Sales and Marketing Director
Nurtured by childhood memories of her father Mark and uncle Vic tending their Sonoma County vineyards while she played nearby, Denise Trione dreamed of a future that included family and wine. She says, “I grew up around our vineyards and have great memories of company picnics and the wine aromas from the Geyser Peak’s cellars,” owned by her family from 1982-1998.
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, California, Denise attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on a soccer scholarship and earned her degree in Business Administration in 2000. While in college, she took an internship in the marketing department at Peak Wines International. “I continued to have a strong interest in the wine business, but when I graduated, our family had sold Geyser Peak Winery.”
Deciding work in the commercial banking field would be a strong foundation for future career opportunities, Denise took a position at Wells Fargo’s Regional Commercial Bank in Palo Alto, California; and she worked three years as a commercial loan officer for her family’s Luther Burbank Savings Company in Santa Rosa. “I knew that my banking career was a placeholder for a career in the wine industry,” Denise says. “In 2005, as soon as Dad, Uncle Vic and I began planning Trione Vineyards and Winery, I promptly gave my notice at the bank.”
To understand the inner workings of wine retail stores, wine bars and restaurants, Denise moved to Sacramento and found work in all three venues. “My experience was invaluable. I tasted wines from around the world, picked up the basics of retail and restaurant operations. Along with customer service, I learned the value of hospitality.”
For two years, Denise split her time between work in the wine shop in Sacramento and planning and construction meetings in Sonoma County. By the time she selected the furnishings and finishes for the new building, Denise and her husband, Kris Hicks, moved back to Sonoma County and full-time winery work. Denise hired and trained Trione’s hospitality team and developed the direct sales program. Today she holds the position of Director of Sales and Marketing. Her two dogs, Oscar and Lupe, accompany her to work.
“I love being part of a family business and feeling the pride that comes from guests enjoying themselves at the winery as they taste our wines,” Denise says. “And I am deeply proud of our family’s commitment to the Sonoma County community.”
Denise is vice president of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers, an association of 26 wineries and 130 grape growers, a leadership role she enjoys. “The organization keeps me connected to the Alexander Valley community.”
Denise, Kris and their three children, Georgia, Gus, and Greta—along with dogs Oscar and Lupe—make their home in Santa Rosa. Sonoma County’s locally grown foods provide seasonal ingredients for the family’s table, ideal complements to the balanced and flavorful Trione wines.