Norm Yost graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies in 1981. When his college roommate graduated from the winemaking program with a job and Norm didn’t have employment, he morphed from a beer drinking football player into a winemaking craftsman. During his 35+ vintages in the industry, Norm worked for diverse wineries in cool climate regions, from Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the Russian River in Sonoma County and finally Santa Barbara County. He attributes his vast experience in the industry to the success of Flying Goat Cellars, which he launched in 2000. As the proprietor of his own business, Norm enjoys the freedom to focus on his passion for making vineyard designated Pinot Noir and sparkling wine. Half of Norm’s winemaking career has now been in Santa Barbara County, where he celebrates working with the exceptional local fruit. He is currently a board director of World of Pinot Noir; formerly a board director of Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance and Santa Barbara County Vintners Association and a winemaking instructor at Allan Hancock College.
Kate Griffith graduated with master’s degrees from the University of California, San Diego and Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She has over thirty five years of communications and marketing experience, much of it self employed and specializing in Latin America. Her most visible campaign was on the passage of NAFTA, while working as a foreign agent for the Government of Mexico. In 2002, Kate relocated to work for the City of Lompoc and helped grow the infant wine industry. In Lompoc she met the love of her life, married Norm Yost on 01/01/10 and began working for Flying Goat Cellars. She now enjoys being a proprietor in a family business, marketing and selling Norm’s handcrafted wines. Kate is also a CoastHills Credit Union supervisory committee member, Lompoc Wine Alliance board director and Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association board director. She has previously been a board director of Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission, as well as a planning commissioner for the City of Lompoc.
We are best friends and playmates and enjoy our time together, especially traveling the world, sea kayaking, ocean swimming, practicing yoga, hiking, skiing, sailing, cooking, beekeeping, gardening, hanging out at our geodesic dome home and visiting with friends and family. We have become so passionate about our beekeeping activities that we are called “Bee Busters” as we extract unwanted colonies and swarms, relocating them to a nearby sanctuary. Our bees make delicious Hush Honey that we sell at the tasting room.
Pets inspired our label and continue to be a part of our life. In July 2013, we brought home a 7-week old “lapador” puppy, Cooper. Soon thereafter, the New Times SLO featured him as “The Pinot Puppy.” Cooper entertains guests at the tasting room with his playful spirit and endless fetching. Many remember Cacau, our chocolate lab, who passed away just shy of 14 years of age in 2012.
Marji Fox Gilstrap is our Office Manager and Bookkeeper. She is a sixth generation Santa Barbara County resident (formerly Carpinteria, transplanted to Lompoc in 1987). Marji is proud to have raised four wonderful kids as a largely single mother, while working at a local veterinary clinic followed by a large farming operation. Now remarried and an empty nester, Marji and her husband have a menagerie of critters, including several dogs, cats, chickens, a horse, and various reptiles. They enjoy hiking, kayaking, body boarding, gardening, yoga, and basically all outdoor activities. Marji came to Flying Goat in November 2015, and loves being part of our team, eager to learn about all aspects of the winemaking industry.