Our Team

  • Denise
    Owner & Winemaker

    Being a Morgan Hill native, Denise is a blessed wife to Sam, and mother of three sons, and a grandson. Having purchased their property in 2014, Denise and Sam remodeled the original cottage on the property while building their new Mediterranean inspired main house. 

    With a desire to share this beautiful space with her loved ones, Denise and Sam started their wine adventure by planting their first grapes in 2016. Having always been a lover of good wine, and sharing in the wine experience with family and friends, Denise decided to take her first steps down the road of making her own wines. Being the hands on business woman that she is, and with a love for travel and nature, Denise works hand-in-hand with her vintners to create not only exceptional wines, but rather an experience of the senses! 
  • Sam
    Owner & Winemaker

    Also being a Morgan Hill native, Sam enjoys his family and friends and a love for good wines. He also has an affinity for classic cinema and it was this passion which is reflected in the naming of the different Cottage Creek varietals. References such as “The Duke” and “Red River” will strike gold with wine and classic movie aficionados alike. Another craft of his that has inspired Sam to go into the winemaking businesses is his love for  vintage automobiles, which he learned from his father Jack. Partnering with industry mentors, and his love for classic American flair, Sam is applying this same passion to creating beautiful American red blends just waiting to be shared with family, chosen family, and new chosen family members yet to be adopted.
  • Chris Graves
    Winemaker

    Born and raised in the vine-covered Sierra Foothills of California, Chris Graves developed a passion early on for winemaking. Chris set forth his career after graduation from the UCD V&E program, first as an enologist, then as assistant winemaker at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA. Soon after, Chris became the winemaker for Wente’s “Cal-Ital” brand, Tamás Estates Winery. In this position Chris took charge of the wines and began blending and designing new wine styles. He worked closely with every step of the winemaking, sales and marketing processes, helping build a successful brand.

    In 2007 Chris left Wente Vineyards to start his own boutique brand, Ruby Hill Winery. Under his leadership as head Winemaker the company saw double-digit growth within 5 years, and grew an extremely successful wine club. This spurred Chris and his partners to open a second brand, and in 2013 Rubino Estates Winery launched, focused on Cal-Ital style wines.

    At this point Chris and his now budding family decided it was time for a change of lifestyle after 10 years in the Livermore Valley, and in 2014 they moved to Jacksonville, in Southern Oregon. In the Rogue Valley wine region, Chris worked as a consultant, before joining Naumes Crush and Fermentation in 2015.  Since 2015, Chris has spearheaded Naumes Crush, making many award-winning wines for clients, including Naumes Family Vineyards, Pebblestone, JAXON, Augustino, Hummingbird, Fences, Rellik, Trium, and many more.  

    Chris is also a member of the Oregon Wine Board Research Committee and an instructor for the Southern Oregon Wine Institute (Umpqua Community College SOWI), and Southern Oregon University for the wine certificate program.  Chris also continues to consult for brands and wineries throughout the west coast.