Our Team

Kevin Reid

Kevin Reid

Social Media Specialist

Kevin Reid, Social Media Specialist, celebrates and promotes all things Napa. This Napa native has developed and cultivated online communities for many local organizations – utilizing interpersonal skills gained through an education degree from Northern Arizona University. Always looking for the next happening event, he can be found at wineries, restaurants, theaters and fundraisers.

Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman

Contributing Writer

Robert Kaufman, based in San Rafael, is the Travel Editor for NVL, as well as an internationally published golf and travel writer/photographer. His work has taken him around the world, including 49 of 50 states (I’m coming Alaska!), in addition to landing him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Whether challenging golf courses from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, climbing Mt. Whitney or drinking Guinness in Ireland, he is always ready to embark on the next adventure life brings his way.

Indra Fortney

Contributing Writer

Bohemian from birth Indra grew up traveling the world vagabond style with her free spirited mom. Continuing on the road less traveled she bought a venetian era villa on the island of Corfu Greece and lived three years in the harsh yet pristine beautiful nordic country of Finland. Indra is an interior designer, photographer and owner of Boho Lifestyle a hip, California bohemian clothing store in downtown Napa. She authors the popular blog Inspire ‘Your Lifestyle’.

Jeni Olsen

Jeni Olsen

Contributing Writer

Jeni inspires and engages Napa teenagers by empowering them to make a difference in the world. Through Roots & Shoots Napa, a chapter of Jane Goodall’s global youth program, she unites teens from local middle and high schools to work on a variety of projects including mentoring elementary school students, initiating awareness campaigns and collections for local and global organizations, and traveling abroad to distribute shoes to children in impoverished communities with Soles4Souls, Inc. As a result, the teens become more connected to themselves, each other, and our global community.

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Contributing Writer

Dynie Sanderson is the Food and Flavor Editor for NVL and has been involved with Napa Valley Life Magazine for over 20 years as a contributor, journalist, advisor and cheerleader. Her editorial contributions are focused mainly on food, wine and travel and she is no stranger in this arena. Dynie has written for a variety of regional publications and was the founding Publisher/Editor of Napa Valley’s GuestWest Magazine which was one of Wine Country’s premier lifestyle publications successfully serving the valley for nearly ten years. Active Member of International Food, Wine and Travel Writers and Bay Area Travel Writers.

She is recognized for her columns, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dynie” and “Dining with Dynie”. In addition, she is a luxury home and vineyard specialist with RE/MAX and has frequently been referred to as “Napa’s Gourmet Realtor.”

Napa Valley Realtor and Dream Home Specialist by Day. Food enthusiast 24/7. A Thirst for Travel – INSATIABLE. Experiencing all life has to offer – PRICELESS!

Katherine Messmer

Katherine Messmer

Contributing Writer

Kate Messmer is a St. Helena native. The thing she loves/hates about living in the Valley is that you never know who you are going to run into at any given moment. She enjoys entertaining and is an admitted cheese snob. If the discussion turns to politics, you are likely to see her walk away.

Sara Chappellet

Sara Chappellet

Contributing Writer

Owner of Heaven and Earth Beauty Store and Salon in St. Helena, CA, Sara’s professional background bring great knowledge and experience in service and design including restaurants, fashion, interior design, business and the beauty industry.
On the personal level her passions are her 2 children, helping others, fashion, yoga, gardening and healthy lifestyle.
She grew up on a farm in Maryland and moved to the Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur in 1983 and relocated to the Napa Valley in 1998.

Tonya Hayes

Tonya Hayes

Media Relations Correspondent

Media Relations Correspondent
Hayes, with almost three decades of public relations, communications and banking experience, has worked at the highest level in publishing, public relations and communications services, and has deep domain experience in the real estate, technology, and as a publicist for clients in the wine industry.

She served as Managing Editor for Commercial Lender, a highly-rated banking magazine for the commercial real estate industry, has held executive level positions in real estate banking, and promoted start-up pre-IPO companies in the early years of the dot-com boom. Hayes also worked as a VP, Public Relations and Corporate Communications for publicly-traded Wink Communications, Inc., as well as VP, Public Relations and Executive Communications for Reply!com.

Colby Smith

Contributing Writer

Colby Smith founded the Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley in January of 2009 and in 2010 expanded it to include Sonoma County, which created the acronym CANVAS. Colby is passionate about the mission of CANVAS – to support outstanding quality of service by all Hospitality Professionals in Wine Country. The organization provides networking opportunities, education and training, a website with extensive hospitality resources, an annual Hospitality & Event Trade Show, and the CANVAS Excellence Awards. All programs empower CANVAS members to provide our visitors with memorable experiences leading to return visits and recommendations of Wine Country to others. In this way, the members of CANVAS take pride in their contribution to the economy of Wine Country. For over 20 years Colby worked as a business and communications consultant with an emphasis on Relationship Marketing.

Janna Waldinger

Janna Waldinger

Frequently found with a camera in hand, Janna Waldinger loves to “Make Art Of My Day”. Contributing to Napa Valley Life since 2001 through her photography, articles and insight, Janna co-owns Art & Clarity, a photography and video and photo adventure company. Janna also serves as a trustee on the Napa County Board of Education since 1997.

Jeri Gill

Jeri Gill

Contributing Writer

Jeri Gill is the CEO of Sustainable Napa County. When she’s not doing that she can be found reading, gardening, reading in her garden, and being rounded up by her two herding dogs. She is also frequently found on the patios of Napa’s restaurants sipping wine with her friends, and talking about how she prefers the cheese course for dessert.

Lowell Downey

Lowell Downey

Contributing Photographer

Lowell Downey contributing editor and photographer for NVL since 2001, is co-owner of Art & Clarity, a multi-media company and photography studio in Napa providing portraiture, architectural, aerial, corporate, and event photography/video coast to coast as well as internationally. He is an exhibiting artist whose work is in private collections as well as the Napa Valley Museum. Believing in community service, Lowell contributes his services to ICARE, Friends of the River and other nonprofits in Napa Valley.

Chris Blanchard

Chris Blanchard

Contributing Writer

Chris Blanchard, MS, has a busy itinerary representing Vine Hill Ranch in Oakville in addition to running the wine program at the legendary Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and just recently launching his own wine brand called Down By Law, based on his hit rap single in the 1980’s. He is one of just over 200 Master Sommeliers in the world after passing the difficult exam in 2008.
His restaurant experience includes many years as the Wine Director and Sommelier for REDD Restaurant, where San Francisco Magazine named Chris as the “Critic’s Choice Best Wine Director” naming him as one of the “4 Stars” in the entire San Francisco Bay Area food scene. Forbes Magazine named his wine list at REDD as one of the “Top Wine Lists in the World” and he has been featured in numerous Food & Wine Magazine articles.

With 25 years in the wine business, Chris has opened and created wine programs for numerous restaurants including Solage, Bardessono, La Taberna and REDD, and has also represented some of the Napa Valley’s most exclusive wineries. Chris currently resides in the Napa Valley where he eats and drinks at most of the hole in the wall and forgotten dives and joints in the County.