Wine has always been a part of Brian’s life. This began while spending summers in his grandfather’s vineyard and enjoying 4th of July BBQ’s, where wine was always on the table. Brian started his career in the restaurant industry in Sacramento eventually elevating himself through the ranks from host to bar manager. Opening numerous restaurants and fine dining establishments he found his niche in great wine service. Becoming a Sommelier and working with distributors, lead to a job with Southern Wine & Spirits working in a division dedicated to selling high end brands of Moet & Hennessy and Diageo. After selling wines and spirits for other companies, Brian convinced his father Arden Burt to join him in making a few barrels of Zinfandel from his grandfather’s vineyard. In 2007 Brian moved to Napa and took a harvest intern job at Terra Valentine under Sam Baxter. Taking classes at Davis in combination with his biology background lead to an amazing career working next to multiple winemakers at Raymond, Biale, Falcor, Envy & Joseph Cellars.
In 2012 Brian’s high school crush, Amanda, moved to Napa where they are now married with three sons under 5 years old! Following his passion of wine and the industry, he has found a home in the exquisite Calistoga wine community working closely with his lovely wife.
Arden “Burt” Harlan
Burt Harlan grew up in a small rural farming community in Lake County California. He attended a 1-room schoolhouse through 8th grade before going off to boarding school for his freshman and sophomore year. He returned to Kelseyville to finish high school with his older brother and help his family with farming. His summers were spent working in the Burton Ranch Vineyards, which have been in his family for over 110 years. In the fall he would return to Lake County and work in the Pear sheds loading ‘piggy-back’ trailers destined for the east coast. After graduation he followed his high school sweetheart, Sharon Kay, to Fresno where he received his degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. He married Sharon and raised two children (Stephanie & Brian) in Sacramento.
Over the next 20 years he worked in commercial real estate investments and development. In 1994 he moved to New York to work for Merrill Lynch as a Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities underwriter in the World Financial Center. His Investment Banking career led him back to California, first to San Francisco for Deutsche Bank, and then Newport Beach in Orange County with UBS. He currently resides in Roseville, Ca.
Director of Operations
Amanda grew up in Sacramento, Ca where she attended high school and first met her husband, Brian Harlan. Being awarded a scholarship to Oklahoma City University (OCU) Amanda moved across the country right after graduation. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in dance Performance and was a professional “Broadway Style” dancer for the first part of her life. Her 27 year performance career took her around the U.S. until making a temporary home in Branson, Mo dancing three shows a day 6 days a week. In 2010 Amanda retired and found her new passion…wine! Amanda won a scholarship to Missouri State University (MSU) to study Viticulture, and Enology. After two harvests and a Double Gold Medal for her first label, “Bikini Zin-Shiraz” she soon realized that she needed to be closer to her family and in the heart of the best wine in the world- Napa Valley! She picked up and drove west heading for her next career. Little did she know, Brian had already established his winemaking career and was willing to help her get settled and begin hers. He offered her a half ton of grapes from his grandfathers vineyard as long as she met him every evening to tend to her winemaking. She agreed, not realizing this was all a plan to get her to go on a date with him. Their passion for wine brought Amanda and Brian back together after 16 years and they were married in 2014. They have three sons born in 2016, 2018 and 2020!
Matt McClure & Diego Robledo
Director of Hospitality
Angel Wilkes grew up in Florida and attended the University of Florida, where she studied Hospitality Management and Event Planning. She also has a Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University, and a Culinary Arts Degree from the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL. Angel has always been an event planner at heart, and has worked in a number of industries including education, weight loss, restaurants and travel planning. Her love for travel has taken her all over the world, which is how she ended up in the Napa Valley. Since traveling here for the first time in 2010, she would always say it was her favorite place in the world.
