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. Over 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 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 has been with Flying Goat since March 2017. He is proud to have participated in the full wine cycle, from harvest to completion, with our 2017 Pinot Gris and now a growing portfolio. André is our Cellar Master, Goat Whisperer and Norm’s protégé.

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.

Megan McGinnis is a 9th generation Santa Barbaran with a deep passion for wine. After six years of living in New York City and Austin, Megan returned to Santa Barbara County to begin her journey in the wine industry with tasting room sales in 2013. After two years of wine sales and her first level Sommelier certification, she took over the prestigious Wine Program Director position at the Ballard Inn & Restaurant.

In 2015, Megan joined the Flying Goat Cellars production crew to expand her education into winemaking. After two part-time harvests and two full time harvests with us, she is now in the Tasting Room too. She is an indispensable part of our team.

In addition to all things wine, Megan is also a musician, certified yoga instructor, avid gardener, rock-hound and amateur beekeeper! At our last Wine Club Pick-Up Party she amazed us with her a cappellaperformance. Come in and meet Megan at our Tasting Room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, Thursday – Monday 11am-4pm. Let her dazzle you with knowledge of wine and the region.

Katie Bradbury has been a very part-time Tasting Room Associate for the past few years, only because she has a day job at Vandenberg Air Force Base. When we discovered that she has been drawing, painting and dabbling in photography since she was 6 years old, we invited her to have an exhibit of her paintings at the Tasting Room in 2018.

Most of Katie’s free time is spent with her fiancée and his two children. They enjoy surfing, beach days, hiking, skateboarding, having back yard fires and exploring the local food scene. Travel is an important aspect of their life as well, frequenting Lake Tahoe, Oregon and finding hidden gems here in the Central Coast. When asked what is in store for her future, Katie hopes to open an art studio of her own where she can support and promote local artist like herself.