing various crops including squash, tomatoes, kale, leeks, cabbages, corn and cucumbers he now leaves those tasks to his staff and family members. “Some of our employees have been with us for over 25 years,” say Joe proudly and credits his son Charles for doing much of the day-to-day work at the store.
Joe and his family continue to farm on their 17 acres, but in addition to what they grow and sell, they also purchase produce from other purveyors to insure good prices for their customers. Joe continues to be the buyer for the business which now essentially includes a store, a summer garden, a nursery, and the wholesale business. “Mostly I enjoy my customers—many have been coming here for over 50 years,” says the longtime Santa Rosa resident who clearly loves his work and shows littles sign of retiring any time soon.
Joe is honored to be recognized for this award and has fond memories of serving on the board of directors during the early inception of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. He even recalls several flower and vegetable competitions in the early days of the fair.
BIO: JAKE MARTINI, SEBASTOPOL
Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness
“This is my 12th harvest and my dad’s 45th,” explains Jake Martini enthusiastically who describes his workdays at Taft Street Winery as “mostly operational” and “requiring wearing many hats”. With a shift to higher touch/smaller wine production, Martini is excited by the direction the 44-year-old Russian River winery is going and grateful to be at the helm alongside his father.
Martini who grew up in Santa Rosa was recruited out of high school by UC Davis to play soccer. The Sonoma County native initially had no intention of joining the family wine business, and had his eyes set on medical school. But after graduating from UC Davis with a Biology degree, Martini changed course and went on to earn an MBA from USF. Ironically, it was the summers he spent assisting with bottling at the family winery that encouraged him to set his sights on medical school and then finance, only to return full circle to work in the family business.
Initially Martini joined Taft Street in a marketing and branding capacity. He worked on developing the winery’s story and eventually moved into operations. Today he is learning more about what happens in the vineyard and in the bottle. “There are so many cool people in this industry who are doing amazing things—and I get to meet and work with so many of them—it’s incredible to be part of this community,” says Martini.
Along with his full-time winery work, he has also served on numerous industry boards including the Sonoma County Harvest Fair from 2015 to 2022 and currently serves as President for the Russian River Valley Winegrowers. Martini is a North Bay Biz 40 under 40 award recipient.
Martini also volunteers with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue unit. He spends his free time outdoors enjoying everything Sonoma County has to offer with his wife, Elizabeth, and son Zachary.
BIO: ALEX KANZLER, SEBASTOPOL
Outstanding Young Farmer
“I’m surprised, humbled and extremely honored to receive this award, especially when looking at the list of previous recipients,” expressed Kanzler.
Growing up among the vineyards of Western Sonoma County and working summers on vineyard crews, it’s not so surprising that Alex Kanzler became a winemaker.
After graduating from Sebastopol’s Analy High School, he went off to University of Colorado Boulder where he studied history and sociology with the intention of teaching school. But after working a harvest at Landmark Vineyards he discovered his true passion—winemaking—and specifically making Pinot Noir wines.
After Landmark, Alex set off to New Zealand to work the 2009 southern hemisphere harvest in Central Otago with Pinot Noir specialist Carrick Wines. He would also go on to work in the Willamette Valley in Oregon to work for the Pinot Noir producer Domaine Serene.
For the next two years Alex studied viticulture and enology at Santa Rosa Junior College, completed an internship at Kosta Browne Winery and Jemrose Vineyards. In 2011 he began working as a cellar assistant and was promoted to assistant winemaker at Vinify Wine Services where he worked with winemaker Russel Bevan. Later that year, Alex’s parents were thrilled when he assumed the reins as winemaker for Kanzler Family Vineyards.
Alex would also continue to work outside the family business for another couple of years—continually learning from accomplished winemakers in the community. In 2014 he began working exclusively for the family winery.
“My parents liked to joke they were “accidental” farmers, but they set a great example and it’s always been my intention to farm as responsibly as possible and to create the finest product for our customers,” explains Kanzler.
Today, Alex and his wife Breauna spend much of their time on the estate vineyard in the Sebastopol Hills where he grew up—Alex supervising farming, and Breauna overseeing the overnight Farm Stay experience, vineyard walks, and private tastings.
BIO: JAKE DUNN, PETALUMA
Outstanding Leader in Agricultural Education
Jake Dunn expressed his gratitude for this singular recognition, “Thank you for this award—it is an unexpected honor, and I am humbled to be recognized by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.”
Jake has been an agriculture teacher at Petaluma High School since 2012 —the very same school he graduated from in 1994. He went on to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo majoring in Agricultural Systems Management earning his bachelor’s degree in 1999. A teaching credential followed three years later, and he earned a master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences in 2006.
Jake began his teaching career at Orestimba High School in Newman and would also teach at J.H. Pitman High School in Turlock. During his time in the Central Valley, he met and married his wife Crystal and together they have three children, Trevor, Wyatt, and Addison. In 2012, Jake was humbled when he was offered his current position allowing him to return to Sonoma County and follow in the footsteps of his mentor Bill King.
Coming from a non-agricultural background, Jake understands the need for more people to be knowledgeable and informed about the industry and uses his platform in the classroom to create if not better agriculturists, at least better consumers who understand the plight of the American farmer and rancher.
Jake has been active in the leadership of the California Agriculture Teachers’ Association serving as the state president in 2012, chairing the Vision 2030 campaign which sought to realign the delivery and relevance of agricultural education for the next generation. He has continued to serve the organization holding various leadership positions in the local section for the CATA. Jake is also a member of the California FFA Foundation Board and the Alvin James Hansen Foundation Board, both groups providing funding for the betterment of agricultural education at the state and local level.
During his tenure at Petaluma High School Jake has been able to hone in on the agricultural mechanics area, developing curriculum and assessments used statewide to certify student knowledge and competency in the areas of agricultural mechanics, welding and small engines through AgAlign, an industry based certification created in 2019. The students in his program are challenged with real world tasks using problem-based learning skills to design, fabricate and market projects through various channels including the Sonoma County Fair. Under his guidance, the Petaluma FFA has won the Outstanding FFA Ag Mechanics Group ten of the past twelve years. Jake has worked diligently to ensure that the Agricultural Mechanics Auction has had ample and quality projects to hit the auction block and highlight the efforts of those students who are not inclined to raise livestock. Many Petaluma FFA members have moved on to be successful in all aspects of life from creating their own businesses, leading successful lives as tradespeople and of course, farmers and ranchers.