About Us


Triumph Wine Group is a company that provides individuals with an opportunity to participate in the idyllic Napa Valley lifestyle, while supplying consumers with a portfolio of wines at unparalleled value.

TWG was formed by a group of executives with decades of experience forming and operating successful businesses. These individuals joined together to develop a unique business model, which takes advantage of the best aspects of the modern California wine industry and avoids the heavy capital constraints that burden the traditional winery model.

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The following is Triumph’s management team:

Chairman

W. T. (Chip) Hough

Chip will spearhead Triumph's distribution strategy and develop key markets, especially Texas, capitalizing on his long and successful business history in the state. He was the founder (1997) and Managing Partner of Basic Industries Ltd. through 2014. Basic Industries is an industrial specialty contractor providing insulation, blasting and coatings, scaffolding, fireproofing and abatement to the refinery/petrochemical, power generation, marine and mid-stream industries. Basic Industries is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas with offices in Corpus Christi, Ft. Worth, and Tulsa, serving Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Basic Industries was grown to over $50 million in revenue annually with an average work force of over 600. Basic was sold to BRACE Integrated Services, a national contractor, in 2014.

Chip has served on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi. He is Past Chairman and Board member of the Contractor Safety Council of South Texas, Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils.

Chip and his wife (plus four dogs) relocated to the Napa Valley in 2015 to pursue their interest in the wine industry. They have three grown children and one perfect grandson that reside in Texas.
Chief Executive Officer

Robert Francis

Rob has over 30 years’ experience as a chief operating officer, board member and other senior executive positions within the insurance and health care industry, including his most recent position as Chief Operating Officer of The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical professional liability carrier, from 2004 to 2017. Rob’s responsibilities have included patient safety and risk management, sales and marketing, regulatory compliance, reinsurance strategy and acquisitions.



Rob began his career with Mutual Assurance, Inc. (subsequently ProAssurance Corporation) in 1984, where he held a variety of positions over a 20 year period. During his tenure with ProAssurance as Chief Underwriting Officer and Secretary, Rob managed the demutualization and initial public offering of one of the country’s most successful physician owned medical malpractice companies – the first such conversion. 



Rob was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Health Care Insurance Facility in Eden Prairie, Minnesota from 1997 to 2003. He has held board positions with Specialty Underwriter’s Reinsurance Facility, LifeSouth, Inc. and multiple subsidiaries of both ProAssurance and The Doctors Company. 



Rob is owner of Francis Vineyards, in the Coombsville AVA of Napa. He has been a grower since 2008 and recently launched Southern Roots Wines which will be releasing its Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon in the fall of 2017. 

Rob is a graduate of the University of South Alabama, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He earned his Masters of Business Administration from Samford University and has attended Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, as well as the Harvard Business School.
Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Fitzgerald

Kevin will oversee the company’s capital program. In addition, he will be responsible for coordinating the marketing of Triumph's wines in the People’s Republic of China, the world’s fastest growing wine market.

He has 35 years of experience managing investment partnerships. Over the past 10 years, he has overseen the acquisition of over $3 billion of commercial properties in the U.S. Since 1999, he has managed investment partnerships that have acquired 18,000 apartment units (75 properties in 15 states) as well as over 3 million square feet of office, retail, and self-storage properties.

He is CEO of Global Capital Advisors LLC, a private equity real estate firm that is licensed to sponsor investments that qualify under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Kevin has traveled extensively in China and maintains business relationships with companies there that offer his programs to Chinese nationals.

Kevin resides in the Napa Valley with his wife and two children. He holds leadership positions with the Boy Scouts of America and is a past director of The Olympic Club Foundation. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Managing Director

Guillermo Herrera

Guillermo will spearhead the company’s wine grape acquisition program and grower relations. For the past 20 years he has been involved in vineyard farm management and consulting.

Guillermo formed his own vineyard management company, Heritage Vineyard Management, eight years ago. He currently manages premium vineyard properties for 30 clients representing over 800 acres in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

In addition, he owns and operates Herencia Wine Company, a limited production high quality wine brand. Also, Mechanical Farm, LLC for mechanical harvesting and Terra Lucra, LLC, a vineyard leasing enterprise.

Guillermo is currently Vice President of the Mexican-American Vintners Association. He has taken college curriculum studies in viticulture at the Napa Valley College and University of California, Davis.

He is a life-long resident of the Napa Valley. Guillermo is married and has three children, one of whom is active in his business.
Managing Director

Jerry Kuenster

Jerry owns and operates J & S Global Trading, the sales arm of Grant & Bowman Inc., the world's largest seller of name brand toy excess inventory. He started his business career with CSK Automotive and worked in every facet of retail from 1972 - 1990, completing his career as SVP Special Projects. CSK Automotive at the time was 795 retail stores operating under the names Checker, Schucks & Kragen Auto Parts - they have since been bought by O'Reilly Automotive.

