About Us

Behind every wine is a person and a philosophy.

Craftsmanship, passion and ethics are our highest priorities, and we work tirelessly to find producers who share these values. Artistry and philosophy come second. After fifteen years of hands-on practice with winemaking and viticulture and many more years of high-end restaurant experience, we have strong opinions about what constitutes good wine, good relationships, and good business. Needless to say, our expectations of the producers we choose to represent are high.

Since we started importing in 2010, every year we visit the vineyards and cellars of each of our producers numerous times to better understand their wines and practices. Despite being overwhelmingly optimistic about life, we remain steadfastly vigilant when making our selections, always alert for the red flags that may go unnoticed by those lacking experience in viticulture and winemaking.

We are very particular about the way we choose to live.  Primarily, we work to insure that what we put in our bodies be as natural and nutritious as possible. That includes the wine we drink, which must be made with minimal additives to preserve both the sense of terroir and the health of the wine. Indeed, we’ve witnessed firsthand the things dosed into commercial wines, and we don’t want those things in our bodies or anyone else’s.

While the bulk of our producers are certified from the European Union as Organic or Biodynamic, certification is not a prerequisite for us when working with a winery. Our requirement is that vintners be rigorous in and mindful of their practices, willing to compromise their philosophies only in the most dire of situations.  Indeed, many of our best producers are not certified in any way with regard to their farming, yet to set foot in their vineyards is to observe as robust a vitality, if not moreso, as many a vineyard that bears certification. Dogma can at times be an inhibitor of intuition, and we believe the greatest wines are made by exceptional intuition.

Our logo? It’s an artistic rendering of a photograph taken of my father, Ed Vance, when he was a professional hunter in the 1960’s and 70’s, working privately and with the state of California to track animals for research. It carries no direct philosophical implications—we just like it.

We hope you will enjoy joining us on our journey while we bring to your table not only great, honest, soulful wines, but also the stories of their makers—the people who bleed, sweat and toil to make these wines that bring more beauty to our daily lives.

 

Our Cast of Characters

Ted Vance

Owner – President

In 1995, at age 19, my obsession with wine went from zero to warp speed. Ever since then, I have lived, drank, breathed, obsessed and spent nearly every dollar I’ve made on it. Wine’s infinite layers of depth keep me constantly engaged, from mankind’s philosophy to the very nature of the earth, the universe and everything in-between. In wine I have found my academia, philosophy and calling. It’s what I do. My current role for The Source is as its acting president, designated traveller, curator, writer and photographer.

Today, I reside somewhere in Iberia with life partner, Andrea Arredondo (whose profile you will also find on this page). We made the move to Europe in 2018, starting with Italy for a year and then made the permanent move to Iberia.

Victoria Diggs (Vance)

Wholesale General Manager

Yes, we are also a family business. I grew up in Montana with my older brother, Ted. Always the closest between our other siblings, I had no idea I would spend my life working with my brother.

Ted says, “Victoria is the superstar behind the scenes of everything we do. Everyone in The Source leans on her every day and would agree that we would be half the company we are without her.

Donny Sullivan

Owner – General Manager

Growing up on a small farm in the rural countryside outside of Portland, Oregon, unexpectedly began to shape my professional path back to the farm and garden. Those days planted a proverbial seed that would later be watered by my thirst for understanding the world of wine.

Over the past 22 years, wine has taken me on a voyage of intrigue, relevance, passion and insight. What was only a beverage turned into a history lesson, a treasure hunt, curriculum and, finally, an integral part of my life.

After a longstanding high-end restaurant career, I shaped a preference to wines that draw emotional reactions and deeper connection to the place from which they originate.

JD Plotnick

Sales

I first became serious about wine through cooking in restaurants in my hometown of Chicago. While working at Schwa restaurant, I began to create wine pairings for the food I was cooking and serving each night. This sparked an obsession with wine that grew and eventually took over my life, inspiring me to move to southern California in 2011 where I worked for Whole Foods selecting wines and distributors to be sold region wide.  I then went on to work with Lou Amdur at Lou Wine Shop & Tastings in Los Feliz, where I opened the store in 2014 and helped manage and buy wines for the shop in its first three years before joining The Source in 2017.
German riesling was my first love in the wine world, and continues to be the thing I reach for the most.  When it’s not riesling, the wines of Piedmont, Burgundy, Jerez, Galicia and the Loire Valley are most commonly found in my cellar and on my dinner table.  I had a career in music before food / wine, and when I’m not cooking or traveling to wine regions I am usually playing music or enjoying nature.

Tyler Kavanagh

Sales

I hail from the green and rugged southwest coast of Victoria, Australia. Having cut my hospitality teeth on restaurant floors in both Melbourne and London, I was suckered down the rabbit hole of wine, pushed deeper and deeper by transcendent experiences in my early wine life with old bottles of Clare Valley Riesling, electric Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, and cool-climate, Victorian Pinot Noir.

Though, it was love, not wine, that drew me to California a little over a decade ago and throughout the past 10 years I have moved through both restaurant and retail-focused wine worlds in San Diego, Santa Barbara and San Francisco, fine-tuning my knowledge and crystalizing my passions in wine. Most recently, my tenure as managing partner of iconic, Italo-centric retail store, Biondivino, located in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood allowed me to fire my flame for all things Italian wine even more. I have now returned to my ‘Californian roots’ here in Southern California as The Source’s link to San Diego and Orange County.

