Mario Zepponi has extensive experience performing valuations and negotiating and structuring purchase, sale and lease transactions. Mario has served as a transaction advisor to several companies, including beverage alcohol brands, winery estates and parties seeking to create strategic alliances. Prior to forming Zepponi & Company, Mario practiced law as a corporate, real estate and food and beverage attorney. He has extensive expertise in advising on asset, stock purchase and joint venture transactions, buy-sell agreements, leases, sourcing and processing agreements, sales and marketing agreements and succession planning issues.
Mario received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and his law and MBA degrees from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He has served on several business and community non-profit advisory boards.
Matt Franklin has nearly twenty years of corporate finance advisory experience, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financing, valuations and technical accounting. Matt has been an advisor on numerous beverage alcohol industry transactions and has completed more than 100 business valuations and valuation-related consulting projects. Matt was previously a managing director at a boutique investment banking firm in San Francisco where he provided sell-side and buy-side transaction advisory services to food and beverage companies. Matt also worked for KPMG’s Investment Management Services Group where he provided assurance and advisory services to investment banks, private equity firms, mutual funds, hedge funds and broker/dealers.
Matt’s professional credentials include certified public accountant (CPA) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter-holder. Matt also holds the following securities registrations as a representative of Finalis Securities LLC: Series 7 (General Securities Representative), Series 79 (Investment Banking Representative), and Series 63 (State Securities Representative).
Joe Ciatti has more than forty years of wine industry experience, a deep network of industry influencers, and a long track-record of high profile vineyard and winery transactions in California, Oregon, and Washington. At Zepponi & Company, Joe’s long term relationships and proven track record of successes have proven to be an asset during negotiations. His understanding of the wine industry aids in creating mutually beneficial opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
Joe’s grandfather, Giuseppe Bagnani, owned Sonoma County’s Geyser Peak Winery in Alexander Valley for several decades after Prohibition ended. Joe’s early accomplishments included establishing Joseph W. Ciatti Company and growing it into the world’s largest brokerage of grapes and bulk wines, with offices around the world. In 2005, he became Chairman and CEO of Vintage Wine Trust, a real estate investment trust that was devoted to vineyard and winery properties. Joe received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
Kevin O’Brien has experience advising businesses in the beverage, consumer packaged goods and manufacturing sectors. His beverage experience has been focused in the wine, beer and distilled spirits industries.
Prior to joining Zepponi & Company, Kevin was the Director of Business Advisory at Irvine & Company, a leading beverage alcohol accounting and consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. Kevin worked with numerous winery, brewery and distillery clients on corporate advisory matters, including financial modeling, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to his work in the Pacific Northwest, he was an investment analyst for a San Francisco-based consumer product focused private equity firm where he completed debt, equity and acquisition transactions in the food and beverage industries. Kevin began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers working within the firm’s private company group providing assurance services to various wine, manufacturing and retail clients.
Kevin has presented on various accounting and finance related topics at the Wine & Spirits Daily Summit, American Craft Spirits Association Convention, Craft Brewers Conference, and Oregon Wine Symposium. He is also a lecturer for Sonoma State University’s Global Executive MBA in Wine Business. Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Portland and holds a certified public accountant (CPA) license.
George Coope, Senior Director of Strategy & Analysis, has more than twenty-five years of investment banking and advisory experience in the wine, beer and distilled spirits industries. Prior to joining Zepponi & Company, George held senior roles at several boutique investment banks in San Francisco and was a founding member of the consumer practice group at Hambrecht & Quist LLC. George also worked in R&D and operations at Miller Brewing Company. George is a former director of Patz & Hall Wine Company and The Coppola Companies.
George graduated with a BA from Stanford University, an MS in food science with a specialization in viticulture and enology from UC Davis and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior to attending UC Davis, he worked as an apprentice to the general manager and winemaker at Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé in Chambolle-Musigny, France. George holds the Series 7 (General Securities Representative), 24 (General Securities Principal) and 63 (State Securities Representative) securities registrations as a registered representative of Finalis Securities LLC. George also holds a certified valuation analyst (CVA) designation from the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.
Cody Jennings is a Senior Vice President with Zepponi & Company and has been with the firm since 2009. Prior to joining Zepponi & Company, Cody was a senior financial analyst at Jackson Family Wines, where he managed all farming-related finance and accounting matters for the company’s portfolio of wineries.
Cody plays an active role in the firm’s transaction review and assessment processes, performing business valuations and working directly with clients to develop strategic marketing materials. He was actively involved in the closing of several transactions, including Chalk Hill Estate Winery, Four Vines and Langtry Estate.
Cody received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Sonoma State University.
Cindy Larson is the Operations Manager for Zepponi & Company. She is responsible for the administrative and general operations of the firm, which includes oversight of finance, accounting and human resource matters. Cindy has more than twenty years of experience in finance and wine industry accounting and operations. She has 10 years of experience in real estate finance prior to moving to the wine industry as an accounting manager.
Cindy graduated from Sacramento State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance.
Jessica Bird is a Senior Associate with Zepponi & Company, and has been working with the firm since it began. Her primary responsibilities include assisting in the creation of client marketing materials, reviewing and facilitating the exchange of due diligence materials, managing closing and escrow activities, and interfacing with clients, buyers and their consultants, as well as preparing and managing transaction data rooms. Jessica is a licensed real estate salesperson.
Jessica has assisted in the closing of several transactions, including White Cottage Ranch, Chalk Hill Estate Winery, and Kenwood Vineyards, as well as several other wineries and vineyards across California, Oregon and Washington.
Prior to Zepponi & Company, Jessica was employed in the legal field, working on matters ranging from family law to corporate and class action litigation. She also has a background in graphic design and restaurant management.
Lisa Manning joined Zepponi & Company as an Associate in September, 2016. Lisa’s primary responsibilities include providing client support, managing document workflow throughout the transaction process, reviewing and facilitating the exchange of due diligence materials, managing closing and escrow activities, and interfacing with clients, buyers and their consultants, as well as preparing and managing transaction data rooms. She is also responsible for coordinating client communications and assisting in the creation of client marketing materials.
Prior to joining Zepponi & Company, Lisa served as a Litigation and Transaction Paralegal for 30 years working with several notable law firms, including Napa Valley‑based wine industry law firm Dickenson Peatman & Fogerty. During her tenure as a paralegal, Lisa specialized in wine, business and real estate litigation and transaction matters.
Morgen Muñoz joined Zepponi & Company as an Associate in May 2019. Morgen’s primary responsibilities include providing client support, managing document workflow throughout the transaction process, preparing and managing transaction data rooms, coordinating client communications, and assisting in the creation of client marketing materials.
Prior to joining Zepponi & Company, Morgen worked as a litigation paralegal and investigator. She assisted on a broad range of cases ranging from human rights to probate and personal injury. Morgen graduated from Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business with a B.S. in Commerce in Finance and Political Science.