The People

The PeopleThe HistoryThe Vines
“We want to thank previous owners Steve and Jo Marie Hansen for their contribution to our community as an exemplary employer and in the meticulous maintenance of an iconic and treasured estate. The Basel Cellars Estate is an exceptional destination location for weddings, events and family getaways and our team looks forward to continuing that tradition and expanding on the possibilities.”

Dan Thiessen, Chad Mackay,
Scott Clark, Philip Christofides, Paul Mackay


The new leadership team has decades of experience in development, food and beverage concepts and operations, hotel, and resort operations, design, and construction, as well as farming and ranching.

Dan Thiessen - Managing partner of Walla Walla Steak Company and Crossbuck Brewing.

Chad Mackay - CEO, Fire & Vine Hospitality

Scott Clark - Principal, Clark Property Development

Philip Christofides - Partner and architect for Walla Walla Steak Company and Crossbuck Brewing.

Paul Mackay - Partner for Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing and founder of El Gaucho Hospitality.

"When I drive through the front gates here at Basel I feel honored and proud to be a part of this team. It’s awesome that Steve and Jo Marie are giving us the opportunity to express our abilities and talents every day!"

Dirk Brink


"I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and was always surrounded by vineyards and wineries from a young age. I was always very intrigued by the winemaking process. I think my dad’s love for farming and agriculture and my moms patience and attention to detail stuck with me. I studied viticulture and enology in South Africa, and during this time worked at the world renowned Vergelegen and Delheim wine estates. I did my first winemaking Internship at Ingwe Wine Estate in South Africa, and came to the states in 2004 and started internships with Chateau St. Michelle, Bookwalter and then moved on to Assistant Winemaker at Kestrel Vintners and then Winemaker at Coeur d’ Alene Cellars before I came to Basel Cellars."

"I met my beautiful wife Esther in 2005 working at Chateau St. Michelle and got married in 2012. We have one daughter named Anna Marie Lente, a true miracle and blessing from God. We also have an energetic Rhodesian Ridgeback called Cayenne that keeps us on our toes. We enjoy the outdoors, cooking, creating and living life to the fullest every day, and love the God that gave it to us!"
"I truly believe that Basel Cellars offers world-class wine accompanied by unprecedented customer service. I love working at Basel Cellars because of the fun and friendly customers I get to meet and the fantastic team of people I get to work with that bring our vision to life every day!"


Walla Walla Tasting Room Manager/
Wine Club Manager
"I was born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington and attended Washington State University, where I graduated with a degree in Social Sciences.

Growing up in the heart of Washington wine country, I learned to appreciate the magic of good food and wine at a young age. I was fortunate to work at Basel Cellars as a Tasting Room Associate during college, but then left to finish my degree in Pullman. When I returned to Walla Walla and decided to pursue a career in the wine industry, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to return to Basel Cellars as the Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager. I truly believe that we have the very best team of people, from the vineyard and winery, to the Tasting Room and Estate House; there is absolutely no place I would rather work! My husband and I have a beautiful and energetic five year-old daughter. She keeps us laughing and busy every single day. When I’m not working at Basel Cellars you can find me relaxing with family and friends, sharing laughs and good wine.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for wine with you!"
"If you have a favorite restaurant or wine shop where you would like to purchase Basel Cellars wines, send me an email and we will do our best to make that happen."

Leo Kirk

Director of Sales
"I am a native of the Napa Valley where I grew up a sports fanatic. I learned fractions and percentages at an early age by studying batting averages on baseball cards. I soon learned that it was a good thing I didn’t need Algebra to figure out batting averages.I attended U.C. Berkeley where I earned a degree in English Literature, graduating 'Magna Cum Barely.'  While I hoped to become a famous 'man of letters' and write a great American novel, I have become infamous for crafting humorous family Christmas letters.

Growing up in Napa I was practically bottle fed Cab, so after a career as a sports marketing executive, I have worked in the Washington wine industry for fifteen years. Our winemaker, Dirk, and I have collaborated in the past, and I feel very fortunate to market and sell the wines he creates. Steve and JoMarie Hansen, Ryan, Dirk and the entire staff at Basel have built a fantastic culture and I feel blessed to be part of the team.

I met the love of my life, Linda, in 1979 in Spokane and we have been creating our own love story for thirty seven years, although I am certain I haven’t aged like a fine wine."

Brent Herring

Sales and Events Director
As an Eastern Washington native, Brent Herring is well-versed in sharing the beauty and range of activities enjoyed in this part of the region. As Sales and Events Director for Walla Walla Steak Co., Eritage Resort, and Basel Cellars, Brent is dedicated to helping others celebrate in this beautiful place. Brent has a unique role representing both Walla Walla properties and brings his high level of service and attention for details and ability to create strong relationships.

Herring was born and raised in Pasco, WA and has been part of the hospitality industry for 30 years. He began his career in the Tri Cities hotel industry working in a variety of roles including sales, catering, general manager, and regional manager before moving to Walla Walla in 2010. As the banquet manager for the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel, Brent managed all events including holiday brunches for 1,000 guests. He explored his culinary passions working as the General Manager at D’Olivo Tasting Bar for four years sharing his knowledge of Ultra-Premium EVOO, aged Balsamic vinegars, specialty foods, Champagne and kitchenware.
"I love showing up to work every morning, there’s a great vibe, incredible people, and I enjoy seeing the fruit of our work every day on the estate grounds and in the vineyard."

Mariano Diaz

Vineyard Foreman

"I was born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in Walla Walla, where my family moved when I was 2 years old. Not long after graduating from Mac-Hi I began working at Basel Cellars.

I grew up in the valley and spent a lot of time in the orchards as a young man. Prior to Basel I worked for Appellation Management Group, it was a great experience getting to know the technical and scientific aspects of plant growth and management, particularly fruit. With the continued growth of the wine industry, I chose to set my sights on vineyard management, and began pursuing a career taking care of vineyards. I struck gold in 2010 when I was hired by Basel Cellars to assist in the vineyard.Since that time I’ve learned a great deal about wines, and how it truly does begin on the vine. We take great care to ensure the winery receives the best possible fruit, and are very hands-on throughout the process. I’m always thrilled to see the entire sequence unfold, and find myself continually impressed with the people that guide a process that I’m so fortunate to be a part of."

Kevin Steffanson

Estate House Manager
Kevin was born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley. Immediately after high school he worked as a welder’s apprentice in Prineville, Oregon before returning home and discovering the wine industry. He didn’t work in the cellar or the vineyard (at least, not exclusively) but was more involved in the construction of local wineries and vineyards.  Just over a year later he ended up working as a temp on the bottling line at Basel Cellars and was hired for a full time position.

Kevin has been with Basel Cellars for a decade, gaining experience in the winery, vineyard, tasting rooms, and most recently taking over operations of the website, in-house design, social media, and marketing.
"I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned at Basel Cellars and how many great relationships I’ve made while working here."
2901 Old Milton Hwy
Walla Walla, WA 99362
AboutContactWine ClubEvent CalendarTasting NotesLocationsPricing
Copyright 2020, Basel Cellars