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Our People

Ed Boyce & Sarah O'Herron Proprietors

Black Ankle Vineyards is the culmination of a long-time dream of founders Ed Boyce and Sarah O'Herron (that's us). We believe that the central Maryland Piedmont, sitting at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, has the right mix of rolling hills, rocky, low-fertility soils, regular breezes, sunshine and rain to be the home of some truly delicious wines -- wines that express the land in which they are grown, enhance the food they accompany, and most important of all are a joy to drink.

 

Evencio

Evencio Torres Martinez Vineyard Manager

Evencio started with Black Ankle in 2003, coming from a long career of farming in California and Oregon.  While in California he worked primarily at a private vineyard and ranch in Sonoma and then at Chateau St. Jean.  He has been an integral part of Black Ankle's production and expansion.  Originally from El Penon Mexico, Evencio migrated to the United States in 1979.  He lives in Black Ankle's historic farmhouse with his wife Gregoria and two children.  He and his wife also own Lily's Mexican Market in Westminster Maryland.

 

The Vineyard Crew

Our Vineyard Crew

Evencio Torres Martinez, Juan Torres Carrasco, Luis Alberto Osorno Perez, Fabian Torres Carrasco,Jose Javier Osorno Salazar, Luis Alberto Osorno Salazar, Cesar Horacio Gomez Cabrera Lucio David Portillo Luna, Miguel Angel Bonilla Garcia, Miguel Angel Olvera Diaz, Mario Ramirez Escamilla, Heraclio Tellez Carrasco, Francisco Fabian Arriaga Gonzalez, Calletano Hernandez Calderon

 

Melissa Schulte

Melissa Schulte General Manager

Before joining Black Ankle in 2009, Melissa's career spanned from supporting entrepreneurs in their pursuits for funding to legislative research for a U. S. senator.  She has a B. A. and an M.A. in Political Science from the California State University system, and an M.B.A. from Mount Saint Mary's.  Melissa has had the opportunity to help Black Ankle grow from its' beginnings to what it is today, and is looking forward to being part of what it becomes in the future.  Mel (as most people call her) lives in Taylorsville with her husband and two children, lots of goats, ponies, and chickens.

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
“I would be outside with my family.  My husband says I'm solar powered."

 

Christina Calloway

Christina Calloway Director of Marketing

Christina is a Louisiana native who moved to Maryland in 2008.  She comes from a long career of hospitality and management with specific expertise in the natural foods industry, visual merchandising, customer service and staff development.  Christina lives in Catonsville with her six year old daughter, Delilah, 16 year old pup and three kitties (one of which was found on the BAV farm).  She and Delilah love to explore outside and spend the majority of their time surrounded by their family and nature.

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
“You would find me and Delilah playing barefoot in the grass or hanging on our porch with our fur babies.”

 

Zoe McIlmail

Zoe McIlmail Director of Events

Zoe was born and raised in Urbana and graduated from Saint Mary's College of Maryland with a degree in psychology and a minor in education.  Before joining Black Ankle as our Events Manager, Zoe worked as a Special Education Paraeducator in Montgomery County, coached a developmental swim group for swimmers age 8 and under, and was the head coach for a summer swim team of over 200 swimmers for many years.  Zoe likes doing needle work and hanging out with her dog Bixley.

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
“I would be either on the pool deck or on top of a mountain (but always in the shade!), or playing Catchphrase with my family!

 

Amanda Kupiec Tasting Room Floor Manager

Amanda was born and raised in Elkridge, MD. She grew up assisting her families bakery, Kupcakes and Co., which sparked her decision to attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. With her love of wine, she decided to further her education by receiving a Bachelors in Advanced Wine, Beverage and Hospitality Management at CIA. Amanda lived in Napa and Sonoma for three years experiencing their wine culture, spending time in cellars, kitchens and tasting rooms. Amanda has explored many different facets of the hospitality industry from being an Executive Pastry Chef in Napa, CA to just recently coming to us after managing Luxury Hotels in New York City. She loves drinking Syrah and baking whenever she has a chance. 

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
"I would be camping with my Fiancé Erin, snowboarding or hiking with my two Siberian Huskies, Emma and Dakota."

 

Karen Cool

Karen Cool Education and Communication Manager 

Karen joined the Black Ankle Vineyards team in 2011, turning her passion for wine into a second career.  She is WSET level 2 certified and is a Certified Specialist of Wine.  Although Karen moved to Arizona, she still works for Black Ankle behind the scenes answering emails, managing wine club accounts, and writing tasting notes for upcoming Black Ankle releases.  Karen will always spend some time working in the tasting room when she visits.  She enjoys traveling, reading, and trying wines from all over the world. 

