When you think about the wine industry, the first name that likely comes to mind is Robert Mondavi. He built his eponymous winery into a global powerhouse with an iconic brand and, in the process, paved the way for the modern era of California wine. But right next door, in the small town of St. Helena, is another winery that has been quietly producing some of Napa Valley’s best wines for more than 30 years.

Before the official announcement in late May, Peter Willmert had served as the winery’s interim CEO since the departure of its founder and longtime CEO, John Conover, in mid-April. Willmert became the winery’s chief operating officer in August of 2015. Prior to his arrival at Hudson, Willmert was the president of Broadley Vineyards and Winery in the Stags Leap District and was the head winemaker at Rudius, Inc., the company that produces and markets Coppola wines in the Napa Valley.

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Lee and Christina Hudson have appointed former LVMH chief executive Willmert to the newly created position.

Napa Valley, CA, 12. May 20, 2021 – Lee and Christina Hudson today announced the appointment of wine industry veteran and former LVMH executive Peter Willmert as CEO of Hudson Napa Valley, responsible for Hudson Vineyards, Wines, Ranches and Groceries. Mr. Willmert is a leader in the wine industry with more than 20 years of experience in the wine, luxury and branded goods industries, including marketing, finance, direct sales, wholesale and export, and vineyard and farm management. Most recently, Mr. Willmert was Vice President of LVMH Moët Hennessy Estates & Wines in North America, responsible for developing the international wine portfolio in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Hudson Napa Valley is one of the truly great and recognized terroirs in California, Willmert said. I’ve known Lee and Christine for years and really appreciate their farming ethic: hard work, attention to detail and a strong sense of community. I am honored to join them and the entire Hudson team in supporting this winery that produces some of the most respected wines in the Napa Valley, as well as our branded wines and hospitality center, our ranch and produce, and our Hudson Greens & Goods grocery store at the Oxbow Community Market.

The founders/owners, Lee Hudson and Christina SP Hudson, will remain actively involved in Hudson Napa Valley while Willmert takes over as CEO.

When I began growing grapes in the Napa Valley in 1981, with winemakers and farmers I respected and admired, my measure of excellence and success was local grapes. It’s not enough today, our standard has to be international, Lee Hudson said. Now, after 40 years of bringing our vineyards to maturity as partners with legendary winemakers, and after opening my own winery on the estate a few years ago, it’s time to rethink my role at Hudson and rewrite my own job description. I am thrilled to welcome Peter to Hudson Napa Valley as CEO and the new era of leadership he will bring to our teams and our company.

When people are offered food and wine grown with good intentions, prepared with care and served in an atmospheric setting, the experience can be transformative, says Christina SP Hudson, a veteran of the Slow Food movement and former Alice Waters executive at Chez Panisse. Our job is to delight and surprise our members, customers, and guests, and Peter’s vast experience has prepared him to lead Napa Hudson Valley into a bright future.

Willmert will lead a talented and experienced Hudson Napa Valley management team, which includes: Alex Hanson is in charge of finance and human resources, Clayton Kirchhoff of winemaking, Kelly McLeod of winery operations, Brittany McCann of direct sales and Elizabeth Wetzel of the food and beverage team.

About Hudson Napa Valley:

Hudson Napa Valley, located in the hills of Napa Valley’s Carneros District, is celebrating 40 years of growing grapes for Napa and Sonoma’s most respected winemakers this year. In addition to producing fruit for more than 30 wineries on the 2,000-acre estate, Hudson also produces its own wines from many of the estate’s best parcels, doing justice to Hudson’s land and values. Guests enjoy the tranquility of Hudson’s new state-of-the-art winery and visitor center. Hudson distributes wines to fine dining restaurants and wine shops in 25 states and to export markets in Europe and Asia. Hudson Greens & Goods, a full-service grocery store in Napa’s Oxbow Market, sets the standard for quality, freshness, abundance of choice and service. The products are sourced from Hudson Ranch, a diversified ranch that produces olive oil, honey, livestock and seasonal produce from California.

About Peter Willmert:

Prior to joining Hudson as CEO, Mr. Willmert spent the past 20 years in the wine, luxury and consumer products industry, most recently as Vice President of Estates & Wines North America at LVMH Moët Hennessy, responsible for the international wine portfolio. Over the course of his career, Willmert has been fortunate to hold executive and management positions at wineries large and small, ranging from Beringer and its parent companies to the organic boutique producer Red Car Wine Co. in Sonoma. After studying business administration, he worked for several years in brand management at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies. Before that, he worked under two U.S. senators and played a lead role in a successful presidential campaign. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and his bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa City.

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