Walter Byck - President/Founder
Walter Byck was born in Newark, New Jersey. As a student Walter excelled in all levels of his studies. After attending university, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School top of his class. As a radiology resident at Cornell Medical Center in New York City, Walter met his future wife, the beautiful Marijke Hoenselaars. After completing his residency he requested to be stationed in Europe, close to the Dutch border and Marijke. After a walk through the beautiful sculpture grove at the Kroller-Muller Museum, Walter proposed. On November 4, 1961 Marijke & Walter were wed in Nijmegen, Holland.The young couple moved to Santa Rosa in 1965, Walter joined a small but growing medical group, Redwood Radiology. In 1977 Walter discovered ‘Paradise’. In May of 1994 Marijke & Walter opened Paradise Ridge Winery. A year after opening the winery, Walter launched the first Sculpture exhibit in the new Paradise Woods Sculpture Grove. After retiring from medicine in 1997, Walter turned his attention towards building the reputation of his growing sculpture project. In 2004 Walter was recognized for his outstanding efforts in the art community, bringing together numerous art organizations and spearheading a county wide art project known as Sculpture Sonoma. He was chosen as man of the year by the Bohemian after this major accomplishment. With a passion for many things, including travel, cosmology, photography, art & wine, Walter is most passionate about his family, especially his 11 grandchildren.
Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars (1933-2006) - Founder
Born in Nijmegen Holland in 1933, Marijke Hoenselaars was the second of six children. She grew up during World War II and her earliest memories include watching her parents open their home to nine families who had lost their own. Always a hard worker and wonderful student, Marijke was chosen to go to America to study nursing in New York City, where she met her future husband Walter Byck. The couple moved to Santa Rosa in 1965 and purchased the Paradise Ranch in 1978. Their five children were raised mostly on the 156-acre property. Taking advantage of the beautiful site in the hills on the edge of Santa Rosa, Marijke and her family opened Paradise Ridge Winery in 1994. Marijke was a natural leader and for 12 years she was CEO of the winery. Tragically Marijke was killed in a car accident in January 2006. Her legacy is marked by her tireless efforts, frequently performed anonymously, on behalf of the less fortunate in Sonoma County. From delivering food packages and holiday gifts for children of low-income families, to serving as a Board Member, benefactor, and leader with numerous local nonprofit groups, her helping hand and personal involvement were the hallmark of her style. Marijke’s compassion led to her participation in the Sonoma Task Force for the Homeless, the National Women’s History Project, Catholic Charities, The Children’s Village of Sonoma County, Unicef, as well as many others. She also cared deeply about global peace issues, and her activism reflected these broader concerns as well. Her service to the less fortunate went beyond compassion. Whenever she went out to dinner, she boxed what she had left and did not go home till she found a hungry person to give them to. The spirit of Paradise Ridge Winery’s founder and leader continues to inspire us everyday.
Rene Byck - Vice President/Co-Owner
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, Rene graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in 1985. He then attended California State University Sacramento and received a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 1990. After graduation Rene traveled through Europe, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal and South East Asia. His favorite countries were Nepal and Thailand. When he returned Rene started working for a Private investigative firm in San Francisco. In 1994 he joined his parents and Sonia in the plans to create a winery and event center on their Santa Rosa ranch. Rene spent the early years in the tasting room, working events, and doing the bookkeeping. In 1997 Rene attended the McClaren School of Business at the University of San Francisco. He received his MBA in 2000. He started working at an internet company, but in 2002 he realized that his heart was at Paradise Ridge and decided to put his new found education to work. Rene was married in 2007 and he & his wife Holly now have three children, Adianka Marijke, Brycen Russell & Alexia Rae.
Sonia Byck-Barwick - Co-Owner/Managing Partner
Growing up in Santa Rosa, Sonia is the youngest of the five Byck children. She attended and graduated from Ursuline High School and California State University at Sacramento. After graduation from University, Sonia toured the United States, followed by a 6 month journey through Australia & South East Asia. In anticipation of helping her parents open their new winery; Sonia chose a hospitality position managing the four-star Madrona Manor Inn in Healdsburg, California. Starting at Paradise Ridge in January of 1994, Sonia was responsible for marketing and launching the events at the winery. From 1994 to 1995, Sonia was enrolled in the University of California Berkeley extension and received her certificate in Hospitality Management. After meeting her husband, Dan Barwick, in at a wine marketing course, they began to plan an extended world wine tour. Upon their return in 1998, Sonia took a position as Director of Marketing for Blackstone Winery. While she was at Blackstone, production grew from 160,000 cases to 600,000 and the successful winery was sold in 2001. After the birth of her first child in 2002 Sonia returned to Paradise Ridge part time. Until recently, she was Paradise Found Wine Club coordinator and also oversaw the extensive two year renovation of the winery. Returning to her roots, Sonia is back marketing events at Paradise Ridge, as well as overseeing all Human Resources and the financial departments . Sonia and Dan live in Healdsburg with their two children, Sophia and Jonathan.