 

Kelly Choy

Kelly Choy Wholesale Accounts Manager 

Kelly has been part of the wine industry since 2013.  Before pursuing her passions of vino and skincare, Kelly worked for Marriott International and AOL, specializing in account management.  She lives in Eldersburg (her hometown) with her husband and two extremely energetic toddlers who love to eat almost as much as she does.  Kelly went to Salisbury University and lived in San Francisco for three years.  She loves seeing regulars in the tasting room, introducing new customers to her "happy place" and being part of the Black Ankle family.

 

Cheri Grubby

Cheri Grubby Accounting Manager

Before becoming involved in the wine industry, Cheri worked for 20 plus years on the accounting and support side of the commercial H.V.A.C. business.  She discovered Black Ankle after hearing a rumor of a new tasting room offering excellent wines!  Cheri has worked for Black Ankle for over 8 years, starting out in the tasting room where her passion for wine, and Black Ankle grew.  Now you will find Cheri both behind the tasting bar and in the back office managing our accounting operations.  Cheri is also on the wine club account management team.  In addition to Black Ankle, Cheri loves the outdoors and her hobbies include hiking, camping, horseback riding, kayaking, gardening, wine (of course), and a love for art of all kinds.  

 

Niki

Niki Koehler Training and Hospitality Manager

Niki holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Towson University, and has worked in the wine industry since 2007.  As a Black Ankle Wine Club Account Manager, Niki loves seeing members in the tasting room, sharing the Black Ankle experience with new guests, and being part of the Black Ankle family.  She adores long walks with her husband and two dogs, spending time with her four adult children and two grandsons, and playing in her gardens.

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
“You will find me curled up with a cup of tea, a good book and my pooches at my feet."

 

Jennifer MacFarlane

Jennifer MacFarlane Wine Club Contact and Event Coordinator

Jen has been with BAV since 2016. She has a degree in Management and has previously worked for a steamship line and as a high school teacher. She has 2 daughters who keep her very busy running here and there with all their activities. In her spare time, Jen volunteers with the Girl Scouts, enjoys wine tasting with her husband, cooks, bakes, reads and spends time in the sun.

 

Stephanie Oliveira Wine Club Contact

Originally from Massachusetts, Stephanie has been living in Maryland for just shy of 6 years. When not at the vineyard, Stephanie can be found baking – it’s a mini passion of hers! She loves blending crazy flavors together and decorating elaborate and funky cakes and cupcakes. Stephanie and her husband have a 3-year-old red-tricolor mini Australian Shepard named Stella who constantly keeps them on their toes. They also just welcomed their first son in September of 2020! He’s a bright blue-eyed baby with a whole lot of personality.

 

Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith Wine Club Contact

Dennis has 4 loves in his life, his wife of 22 years Cindy, his two Brittany Spaniels, Chase and Seeley,        travel, and wine.

“It’s been a blast working, if you want to call it work, at BAV for the past 12 years! I enjoy talking about anything wine and travel related. When I’m not working at BAV you can find me at a wine country somewhere throughout the US or 4 wheeling the beaches in the Outer Banks.”

 

Nyki Kertiss Wine Club Contact

"I started with Black Ankle Vineyards in 2012 & have continued to grow my knowledge & appreciation of the wine industry since. I am a native Marylander, although I grew up with roots from the Brittany region of France, which probably explains my love of being near the water...and wine, of course!"

 

Rick and Audrey Gilchrist Wine Club Contacts

Rick and Aubrey have been a part of the Black Ankle family for over 12 years . They first came to Black Ankle in 2008 after hearing that a local vineyard had won the Governor’s Cup for their 2006 Crumbling Rock. They joined the wine club when first introduced in 2009.  Rick also is an Assistant Manager who provides training on giving wine tours. You can find Rick and Aubrey in the Tasting Room most weekends and or making home deliveries.

Rick says “my happiest time at Black Ankle is giving tours of the vineyard and helping people understand the complexities of making exceptional wine in Maryland”. 

 

Al Ingalls Wine Club Contact

Al has been a long-time wine club member and first came to Black Ankle in 2009.  He and his wife attended our 2018 Rhône Valley cruise when he jokingly told Ed + Sarah he was considering working part time in the Tasting Room...Well, he's been a part of the Black Ankle Crew for 2+ years now! Fun fact: Al is also a trumpet player and loves to perform music when he’s able to.  Maybe he will perform at Black Ankle someday! Also, his daughter Emily also works in the tasting room!

Al says, "I love how great the BAV employees are to work with, being outside at the vineyard and tasting room is fun, and our customers/members are the BEST!"

 

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