Nile Zacherle

Nile Zacherle is the co-Founder of Mad Fritz Brewing Co and Director of Winegrowing at David Arthur Vineyards on Pritchard Hill in the Napa Valley.

Nile first began his journey into fermented beverages in 1990 at the age of 18 when he and his father brewed their first batch of beer at home. What began as a father/son home project continued to evolve until he transitioned his schooling from a focus in art and design to a BS in Fermentation Science at UC Davis. While at UC Davis, Nile completed the Master Brewers program passing the 2 day exam issued by the IOBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling based in the UK) in 1996.

After an internship at a Napa Winery doing small lot winemaking and research enology he returned to UC Davis to finish his degree.  From winemaking positions in Napa Valley’s Barnett Vineyards and Chateau Montelena to roles at Western Australia’s Pierro Margaret River Vineyards and Bordeaux, France’s Chateau d’Arsac, Nile built a career producing award-winning wines from Burgundian and Bordeaux varietals.

In 2014, together with his wife, they started, Mad Fritz, named after their two children Madeleine and Fritz. Their focus is on malting and brewing beers with a ‘Farm to Foam’ approach. The sourcing of single variety barleys that are craft-malted with an origin, as well as hops and water sourcing defines the beer styles in what they call ‘Origin Beer’. 

3 words to describe Nature?

Inspiring. Powerful. Subtle

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

The ocean/waves at Kailua Beach in Hawaii 

The forest/trails at Moore Creek in Napa

The rocks/geology at Yosemite Valley

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm yet tentative -aware

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Excited yet unknowing - insignificant

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Inspired yet scared

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 (living around it and exploring regularly keeps me sane)

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Moving to Hawaii and learning to duck the waves as a young boy, feeling safe in ocean as big surf rolled in rather than scared. Accepting and swimming towards the monster rather than away


Nate Weis

Nate Weis is the Vice President of Winegrowing at Silver Oak Cellars & Twomey Cellars. A Napa Valley native whose father is also a winemaker, Nate grew up with wine on the table and a drawer full of t‐shirts emblazoned with winery logos. His first job after graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Biopsychology/Neuroscience was as a “cellar rat” at Groth Vineyards & Winery. Nate then spent the 2003 harvest at two New Zealand wineries – Craggy Range Winery and Sacred Hill Wines – and when he returned home he worked a harvest for Etude Wines before starting grad school. After earning his MS in Viticulture and Enology, he was hired as cellar master at Etude, and then spent two years as assistant winemaker for Patz & Hall Wine Company. In 2008 Nate was hired by Marchese Piero Antinori to be winemaker for Antica Napa Valley, where he made Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. He also served as winemaker for Aril Wines in Napa, a small ultra‐premium producer of Cabernet and Syrah. 

In 2014, Nate joined Silver Oak. Under Director of Winemaking Daniel Baron, he was responsible for managing Napa Valley and Alexander Valley wine production from grape to bottle and also serving as an ambassador for the brand.

Nate earned his Executive MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University in 2014. He is married, and with four children, the little free time he has is spent playing rugby, running and reading.

3 words to describe nature?

Powerful. Vast. Unforgiving

3 things nature taught you?




3 most treasured nature spots?


Lake Tahoe

Milford Sound

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Relaxed and Calm. The Pacific has been the backdrop to some of my most treasured memories and times

When you see a forest, it makes you feel?

Excitable, ready for exploration. The way the redwood forests near my home filter light makes me feel reverent

When you see a volcano it makes you feel...?

Very, very small and very, very young

When you see a sunrise or a sunset, it makes you feel...?

Hopeful for a peaceful night with loved ones or for a day full of new opportunities

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like hunkering down and reading a great book

Are you an ocean, mountain, forest, or desert person?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is nature to your well-being?

10. Nature provides me with my profession and career in addition to my escape from my profession and career.

Share with us a childhood nature memory

I was never much of a scout but still have vivid memories of backpacking through the Desolation Wilderness as a young man with my father and some Explorer scouts. I think what sticks out were the senses of empowerment and independence.