Dan Barwick - Winemaker
Dan Barwick was born in Dover, England. Since the age of 16, Dan has worked in the food and beverage industry. From 1978 thru 1987 he worked as a manager in the famous ‘Harrods Food Halls’ in Knightsbridge London, where he also got his first taste of fine wine. During his time at Harrods, Dan completed a two year University extension course for retail management. From 1987 to 1988 he helped to set up a national chain called ‘Prêt a Manger’, now a house hold name. In 1991 he moved to Sonoma County and worked his first harvest at Matanzas Creek Winery, where his passion for wine exploded. From 1992 to 1995, Dan worked in the cellar at Ferrari- Carano Vineyards & Winery, while completing several wine and viticulture courses. It was in one of these courses he met his future bride, Sonia Byck. Sonia & Dan were married in 1995. In May 1996, the newlyweds began a two year journey throughout the world visiting and working in different areas within the wine industry. Their adventures included harvests in Burgundy, France, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Sydney, Australia and the Barossa Valley, Australia. In 1998 they returned home and Dan took on the duties of ‘winemaker’ for Paradise Ridge Winery. Dan is a judge for numerous wine competitions in Northern California and moonlights as a wine educator at the Santa Rosa Junior College. In his spare time Dan enjoys cooking, gardening, wine & food tasting and pairing, home improvements and studying the wine industry. He also loves spending time with his 11 year old daughter Sophia and 9 year old son Jonathan.
Denise Stuart - General Manager
Denise moved to Sonoma County when she was three years old and began to develop strong roots to this beautiful and bountiful region. Denise attended Sonoma State University and graduated with a BS Degree in Business Administration. Following graduation Denise worked in the healthcare and personnel industries but grew restless. She discovered the beauty of Paradise Ridge over ten years ago and began working as an Event Server. Her love for the hospitality industry blossomed and she has had many positions at the winery including Event Consultant,Tasting Room Manager, Wine Club Coordinator, Public Relations Manager and currently is General Manager. Denise is also on the Board of Directors for the dynamic Russian River Wine Road, which works to promote the Wine Road as a premier wine country destination. She has a true enthusiasm for the Sonoma County wine industry and in particular for Paradise Ridge. When not at Paradise Ridge, Denise loves spending time with her son Hunter and daughter Annie.
Martha Marquez - Events Manager
Martha is originally from the Napa Valley, but loves her new home ‘over the hill’ in beautiful Sonoma County. She has been working in the hospitality industry for over 20 years managing world class wineries & hotels. Her ultimate goal is to make sure each special event or wedding is one that the guests will never forget. Martha has helped plan and execute more than 400 weddings & special events. She prides herself on her exemplary customer service skills, upbeat personality and making sure each guest receives the special attention they deserve. When Martha is not in 'paradise' she is off with her husband Fernando visiting his family in Spain or traveling to another far off place. She believes “In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities” - Janos Arany
Annette McDonnell - Kenwood Tasting Room Manager & Culinary Specialist
Annette has been a resident of Sonoma County for most of her life, moving here at the age of 13. She graduated from Calistoga High in 1989 and began studying at the Santa Rosa Junior College. At the age of 21 she started working for an electronics firm in Santa Rosa, where she met her future husband Daniel McDonnell and they married in 1993. Shortly after the birth of their son Michael, Annette & Dan started their first business together, The Bed and Breakfast Association of Sonoma County. During this time they also managed the Golden Apple Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Occidental. When her father opened the Sebastopol Antique Mall, Annette jumped at the chance to work with her family and took over the running of the restaurant & wine bar. With the birth of her second son Christopher, Annette took a part time position with the talented chef Bruce Riezenman at Park Avenue Catering as Lead Captain & Personal Assistant. Continuing to build her knowledge of the food & wine industry, Annette chose a position for the highly acclaimed Cafe Lolo, working with owner Lori Darling as Lead Captain & Site Chef. 2003 welcomed the birth of her third son Ryan. After taking a few years off to raise her boys, Annette began working at Paradise Ridge Winery in 2008, giving her the opportunity to balance her devotion to great food, wine and hospitality. Sharing her love for this bountiful area daily, Annette has found her home in Paradise. When she is not graciously entertaining in Kenwood Annette loves to cook, garden and play with her children.