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DAOU Team

Georges J. Daou - Proprietor

With a head for business and a heart full of passion for life, Georges Daou oversees the marketing and branding of DAOU Vineyards, keeping his sharp eyes on the direction of the winery and the steady growth of the family’s beloved vineyards. As children, Georges and his brother day-dreamed of a bucolic American ideal, replete with roaming cattle, ripening grapes and a thriving family culture.

Now, he wakes up most days simply amazed to discover that he’s living that dream. A warm, philosophical and very social man, he is an avid golfer, cyclist, and polo player. This love of both people and the great outdoors feeds his irrepressible joie de vivre. Georges' attention to excellent terroir, great climate and the fine art of winemaking results in a unique experience not just for visitors to DAOU, but for wine connoisseurs around the world and, in fact, anyone who opens a bottle of DAOU wine. He looks forward to welcoming you to the top of DAOU Mountain, an inspiring place where life seems to stand still, and great times await. Visit the winery and taste it for yourself.

“Love is the most powerful emotion in Life and we hope to enhance it when you visit us at DAOU Mountain. In the end, our story and message is in the bottle" – Georges Daou

Daniel J. Daou - Winemaker & Proprietor

You could say that all of Daniel Daou’s aspirations for his ideal vineyard and winemaking experience have been reached.  The confluence of geography, climate, viticulture, and opportunity has allowed him to become the winemaker he always wanted to be. Winemaking is far more than just a job for Daniel. It’s a highly contagious passion, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon, that is reflected in his wines. Although his prime motivation is passion, his background as an engineer informs his every decision as a winemaker. Daniel goes to extraordinary lengths, such as employing methods only used in producing first-growth Bordeaux, to ensure that his wines are balanced with nonintrusive tannins to provide structure for the full bodied fruit while the wine matures, first in the barrel and later in the bottle. In the vineyard, he walks a fine line by letting the grapes struggle, yet never crossing over to the point where the vines would shut down.

Often, friends and fans of his wines describe Daniel as a man both charismatic and passionate, yet always ready to listen to others. He is seen as a committed member of the community whose drive and resources will take Paso Robles to a whole new level. For Daniel, putting his cherished family name on the bottle means everything. What’s inside the bottle must warrant that privilege, so every day he thinks about how to ensure the level of excellence he expects from his wines.

“It's rare to have all the elements needed to achieve perfect balance and ripeness in a terroir. We found all these elements on our mountain and work hard to capture that magic from vineyard to bottle” – Daniel J. Daou

Robin Daou - Proprietor

Robin is one of the Proprietors of DAOU, who was a key influence in the design, layout and overall functionality of our beautiful new Spanish inspired Tasting Room. Her background in Dietetics and Nutrition paired with her passion for wine brought a unique perspective to the winery. She is dedicated to conveying the DAOU story and shedding light on the unique winemaking techniques as well as helping each and every visitor to experience the passion in every bottle.

“It is amazing to see what I have dreamt about for many years becoming a reality. It is exceeding my expectations. We have an amazing team that makes it all happen and I am thankful for each of them. Every day I am learning something new about the winemaking process and this amazing industry and community that have welcomed us so warmly. I am so excited to be a part of it.” – Robin Daou

Melissa Hess

Melissa was born, raised and educated in New Orleans, and it was in that rich and storied culture that she developed an early appreciation for good food and great wines. Just as the Daou brothers did in France, Melissa grew up with a profound awareness of the importance of dining and living well. She has modeled both in New Orleans and New York City and has also worked as a flight attendant.  Within these careers Melissa was afforded opportunities to travel extensively and experience the cultures of the world through their people, food, and wine. 

When Melissa and Georges met, they continued to travel, explore, and experience the people and cultures of the globe. And yet it is in Paso Robles, with its sunny weather and attitude, wine-oriented culture, and outdoor lifestyle, that she now feels most at home.

“This is the place for me: the people are open and genuine, the wine is absolutely wonderful, and along with the bountiful produce of Central California in every farmer’s market, we also have an amazing array of fine dining options in Paso Robles. After all my traveling, I couldn’t imagine a finer place to settle down and call home.” – Melissa Hess

Karen Hunt - President

As President of DAOU, Karen has the task of opening up national and international distribution of the brand. Representing not just the winery and the story of DAOU, Hunt also serves as an ambassador of the Paso Robles AVA, bringing deserved attention to California's Central Coast, home to some of the state's most unique terroir.

Karen is a 20-year veteran in sales and marketing, most recently VP of Sales for the Francis Ford Coppola and Rubicon Estate. She was also VP of Sales at Charles Krug winery and handled consumer sales and marketing at Ben & Jerry's and M&M Mars.

A graduate of the College of Charleston, with a BS in Biology, Karen’s interest in wine began twenty years ago, when she was introduced to the fine wines such as Karl Lawrence, Pride and Saddleback. Unable to find these brands on the East Coast where she lived, she set a goal: to become an integral player in the wine industry so smaller, finely crafted wines would have nationwide representation of their brands.

“Karen brings a unique blend of talents and values to the DAOU Family Vineyards. Her experience, dedication to the industry as a whole and love for our wines makes her our number one candidate to lead us to becoming a global brand for demanding wine consumers. Daniel and I welcome her to our family with open arms.” – Georges Daou.

“After studying and collecting wines over the last twenty-four years, I thought I had tasted the best of the best; however, I realized I was wrong when I finally tasted the DAOU wines. Daniel Daou is an incredibly talented winemaker who has blown me away with his Paso Robles wines. It is such fun to do blind tastings around the country (with some of the best wine palates in the industry), and consistently see them amazed when they taste DAOU wines. I’m extremely proud to be on this team!“ – Karen Hunt

Stephen Klein - Vice President, East

Stephen is a 30 year veteran of the wine industry and most recently was VP Sales - Northeast for Huneeus Vintners. He has also held senior positions with Charles Krug, Kendall-Jackson., and was US Director of Sales for Les Vins Skalli .

Stephen holds a BA in Political Science from The University of Delaware. He has lived in the Northeast his entire career including NYC, Boston, Connecticut and has now come full circle back to his roots in Philadelphia.

His interest in wine was nurtured in his very first industry position representing the wines of Baron Philippe de Rothchild. It is with great enthusiasm and energy that he brings to DAOU managing distributors and key account relationships.

Sara Johnson - Tasting Room Manager

Sara oversees the daily operations to ensure each and every visitor receives an unforgettable experience. She also develops programs to establish a well-educated staff so that the DAOU story, Viticulture practices and wine making philosophy can be shared.

Born and raised in the rocky mountains of Colorado, Sara moved to Paso in 2002 and fell in love with the area. She immediately knew this would be her new home. After studying business administration and management she jumped into the hospitality industry head first. She gained an extensive background in customer service and team management working in a Food and Beverage environment for several years. In 2012 Sara joined the DAOU team as a Tasting Room Associate and quickly worked her way up toward the management branch of the company’s family tree. Her knack for outstanding leadership, passion for our wines and her contagious positive attitude is the perfect match for the DAOU tasting room experience.

I love the small town feel of Paso Robles and all of its amazing attributes. I developed a love for the wine industry when I moved here and feel very honored to work at such a beautiful place with incredible people, wines and atmosphere. I hope everyone who comes up to DAOU Mountain receives an unforgettable experience.” - Sara Johnson

Giancarlo Perez - Resident Chef

More to come