In 2015, Angel got the once in a lifetime opportunity to work on a study abroad program called Semester at Sea, where she traveled around the world on a ship with 600 college students and planned their shore excursions in 12 different countries. This led her to quit her job at Vanderbilt University, and after returning from sea, she finally had the opportunity to move anywhere she wanted. She chose the Napa Valley, where she began work at the Culinary Institute of America as an Event Planner in the Wine Department. From the first day she walked into Brian Arden, she fell in love with the space. After working a busy days in the tasting room, Brian and Amanda approached Angel about building the guest experiences at the winery. Angel jumped on the opportunity, excited to join the small family at Brian Arden Wines.
Spencer grew up in the town of Placerville, Ca where he was raised by his father. It was with his father at a young age when Spencer found his love for food. Spencer excelled in his high school culinary program which led him to Sacramento California’s Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. Upon graduating Culinary school, he found his first job working for a small Japanese restaurant helping in the dish pit and with prep work anywhere he could. After about six months, Spencer was offered a chance to help out at the sushi bar, where he spent his next two years. Spencer was then offered the chance to work under the chef he grew up watching on TV – Iron chef Morimoto. Spencer packed up his bags and moved to Napa, Ca and after four years of working at Morimoto’s, Spencer wanted to learn more about the world of fine dining. He found himself working for some of the top restaurants in the Bay Area such as Atelier Crenn and Saison. After working in the Bay Area for a few years, Spencer knew he wanted to be back in the Napa Valley where he started working for Silver Oak Winery crafting his food and wine knowledge. Spencer is very excited about joining the team and to pair his food alongside Brian Arden’s great wines.
Tasting Room Educators
Our tasting room educators are highly trained in hospitality, service and the workings of the winery. They will greet you with a smile every time you’re with us and provide you with exceptional knowledge of our winery through stories about each wine.
Meaghan- Tasting Room Lead
Meaghan’s love for wine started at a young age working alongside her grandfather in the family winery located in the Sierra Foothills. She graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Wine and Viticulture and moved to the Sonoma area to pursue a career in the wine industry. When Meaghan isn’t at the winery she is out hiking or baking something with too many chocolate chips!
Tyler- Tasting Room/Community Outreach
Tyler was born and raised in Lake County, and has been in the wine industry for eight years. He’s worked throughout Lake and Mendocino counties in the wine industry and enjoys learning and exploring new wines and new wine regions. You might see Tyler pouring our wines at local hotels and resorts as he over sees our outreach program.
Eric- Wine Educator
Eric is a Sonoma County native. Raised in the industry, Eric helped with pump overs at seven, worked in tasting rooms in high school and attended Cal Poly as a wine and vit student. He plans to make a career in the wine industry. Along with wine, Eric is a passionate hiker, on his days off you’re likely to catch him with his dog Knight or smoking ribs!
Thomas- Wine Educator
Thomas was born and raised in Santa Rosa, and has been working in the service industry for eight years. He’s worked in restaurants and wineries in both Sonoma and Napa county in an effort to hone his knowledge about all aspects of hospitality. In his spare time he enjoys making drinks for his friends or opening a nice bottle of wine to relax during the day.
Ben grew up in Sonoma County. Growing up on a small farm with animals and amazing produce from his mother’s garden led to his passion for food, wine and cooking. Following high school, Ben moved to New York to pursue a degree at the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, he moved to New Orleans before traveling abroad. He spent time cooking in South East Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. Ben decided to return home and join Brian Arden in Napa Valley to improve his wine knowledge and continue creating great food.
Cuvee (Pug, 12)
Caleigh (Golden Retriever, 9)
Malic (Pug, 3)
While the pugs work from home, you’ll always find Caleigh greeting guests in the tasting room. She will come over for a scratch on the head or just to enjoy the sunshine with you. Caleigh is the most popular employee we have at Brian Arden and pretty much controls the Instagram “likes” we’ve received. All three BAW Dogs have been featured on the cover of both Wine Dogs California 2018 and 2020 editions which can be purchased in our tasting room.