LARKSPUR, Calif. — March 18, 2021 — Kryss Speegle, lead of corporate wine and spirits sales with O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, has become one of ten new inductees into the Institute of Masters of Wine. This distinguished honor has been given to only 493 Masters of Wine (MW) globally, and Speegle joins the ranks of those recognized for outstanding knowledge in all aspects of wine.
With a storied wine industry career and years of experience to her name, the road to becoming a Master of Wine was a way for Speegle to challenge herself with one of the most rigorous achievements in the industry. It also aligned with her desire to be a part of the bigger wine business picture.
“I love the world of wine,” said Speegle. “This accomplishment was a chance for me to build relationships across the globe in the wine industry, cement a deeper knowledge in the business and the tasting of wine, and make an expert contribution to the O’Neill organization, which has encouraged this journey.”
Speegle’s extensive background in the wine industry supported her along the challenging course to earning her MW title. Speegle has spent a decade working with O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, starting as winemaker from 2011-2014, then promoted to Director of Winemaking from 2014-2017, overseeing production of 20MM+ gallons of wine, leading a team of young winemakers, and consistently producing the highest quality of wines for O’Neill brands. After a move to the San Francisco Bay Area, she shifted into her current O’Neill sales and education position, where she supplies California wines and spirits globally, identifying new business ventures as well as collaborating with national and exclusive brands.
Prior to her time with O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, Speegle received her MS from UC Davis in 2002 and went on to become an Enologist and Lab Manager at Ravenswood Winery from 2003-2006. To add to her deep knowledge of the wine industry, Speegle was Assistant Winemaker for Kenwood Vineyards from 2006-2011 and Winemaker for Lake Sonoma Winery from 2009-2011. In conjunction with her current role, Speegle is an instructor at the Napa Valley Wine Academy teaching WSET curriculum along with developing and teaching custom courses.
The Institute of Masters of Wine issued its first exam in 1953, and since then, 493 people have earned the title of Master of Wine, only 149 are women. With worldwide recognition for its high standards and arduous testing, the MW exam consists of three integral components including: theory and tasting exams, followed by a research paper. Speegle’s research paper was titled, “What factors impacted the presence of American wines on US wine lists during the period 1900-1950?”
About O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers was founded in 2004 by industry veteran and entrepreneur Jeff O’Neill. The vertically integrated winery is one of the fastest-growing wineries in California with a reputation for producing high-quality wines from the North Coast, Central Coast, and Central Valley. Through its extensive vineyards and modern production facilities, O’Neill provides premium winemaking services to the industry as well as its growing portfolio of national brands. The company’s national brands portfolio includes Line 39, Robert Hall, Harken, Exitus, Day Owl Rosé, Austerity, Rabble and Charles Woodson’s Intercept. For more information, please visit www.ONeillWine.com.