We would love to introduce the incredible team at Galena Cellars! Our team is an extension of the family; all who are passionate about Illinois wine. From the vineyards to our winery, the wine club to our tasting room, our crew is committed to producing and serving award-winning wines and making your visit one to remember. Chances are, if you’ve visited the winery, you’ve met one of us. We look forward to hosting you and sharing a glass of Galena Cellars!
From the day Eric was born, he has not been far from a wine cellar. His mother, Chris Lawlor, often reflects on needing to get work done in the cellar while Eric would nap a few floors away, and she would listen for him to cry. As soon as he could help in the cellar, Chris put him to work, sweeping floors, stocking the shelves, helping on the bottling line and in 1999, at age 12, Chris gave him his first opportunity to help make - now Galena Cellars’ flagship wine - Eric the Red.
He went on to earn a degree in Enology (winemaking) from Cal Poly Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, CA. He worked internships at wine producers in the Paso Robles and Napa Valley wine regions during his studies. Upon graduation and completion of his harvest internship, he was offered a position at Heitz Cellars, one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the US. He worked alongside David Heitz and grew from a harvest intern to Associate Winemaker before pursuing a new opportunity in 2015. The final vintage he worked at Heitz Cellars went on to earn 100 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
His next venture was at BRAND Napa Valley, a cult-cab producer in the esteemed Pritchard Hill AVA. During his time at Brand, he worked with Phillipe Melka, one of the most renowned winemakers in California. He often hosted celebrities, including the Cleveland Cavaliers team, Justin Verlander (Houston Astros), Kate Upton, and more.
During this time, he met his wife, Oniqueh, who was also working in the wine industry in California.
In early 2018 per the request of his mother and his grandfather's wishes, he returned to Galena and became the winemaker of Galena Cellars, following in their footsteps.
Britt has found herself around the wine industry since she was just a kid. As a member of the Lawlor-White family, Britt spent her Galena childhood helping around the winery and quickly took an interest in the hospitality side of the business. (In 2000, Britt helped create her own wine label, aptly named “Britt White”, which you can still find for sale in the tasting room today!)
Having earned her degree in marketing from the University of St. Thomas, she moved to the West Coast and earned her associates degree in wine marketing & hospitality.
Before moving back to Galena, she continued to hone her marketing skills while working at several family wineries in Sonoma County and San Jose.
As Brand Ambassador, Britt brings people and wine together by telling the Galena Cellars story through marketing, social media and event planning. When she’s not swirling a little wine in her glass, you can find Britt hiking with her Golden Retriever Remy, hitting the slopes at the local ski resort and exploring new wineries!
Remy & Rufus
No winery is complete without a four-legged crew. Meet our two MVB’s (Most Valuable Barkers); Remy & Rufus!
RufusWinemaker in Training/Director of First Impressions Laid back and fun loving, you’ll most likely see Sheepadoodle Rufus greeting visitors arriving at the vineyard or following his dad and Winemaker, Eric, around the winery giving the final seal of approval before bottling. In his free time Rufus enjoys running through the vineyards and “getting dem birds” on the property.
RemyOffice Bark-ministrator/Security Detail With passion for tennis balls and making sure your shipping order goes out on time, Remy the Golden Retriever has taken his role of office bark-ministrator very seriously. When he isn’t running around with his buddy Rufus, you can find him approving treat orders and napping in the office after a long day of greeting visitors.
Business Operations Manager
Angi is a Colorado native who first worked as an associate for Galena Cellars in the early 90’s quickly becoming a fan of their wines! Fast forward 20 years with Angi returning to Galena Cellars working as the Tasting Room manager at our Galena location. It was not long before she transitioned to be our Business Operations Manager. Besides her office roll Angi plays a huge roll in ensuring all Galena Cellars properties are taken care of and looking great for our guests enjoyment!
Angi’s year-round go-to Galena Cellars wines are Frontenac Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, but when May wine or Blueberry are available those will fill her glass! In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, friends, her dog Phoebe and her plants… in no particular order.
Assistant Hospitality Manager
The newest member of our team, Rori is originally from the Chicagoland area and moved to Galena just two years ago.
While on a visit to Galena Cellars Vineyard, her now fiancé proposed on the property! She shared the news with tasting room associates and was given a congratulatory glass of Wedding cake. From that moment on, Wedding Cake has been one of her absolute favorites (along with Edelweiss)! Rori admired the Galena Cellars family atmosphere from her first experience at the Vineyard.
As the Assistant Hospitality Manager and through her excellent hospitality skills, Rori is here to welcome guests with a smile and make sure every aspect of your visit is delightful.
Rori’s hobbies include outside adventures, family time, crafting, enjoying music and spending time with her sidekicks (dogs): Renley, Valora, and Willow! She believes that at the end of the day, wine makes everything better!
Ellen is originally from Guttenberg, Iowa; a proud Mid-West girl! In 2004 she opened our Tasting Room in Geneva, IL and was the Tasting Room Manager until 2020 when she and husband John moved to Galena to take on a new role as Design Manager.
Ellen’s favorite Galena Cellars Wine is any Galena Cellars Wine shared with friends and her hobbies include knitting, gardening, traveling. She’s always working on an artsy project at home! She loves her feet in the sand, Fish Fry’s, Brandy Old Fashions and Sunsets at the Vineyard.
Vineyard Tasting Room Manager
Karissa joined the Galena Cellars team because of its family-based atmosphere and its
established history in the Galena culture. She has always been a wine lover, but her palate has
since evolved from drinking exclusively White Zinfandel in college.
Karissa grew up in Galena, moved to California in 2011, and recently moved back to Galena in
2020 to enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle and to be closer to family. You can find her partner in
crime and Pomeranian, Maverick by her side in the tasting room during the week. Karissa’s
hobbies include birdwatching, painting, and anything involving nature!
Executive Chef Fernando has over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, including working as a
Chef in Spain and 5 years on a cruise ship bringing his experiences from around the globe to the
Galena Cellars menu.
Most recently working in the surrounding tri-state area, Fernando became familiar with the
Midwestern palate and has created his made-to-order menu, which has complemented both
his past experiences, personality, and love of being in the kitchen.
Vineyard tasting room assistant manager
Debra is a California native who grew up in an agricultural community that produces citrus,
avocados, and strawberries. She is very happy to be a member of the Galena Cellars Family and
loves sharing the wine tasting experience with others.
Debra enjoys spending time with her family, road trips, train travel, candle-making, and working
in the vineyard. Her past experience includes growing the following local wine grapes:
Frontenac (Blanc, Gris, Red), Marquette, and Petite Pearl.