Phillip Titus, Winemaker
In California, less than 3% of the grapes come from vineyards above 1,000 feet in elevation. While these coveted sites are small in number due to the challenges that come with farming mountain vineyards, they are the source for many of America’s most famous wines. In 2020, Acumen cemented its commitment to building one of the New World’s great mountain wine estates when it appointed legendary Winemaker Phillip Titus to oversee its winemaking program. As the winemaker for Pritchard Hill’s iconic Chappellet Vineyard for the past 30 years, Phillip has earned renown as a master at crafting mountain wines. Today, building on the foundation established by winemakers Denis Malbec and Henrik Poulsen, Phillip is writing an exciting new chapter in the Acumen story, crafting wines that embody the grandeur and sophistication of Atlas Peak.
Raised in the Napa Valley, Phillip discovered his interest in viticulture when he began working alongside his father and brothers in his family’s St. Helena vineyard at the age of 12—an interest that was further kindled around the dinner table, where his father would often pour wines from Europe and California. After studying agronomy, viticulture, and enology at UC Davis, Phillip traveled to the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux to gain a deeper understanding of the history of wine. In 1990, after working at such wineries as Quail Ridge, Stratford, and Cartlidge & Brown, Phillip was invited by legendary vintner, Donn Chappellet to guide the winemaking program at Chappellet Vineyards. That same year, Phillip also became the winemaker for his family’s acclaimed Titus Vineyards.
In the three decades since, Phillip has earned renown as one of Napa Valley’s most gifted winemakers, garnering numerous 100-point scores, and the respect of his peers for his encyclopedic knowledge of winemaking. Though Phillip is equally adept at making wines from both mountain and valley floor sites, his 30 years (and counting) of experience on Pritchard Hill have provided him with an unparalleled understanding of the intricacies and opportunities of mountain winemaking.
In early 2020, after years of working with grapes from Acumen’s acclaimed Edcora and Attelas vineyards, Phillip was invited to join the Acumen team as winemaker, where he works closely with Assistant Winemaker José Rodriguez and Viticulturist John Derr. “As a winemaker, and a wine lover, my fascination with Atlas Peak has only grown over the years,” says Phillip. “Those of us who know the mountain vineyards of Napa Valley intimately, know what an extraordinary terroir it offers for growing Bordeaux-varietals. What Acumen has already achieved on Atlas Peak is remarkable. I am excited to work alongside José, John, and the Acumen team to establish new benchmarks for the wines of Atlas Peak.”
Jesus Gonzalez, Vineyard Manager
As the vineyard manager for Acumen, growing winegrapes is more than just a job for Jesus Gonzalez; it is his calling. “I live here on Atlas Peak with my family, and walk or ride my horses, Cabernet and Diablo, through the vineyards every day. I feel the energy from the vines. Plants are like people. To be healthy, they need happiness and balance in their lives. On a weak vine, you need to lighten its load and help it become strong. When you do this, it can produce great things.”
Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Jesus learned to drive a tractor at the age of ten and moved to the United States at 15. In the three decades since, Jesus has earned a reputation as one of Napa Valley’s most skilled and passionate vineyard managers, having helped to oversee the planting of hundreds of acres in Napa Valley, and the farming of thousands. “When I first started working in vineyards, I did it to survive, but today I do it because it is the thing I love.” Jesus guides his team, which includes the 2018 Napa Valley pruning champion, with the same sense of appreciation. “I try to be fair and honest, and every day, we all sit down and share lunch together surrounded by the vineyard. When you have a happy crew, you have a happy vineyard, and that is something you can taste in the wine.” As part of his commitment to his team, Jesus was thrilled to oversee the conversion of Acumen’s estate vineyards to organic farming. “When you farm organically, you see how much life there in the vineyards. I am proud to help guide this beautiful little piece of Napa Valley, and to help create grapes that become wines you can share with family and friends.”
Diana Schweiger, Sales and Marketing Director
As the daughter of vintners, the sister of a winemaker, and a wine country native, Diana Schweiger brings a rare and unique skillset to Acumen—expertise that has been honed over the course of more than 25 years in the wine industry. As the sales and marketing director for Acumen, Diana views her role as a homecoming of sorts. “I spent years working alongside my family to build something special from the ground up on the slopes of Spring Mountain,” says Diana. “What we are striving to achieve here on Atlas Peak is very similar. It’s driven by our remarkable estate vineyards, a love of farming, and a commitment to crafting some of the world’s finest mountain-grown wines. I take incredible pride in being able to introduce this region, and its beautifully complex Cabernet Sauvignons to wine enthusiasts.”
Diana grew up in a home where wine was embraced as part of the fabric of family life. This connection only deepened when her family planted their first grapes on Spring Mountain in 1981, establishing Schweiger Vineyards. After earning degrees in both public relations and marketing from California State University, Chico, Diana began her career at Heublein before moving on to Paterno Imports, where she was the West Coast regional manager, and later Southcorp Wines, where she served as Western regional manager. In 2003, after more than a decade of working for some of the most respected wine companies in America, Diana brought her talents to her family’s winery as vice president of sales.
“My time at Heublein, Paterno, and Southcorp was like earning a master’s degree in sales and marketing,” says Diana. “It was exciting to apply that experience to my family’s winery.” Over the next dozen years, Diana helped to establish Schweiger Vineyards’ reputation for making exceptional mountain wines, while building a dynamic and successful sales program. In search of new challenges, Diana joined the Prestige Beverage Group in 2016, before being named the national sales manager for Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery the following year. There, she was able to triple the number of markets the winery was in while launching new brands and earning access to some of the most coveted wine lists in America.
In 2019, Diana returned to her mountain winery roots, when she joined Acumen as sales and marketing director. Working with Founder Eric Yuan, Diana is dedicated to establishing Acumen as Napa Valley’s next great wine estate. To achieve this goal, she applies a relationship-driven approach to her role in guiding sales and marketing and overseeing the winery’s DTC and wine club programs. “As a small, family-owned winery, Acumen has such a clear and exciting vision, and the values to achieve it. From the amazing team we’ve brought together to our commitment to organic farming to our belief in crafting mountain wines that authentically reflect the beauty and complexity of our terroir, we are creating something that will endure for generations.”
In addition to her extensive industry experience, Diana has served as a wine competition judge, a spokesperson for Napa Valley Vintners, and is a current member of Women of the Vine. She lives in St. Helena with her two teenage children.