Hadley Kemp

Sales

While attending Tufts University outside of Boston, I found a job as the Lead Host at Harvest, a small, farm-to-table restaurant in Cambridge. Little did I know it would mark the start of my 15+ year career in the hospitality industry while also becoming a formative experience for my appreciation of food and wine. I returned to Utah after college to my hometown, Park City, where I helped open a Jean-Georges concept at the St. Regis Hotel as the Lead Server. The wine list was great (at least by Utah standards) and I was able to get involved in the wine program. San Francisco was my next stop, where in 2013 I began what ended up being a decade-long tenure with Bacchus Management Group. I started as a Sommelier at their famous Michelin-starred Woodside location, The Village Pub, and we finally achieved our long-awaited Grand Award from Wine Spectator. In 2017, I opened The Village Bakery & Café in Woodside as the General Manager and Wine Director. There we earned the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” for our tiny, but mighty, wine list. In 2019, I landed at one of San Francisco’s top spots and one of the flagships of the Bacchus Management Group, Spruce, where I served as the General Manager. While running restaurants was a passion, it was also a grind. I knew I wanted to return to a career more focused on wine, and after many years of building wine lists (which included a lot of my absolute favorite wines from The Source), I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to work with those wines full-time?” I joined The Source in the fall of 2021 and now represent our company and its collection of boutique wine producers in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Leigh Readey

Sales

My post at the legendary (for the area and the time) Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium in the early 2000s proved to be very influential. We not only operated as a tasting room for boutique local wineries but I had the pleasure of getting to know many prominent winemakers in Santa Barbara County. I quickly realized wine industry people were my kind of people. During that time, I also moved around 3 other local wineries while taking classes through Allan Hancock College’s Viticulture and Enology program. I eventually became a sales rep for a local distributor for nearly 6 years, including a stint working with a premiere Austrian importer that blew my palate open. After that, a break from life as I knew it led me down several different paths, but I knew deep down I’d prefer to return to wine. Sure enough, it was the opportunity to work for The Source that brought me back, knowing the wine growers’ farming philosophies and respect for the earth were akin to mine.

It certainly wasn’t one wine that got me hooked. Sure, I liked wine in my early 20s but would be embarrassed to admit what I drank back then. Through industry events, generous wine collectors sharing and numerous memorable dinners at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos I tasted a wide range of older imports of which, Burgundy and Rhône were standouts. As most palates change, I now generally gravitate towards crisp, high acid, non-fruit driven whites of the Loire, Chablis, Austria, Spain and Portugal, but I’m always open to tasting what’s out there. The fact that we never stop learning in this industry has me hooked.

Danny DeMartini

Sales

Born and raised in a small suburb of San Francisco, I grew up working in the food industry alongside his father in the family business, Italian salame. My father Gary was a bit of a Renaissance man, with passions stretching from Impressionist Art to American History. He was also an avid “collector” of baseball cards, coins, stamps, and even had an interesting stash of wine in an insulated cellar under the stairs. It was from this cabinet that special birthyear bottles were pulled and the lore of wine started to become interesting to me and my family. In 2010, I got a golden invitation to join my father and a few of his wine colleagues on a trip to Piemonte and Burgundy (not a bad place to start). After brushing up the best I could on some basic wine info, I got on a plane for a trip that would forever alter the course of my life and career ambitions.
I returned inspired to work in the wine industry. After studying for and passing my Level II  Sommelier Certification, I applied for a job at The Village Pub in Woodside, CA. With no prior restaurant experience, I pleaded with the management team to find a place for me. The restaurant’s wine program was my real point of interest, and though I started as a busser, I quickly befriended the wine team. It wasn’t long before I began to help with inventory and selling wine at tables as a captain in the dining room. This fantastic opportunity wasn’t to last as I was offered the reins of a wine program of my own in San Francisco. I spent the next 5 years at Piccino in San Francisco crafting a short but thoughtful wine list. In 2016, I left Piccino to work with The Source. My passion, loyalty, and eagerness to improve and contribute to those around me afforded me the opportunity to manage the Northern California sales territory.

Iván Rodríguez

Geologist

Andrea Arredondo

Online Sales and Marketing, Graphic and Web Design

In 2002, I moved from Santiago, Chile, to California finish my university studies at UCSB. I fell head over heals for Santa Barbara and ended up running into Ted. We’re married now and he keeps me on my toes jumping from country to country, not only to visit but to live.

Our Sources

Vance Wine Selections

Ted Vance

The majority of our producers have been procured directly.  However, there are many great contributors to our privileged selection of wines. This section is for them.

Le Serbet

Becky Wasserman Selections

Suffice it to say, if you know Burgundy, you have probably heard of the Becky Wasserman (in green). They are responsible for the majority of our beautiful Burgundy selections.

Lac’Wine Consulting

Nicolas Rebut

Nico, a former famous sommelier of Hotel le Meurice and Louix XV, in France, started a new career finding and distributing many previously undiscovered rising stars. He has been a great source for us for exciting new and established producers.

La Fabrique

Sonya Behar-Castel and Pierre Castel

La Fabrique, the home of Pierre (middle) and Sonya (right), has become the staging ground for every trip that we have made in Europe. With each visit all are welcomed with excessive amounts of outrageously delicious food, second-hand smoke, forbidden spirits and our own beautiful Provençal room on their 16 hectare farm, in Graveson. They ask nothing of us except, “don’t wait too long to come back.”

To many, we owe a lot. To Pierre and Sonya, The Source owes the most.