Our People

Our People

 

Norm Yost is our Winemaker and Proprietor, who 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 38 vintages in the industry, Norm has 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 for both World of Pinot Noir and Santa Barbara Vintners; an advisory board member for Allan Hancock College Viticulture and Oenology Program; and formerly a board director for Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance and a winemaking instructor at Allan Hancock College.

Kate Griffith is our Chief Philosopher and Proprietor, who graduated with master’s degrees from the University of California, San Diego and Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She has over 38 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 board director for CoastHills Credit Union. She has previously been a board director for Santa Barbara Vintners, Lompoc Wine Alliance, Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association, Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission (Visit Santa Barbara), 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.

André

André Baltazar celebrated his one year anniversary with Flying Goat last March. He is proud to have completed the full cycle, from harvest to completion, with one of our wines: 2017 Pinot Gris. André has become an indispensable part of our team over the past year and is now our Cellar Master and Goat Whisperer.

A self described “military brat,” André traveled the world with his family until they settled their roots in Lompoc in 2000. Originally recruited into the wine industry for his people skills in the tasting room, André quickly fell in love with the artistry, science and intense manual labor of crafting wine. In March 2017, André came on board Flying Goat with six years experience in the wine industry. He continues his hunger for knowledge and eagerly participates in wine blending and other production decisions.

André is very proud of his “beautiful fiancée and four insanely good looking children.” His dream and future goal is to “become one of the great winemakers of the world and create a legacy for his children.” André hopes that one day he can inspire them and become their hero, the way his father is to him.

Justin Yott is the newest addition to our team. He has been our Tasting Room Associate since April. He has a diverse background, from working in his family’s restaurant/food truck to running a wine bar. He has also worked for other wineries, such as Arthur Earl and Kenneth Volk. He loves to share his knowledge in wine with our guests and is quite charming. Come by and meet Justin soon!