In 1990 Mr. Kuenster entered into the children's toy industry, where he owns and operates a multi-million dollar brokerage company. From 1990 - 2002 he was employed as SVP of Sales for a division of Hasbro, prior to entering the excess inventory business as president of sales, and now head of global sales for Grant & Bowman.

Jerry holds a B.S. / B.A. degrees from San Diego State University, and an MBA from University of Phoenix.
Managing Director

Richard Meigs

Over the last twenty years, Richard has developed 200 acres of Napa and Mendocino vineyards. He has sold grapes to Caymus Winery, Buena Vista (BV), Sterling, Kendall-Jackson, Mumm, Domaine Chandon, Constellation and many other fine wineries. 

Before becoming a grape grower, Richard was a co-managing partner of Cambial Vineyards LLC, a vineyard fund engaged in profiting from vineyard investment opportunities.  

Richard and his family moved to the Napa Valley after he and his partners sold ComputerWare, a $125 million Macintosh-only retailer that was at one time Inc. Magazine’s 5th fastest growing private company in its annual Inc. 500. He served as CFO and VP of Business Development.  

Earlier in his career, Richard developed a legendary eating/drinking establishment called deFriscos in Eugene, Oregon. It was featured in the Northwest Best Places, and was one of the first Oregon venues to feature and pour local Oregon wines.  

Richard is one of a handful of individuals who have earned degrees in each of the Viticulture, Enology, and Wine Marketing programs offered by Napa Valley College. He farmed the two college vineyards during this period. Additionally, he has received a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate from the University of Washington and did extensive graduate work in Real Estate at the University of Oregon; serving as a teaching assistant in the Real Estate Department.  

Richard also has been a licensed Real Estate Appraiser in the State of California. He served as a member of the board of the North Coast Winegrowers Association, and of the Eugene Downtown Development Board.  

Richard has won four medals for his personal wines at the Napa County Fair - two first places, and two second places.
National Sales Manager

Kathleen Pfaff

Kathleen has overall management responsibility for wine sales. She will oversee the company's distributor relationships, as well as developing key national accounts and strategic marketing relationships.

Kathleen has over 17 years experience in high-end retail and design. Her clients include several iconic Napa Valley brands, including: Charles Krug, Jackson Family Wines (Kendall-Jackson), Cardinale, V12 Vineyards, and Reynolds Family Winery. She designed several wine bars in the Napa Valley for clients, including John Anthony Wine Bar, Dick Vermeil Wine Bar, and Partake.

She has completed numerous other corporate and residential proejcts in northern and southern California, as well as Chicago. Her designs have been featured in "Kitchens in the Vineyards", Traditional Home Showhouses in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and in Traditional Home magazine and Napa Valley Life magazine.

Kathleen has been a resident of Napa Valley for 20 years and is active in the community.
President – Triumph Wine Group, Asia Pacific

Steven Lawson

Steve will manage the company’s in-Asia distribution from offices in Shanghai. He is also CEO of Windham Realty Group, China and has been instrumental in creating the leading company in China for information, consulting and services related to U.S. real estate for Chinese nationals. He has lived in China for most of the past ten years. Steve has business experience in all the major China markets and is topically fluent in Mandarin.

Now considered an expert on the subject of Chinese outbound investment in real estate, he has been quoted on the subject by major international news outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Economist. Steve has a strong interest in wine and is well qualified to lead the introduction of Triumph wines to the Asia Pacific market.

He received his B.A. from Michigan State University.
General Counsel

Michael Rupprecht

Michael provides legal oversight to the company regarding regulatory compliance, business contracts, property and tax law. He has practiced law in California for over 30 years and is the founding principal of the Rupprecht Law Firm. He also has experience in general litigation and asset protection. Michael earned his law degree and MBA in Taxation from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California and earned his B.S. from Michigan State University. He is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, the United States Northern District of California, the Ninth District Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Michael and his family have lived in the Napa Valley for more than 10 years. He and his wife are devoted parents of their two children currently attending high school.
Winemaker

Barry Gnekow

During more than 35 years of winemaking and 16 years at Triumph, Barry Gnekow has worked with a broad range of California wineries and has been a pioneer in technologies such as flashing, alcohol removal, and ultra‐filtration. A longtime winemaker for J. Lohr in San Jose, CA, he developed the first widely sold de-alcoholized wine, Ariel.

Since 1999, Barry has run a San Francisco‐based winemaking consulting company working with wineries such as Michael David (7 Deadly Zins – 700,000 annual case production), Jamieson Ranch, Guenoc, and others. He has won numerous awards over the years and was hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best consulting winemakers in the industry.

Barry graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Food Science.
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