The Team

Helen Yanek

Helen was born in Munich, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1950. Her father, from Poland, and her mother, from Bulgaria, were slave laborers during WWII. She attended the University of Łódź, Poland on scholarship, during the Cold War, a poignant time in history. The historical perspective gave her a deep appreciation for her parents’ courage and resilience as new citizens in the United States.

Professionally, Helen embraced the entrepreneurial spirit of her father and opened several successful retail stores. She became a well-respected business woman and was a board member for several industry organizations. She credits much of her success to the work ethic she learned from her parents.

Deanne Travis

Deanne graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Service and received a Masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Aside from working in her family’s business, she was an Account Coordinator for Tiffany & Company’s Asian and Middle East Accounts and Director of Marketing for State of the World Forum.

As the daughter of entrepreneurial parents, with a passion for global affairs and human rights, she continually strives to connect with others and gain a deeper understanding of the world. She feels fortunate to be living in the Bay Area, which ignited her love of wine.

Matt Montrose

Matt was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most diverse and multicultural metropolitan areas of the United States. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a B.S in Linguistics. His wine career included tenure at some of the most reputable restaurants in the country, including the 3-Star Michelin restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

His passion and expertise in the world of fine wine led him to join Helen and Deanne in this exciting enterprise. With them, he has grown to find a deep appreciation for Bulgaria and its emerging wine scene. He currently is Kristova Family Partner's Bulgarian Wine Ambassador where he strives to promote Bulgarian wine to the American market.

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