Dean Nucich

Growing up in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Dean was introduced to the world class quality of California wines while attending graduate school at the University of Southern California. Dean’s passion and natural curiosity for creating premium wine led him to the Napa Valley, where he took a sabbatical from his real estate development company, volunteering for Mike Smith during harvest in 2009. After spending three years working crush for Mike and countless hours of tasting and talking about wines with friend Jim Fox, Patiné Cellars was formed in 2011. As co-founder and proprietor of Patiné Cellars, Dean’s primary role is focused on financial operations of the company, and to this day still likes to get his hands dirty working harvest when time permits. Dean holds a BA from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) from the University of Southern California and an honorary PHD in cleaning tanks and wine making equipment.

To destress from the rigors of managing two businesses, you’ll most likely find Dean in one of two places; relaxing on a sandy beach, or hitting the ski slopes ending the day with a great glass of wine.

Mike and Leah Smith

Mike Smith’s purist approach to winemaking promotes the fruit to fully reveal itself in his wines while showcasing the personality and terroir of the vineyards to their fullest extent. Mike’s passion for fine wine led him to the Napa Valley in 2000 where he mentored under one of Napa’s most notable winemakers, Thomas Brown. Mike moved his family from Portland, Oregon to Saint Helena, California as he continued to learn his craft and pursue his dream full time. Working alongside many great winemakers of world-renowned labels, a great foundation was established for Mike and his wife Leah to pursue their own label, Myriad Cellars in 2005. Through his dedication, drive, and consistency for making some of the greatest wines in Napa and Sonoma, Mike has established himself as a premier winemaker garnering twenty-one 100-point scores. While he considers himself the “conduit” for the amazing fruit that becomes world class wine, it is Leah Smith that transfers all that energy into day-to-day operations, building an exclusive clientele, and consistently selling out their wines through their consumer direct mailing list allocation.

Being a wine maker and proprietor of world class wines rarely allows for a “break in the action.” When time permits, Mike, Leah, and their daughters, Taylor, and Ashley enjoy traveling in the great outdoors where you can find them on a ski slope or venturing out on a 5-mile hike. We cannot fail to mention that while Mike not only makes delicious tasting wines, he is seriously a badass in the kitchen and on the barbeque.

Elizabeth Dea

You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to deliver successful projects”, well this is true, and since Patiné Cellars inaugural launch in 2011, I’ve stayed behind the vines helping to drive our marketing and sales strategy.   I have spent the past 25 years in the corporate world, elevating the global customer buying experience and journey.   My success was often cultivated around a dinner table, through the simple craft of “breaking bread”.   This tradition often led to deeply passionate conversations about wine while tasting them of course!

Connecting with people and building long term relationships is fundamental to me.  I grew up  in the lovely state of Iowa, where Midwestern hospitality and genuine neighborly goodness  imprint for life.  I landed in Los Angeles shortly after college, but the roots seeded in me by growing up in a farming community have never left.   I feel at home helping to cultivate something from this beautiful earth.  At Patiné Cellars, I manage day-to-day sales, brand strategy, events and tasting room scheduling, and customer satisfaction.   I am happy when our clients are happy. 

My other loves in life are architecture and interior design, traveling (I’m always up for a good road trip), food, nature, and my dog Blue.   Please feel free to reach out to me at if I can help with anything.

Jim Fox

As a Los Angeles Kings’ player, everything was about wins and losses, and even though this intense competition was extremely rewarding, I realized after retiring from the NHL that wine offered me something that was very different, but just as fulfilling.  A games’ final score can be so “black and white,” and while wine is scored and rated, it is the many various intangible rewards that I have grown to love.  Wine is about the art, the process and the creation, as much as it is about the results.  It brings the day-to-day challenge of striving for the best but also offers the artistic element of working alongside Mother Nature.  Wine’s intrigue is so encompassing that I literally can’t wait for critically acclaimed winemaker Mike Smith to create something special and taste that next glass of Patiné Pinot Noir!

As co-founder of Patiné Cellars, I serve as the marketing brand ambassador actively participating in tasting events.