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.
General Manager / Wine Club Manager
Born and raised in California Central Coast Wine Country, Oniqueh constantly found herself drawn to wine-producing areas; she developed a passion for wine and decided to pursue it as a career.
She has worked at a handful of wineries in both the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. After gaining almost ten years of experience out west, she decided to pick up her roots and relocate to the Midwest with her now-husband, Eric White.
As the General Manager at Galena Cellars, Oniqueh oversees the day-to-day operations while spearheading projects to improve customer experience, including revamping the Galena Cellars Wine Club.
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.
downtown tasting room manager
With knowledge from working in hospitality for eight years, Sienna's career in wine started in November of 2019 when she joined the Galena Cellars team. Since joining the team, Sienna has become the shipping expert and the conductor for her tasting room staff at the downtown Galena location.
She has gained immense knowledge from the other members of the management team, making the mass amount of information about wine and wine making; a passion she didn't have before.
While not working, Sienna enjoys spending time outside or playing games with her friends, family, and fur babies.
Vineyard Tasting Room Manager
After many years of event coordinating and front of house management at a local Dubuque restaurant, Emily joined the team and Galena Cellars in July of 2021. While new to the staff, Emily is enthusiastic about the Galena Cellars story and shares her love of wine with all guests. Her favorites are Honey Mead and Cabernet Franc all year round.
She can be spotted hitting the trails with her dog Scuba or on the beach with a good book, when not pouring glasses of wine.
Geneva Tasting Room Manager
Born right outside St. Louis, Amir majored in business management at Purdue University. Wine has always been a love, but he now loves that it is also now a work of passion.
When not in the tasting room he enjoys spending time at local breweries with friends, catching a movie on the big screen, and cooking lavish meals paired with the perfect wine.
Originally from the East Coast, Joy has made Galena her home now for over 20 years. She is a superhero mother of two humans and nine cats, wine enthusiast, and a taster of all the things.
From even an early age she would try any new food. Joy inherited her appreciation for good food from her own mother, who had a deep appreciation for good cheeses and exotic vegetables, herbs and spices (many of which were grown at home in the family's organic garden). Joy's passion for fun food fusions was inherited from her father, who would give her peppermint patties with mustard and once put M&M’s in the corner of the spanakopita he made from scratch.
With a vaguely refined palate and a sense of high adventure, Joy has been experimenting with mixing and matching different cuisines and flavors from all over the world for years. Some of her favorite cuisines include Ethiopian, Greek, Indian, and Italian.
Born and raised in Galena Il, Emily is the team lead bartender.
If she’s not making cocktails, she’s always crafting something with her hands. She is always looking for a reason to smile.
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.
Downtown Tasting Room Lead
Allissa is one of our team leads. She is originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and has been working for Galena Cellars for about three years.
She enjoys spending time with her dog and family, as well as meeting new friends.