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.

"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. 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."
2901 Old Milton Hwy
Walla Walla, WA 99362
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