Meet the Sierra Vista Team

Jim Czachorowski


Jim, his wife Sherry and daughter Savanna are incredibly excited to be the new owners of Sierra Vista. Jim & Sherry have dreamed of owning a vineyard since their first trip to Tuscany back in the early 2000s. Jim built and grew a commercial tile company called Great Lakes Tile & Contracting into one of the most successful and respected tile contracting companies in Michigan. Prior to being in the tile business, he spent 12 years working at General Motors World Technical Center as a Journeyman Wood Model Maker, building patterns and models for prototype vehicles. He was also very fortunate to grow up with a father that was a mentor and best friend. Together with Jim’s brother Bob, the three of them restored many old cars, fixed and built everything around the home and work together in the plastic injection molding trade for some time.

Coming into the wine business is a new venture for Jim and his family, but pride, passion, tenacity, and hard work are nothing new to him. His personality traits and business sense are what drives success, teamwork, camaraderie and customer experience. When not being involved in the business side of things, Jim enjoys time spent with family especially their 11-year daughter Savanna who models, acts, plays piano and violin, and successfully competes in pageants.

Philip Hughes

General Manager

Philip has over 15 years in the wine industry and has an incredible way to engage with guests in a fun and educational way with his vast knowledge of information and experience. He oversees all of the day-to-day operations of the winery and is in step with Jim to implement and execute many different ideas that will help to build a better Sierra Vista. He was born in California but grew up in Colorado. Philip’s passion for wine and his wine career started at age 21 while in college in Fort Collins, CO and working for a large wine retailer. He began studying wines more and took and passed his introductory sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Realizing he did not desire to work in the restaurant industry as a sommelier, he saved up money and bought a small wine shop in Boulder County, Colorado. He owned and operated the shop for about 5 years specializing in boutique, high-end French, Italian, Spanish and American wines. To be closer to family, Philip sold the shop and moved back to California. He is one of 5 children and is very family-oriented.

After moving back to California Philip’s spent time as the Tasting Room Manager at both Cielo Estate and Scott Harvey Wines before the opportunity arose to become General Manager at Sierra Vista. In February of 2021 he took the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 3 exam and “Passed with Merit”. He is well versed in all areas of wine including history of the grapes and wines of the world and California, viticulture and the vines, and different practices used in viniculture/making the wines. He has done many blind tastings in preparation for and during wine exams and assists the winemaker when blending and evaluating our wines. He has also began judging wines at different competitions in California. His extensive knowledge about all things wine and personal level of pride drive him to deliver an excellent customer experience. He came highly recommended. The entire Sierra Vista team and its customers are fortunate to have Philip leading the team.

Ryan Wright


Ryan was born and raised in Placerville. While pursuing a degree in Forestry, at the age of 22, he began working part time at a winery. He began on the sales side, then quickly shifted into the cellar, and a few years later he became the assistant winemaker. In this position he began to develop and explore his own winemaking style- with opportunities each year to make one or two of his own wines. Having an insatiable appetite for knowledge in all things wine making- he considers himself a constant student of the industry. His passion for winemaking is only rivaled by his love for vineyard care and management. So, if you can’t find him in the cellar- you are likely to find him on a tractor or in the vineyard.”

Leslie Gates

Event Coordinator

Leslie grew up in Colorado and attended Colorado State University.  She moved to the Placerville area in August, 2019 from Orange County, CA.  She and her husband, Steve wanted to live in a place that offered a slower pace, outdoor adventures and beautiful scenery.

Leslie worked in the television industry for 38 years and retired last year.  She has also been a health and wellness coach for 20 years.  She enjoys cycling and yoga and educating people on the benefits of healthy living. She and Steve have three grown children; Jamie, Ryan and Leah.

Leslie is so happy to be part of the Sierra Vista team and learning all about our wonderful wines, wine making, assisting in the tasting room and helping coordinate and plan Sierra Vista events.

Natalie Potter

Marketing and Website Management

Natalie was born and raised in Shelby Township, Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. She spent a few years working in the marketing field until she met Jim and started working at his other business, Great Lakes Tile, as an Estimator. When Jim purchased Sierra Vista, Natalie took on the Marketing role with her previous experience and began redesigning all of the new event flyers, website, marketing materials and updating social media.

When Natalie isn’t working she’s spending time raising her thirteen-year-old son who plays football, basketball and runs track and her seven-year-old daughter who cheers on a competitive team. Natalie’s multitasking abilities, organizational skills, and eye for detail are what makes her so great at her job.

Beka Scher

Social Media Manager and Marketing Outreach Coordinator

Born in the Sierra Foothills, Beka has a deep appreciation and love for the region. As a grandchild of a founding member of Apple Hill, Gene Bolster, she has has seen first-hand the transforming power of agricultural tourism. Beka lives in Placerville with her husband, her son, and her dog. She’s a huge fan of traveling the world and tasting new culinary delights. She loves connecting people to new experiences. As our social media manager and marketing outreach coordinator, she is constantly searching for new ways to connect with this vibrant community.

Lauren Orris

Tasting Room Lead

​Lauren, born and raised in Northern California, joined our team after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2020. She loves learning about all aspects of the wine industry and sharing her knowledge with others. When she is not at work, Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, and snowboarding.

She always has a positive attitude and energy and provides great customer service to all guests who come in. She has become an integral part of the Sierra Vista team and we are very happy to have her here. She is also (according to her) Lucy’s best friend.

MaryAnn Salvatierra Sierra Vista Tasting Room

Tracey Wadelton

Tasting Room Host

Tracey grew up in North Dakota and received a degree in biology and chemistry from Bemidji State University.  After earning her teaching certificate at NDSU she moved to Gardnerville, NV where she worked as a teacher and school counselor for 30 years. 

She has been coming to Sierra Vista Winery since the late 90s when her husband brought her to Sierra Vista for their first date.  She has been in love with the winery and the surrounding area ever since. For that reason, Tracey was excited to move to El Dorado in 2015 and is grateful for the opportunity to work at the winery that she loves.

Maryann Salvatierra

Tasting Room Host

Maryann’s smiling familiar face is a joy to have around. She is the longest standing team member and has been at Sierra Vista for years.

Maryann is beloved by our guests and her colleagues because of her fun, cheerful and entertaining personality and her tireless effort to get things done whenever they are needed.

You’ll meet Maryann in the tasting room and around the property… always with a smile on her face.

MaryAnn Salvatierra Sierra Vista Tasting Room


Winery Cat

Lucy was a feral kitten who started hanging around the winery and eventually became an important team member. She sleeps inside at night and has food, water and a couple beds, but spends her days mostly roaming around the property keeping an eye on things. She is very friendly and enjoys attention and being pet. In her spare time she likes naps, hunting lizards and voles, and receiving treats for being a good cat!