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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 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

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 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."


Becca Stem Director of Operations

Becca was born in Baltimore and spent her time split between Pikesville and the mountains of New Jersey.  Before joining Black Ankle's management team, Becca spent two years studying elementary education at Carroll Community College.  She is a self-taught guitarist and wishes she had her own farm with a lot of chickens, and maybe a cow. 

Where would you be if you were not at Black Ankle? 
“I would be playing in my garden, sitting on my deck playing guitar or hanging with my hubs trekking all over the place!”


Christina Calloway Director of Tasting Room

Christina is a Louisiana native and 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 five year old daughter Delilah, small pup and kitties.  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 sprucing up my garden or hanging on my porch with my daughter and fur babies.”


Zoe McIlmail Events Manager

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!


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 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 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 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 Account Manager 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.


Carolyn Nolan, Account Manager

Carolyn joined the BAV team in May 2016 as a Tasting Room Associate and now serves as an Assistant Manager and Wine Club Account Manager. Carolyn has one daughter and two completely adorable grandchildren with whom she enjoys “becoming a child again.” An educator by profession, she loves to learn and teach.

“I really enjoy talking with customers about food and wine pairings and hearing about their wine adventures. I feel like I get to travel throughout the country and world by way of our guests as they share stories of their winery visits. We always have the love of good WINE in common!”

Dennis Smith, Account Manager

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.”