' Le Cuvier - Staff



John Munch, Co-owner, Wine Herd/Winemaker & Elliptical Pontificator. The origins of Le Cuvier's original winemaker & co-owner harken to another land & time. While out crabbing, the Chupete Indians of Costa Rica found Munch, a toothless toddler, amongst mosquitoes & mangrove roots in the littoral swamps of the Caribbean coast. The particulars of his birth & lineage remain unclear. In his formative years, it is said, Munch was taken from the Chupete tribe by a missionary dragline operator & his wife, & variously educated in secular & missionary schools throughout Central America. He ultimately completed his education in California, where he almost acquired a post-graduate degree in early West-Saxon poetry.

Munch has gained a fine reputation as founder & winemaker of several failed winery operations in the Paso Robles area, & with partner Mary Fox, he now persists in running Le Cuvier winery. As Wine Herd, Munch sees his role as shepherd to the "feral beasties" that accompany the finest fruit from the finest vineyard into the winery, allowing grapes to interact and ferment in their own natural state, free of intervention from such effete constructs as commercial strains of yeast. Providing the right musical sound track to enhance this ideal environment appears to be his only useful contribution to the winemaking process. 

Mary Fox, Co-owner, Doctor of Organizational Psychology, President, CFO, & Omnipotent Organizer. Mary was researching the possibility of investing in vineyard property on California’s Central Coast in 2000 when she serendipitously engaged Munch as consultant for her project. She soon became entrapped by the glamour & deeply refined complexity of the Le Cuvier operation, & shortly thereafter joined Munch as an equal partner in the winery. In addition to her considerable professional skills, Dr. Fox also brought much needed cash to the partnership. She appears to have found a life project in her new association, where she now applies all her energies in an attempt to create organizational order. 

Favorite Variety: Depends on the food.

Clay Selkirk, Head Winemaker. Clay joined Le Cuvier in February 2013. He comes from winemaking stock - his family owns & operates Cayucos Cellars, where Clay toiled in all aspects of the business before we lured him to our hilltop winery. He is uniquely familiar with Le Cuvier wines, as the Selkirks engage in similar winemaking practices at Cayucos Cellars - native yeast fermentation & extended barrel aging, most notably. In addition to managing cellar operations, Clay often represents Le Cuvier at events, does the vast majority of our manual labor, and provides lots of feedback on our food pairing creations. He really likes that part of the job.

Favorite Variety: Grenache.



Diane Flores-Duffy,  Sales & Wine Club Manager. Diane is essentially on her third tour of duty with Le Cuvier. She returned to the winery in March 2016 after a harrowing 14-month-long medical absence, from which she recovered with the help of the winery & its generous members. Most importantly, she returned to Le Cuvier with all her wits intact, thus eminently qualifying her for employment at Le Cuvier. Diane first joined the staff back in 2004 as wine club administrator, but efficiently worked herself out of a job when the Elliptical Society filled up. She never really disappeared, though, volunteering for events & shamelessly promoting Le Cuvier while pursuing other opportunities in the wine world. In late 2009, John & Mary realized a need for more proselytizing, & knew Diane’s previous life as a journalist, coupled with her passion for wine & words, would be a good match for the tasting room. She was engaged in all manner of promoting Le Cuvier & tending to its club members when she was knocked out by the aforementioned medical emergency. So here she is once more, nurturing care of the esteemed Elliptical Society membership & singing the praises of our wines to whoever will listen.

Favorite Variety: A good wine.

Mo Colwell,  Winery Concierge. Mo came aboard in December 2010 to lead sales at Le Cuvier. Mo’s early exposure to Le Cuvier was “word of mouth” enthusiasm expressed by Elliptical Society members whom she met along her wine sharing journeys. Mo has extensive experience in business & sales - & wears the accessories to show it. She cites her energetic personality as key to her success. She moved to Paso Robles from Lake Tahoe in 2006 & immediately immersed herself in the wine business, at an especially hectic & crowd-luring tasting room. Le Cuvier’s intimate, members-based emphasis, in contrast, has presented her with unique & exciting challenges. Even in a cavernous, chilly barrel room, Mo manages to warm up every visitor to the Le Cuvier experience. We know you'll find her irresistible.

Favorite Variety: Cabernet Franc.

Lea Banks, Assistant Tasting Room Manager. Native to the Central Coast, Lea joined our winery family in February 2016. Sharing a passion for drinks of all types, Lea first entered the beverage industry as a Shift Lead at Joebella Coffee Roasters. After prepping coffee for Paso’s finest—including several Le Cuvier employees—Lea made the leap to wine. Managing a team proved easy after growing up with four younger brothers. She further exhibited her leadership skills at both Doce Robles and Veris Cellars before moving to Le Cuvier. Known for her quick wit and laidback style, Lea is a natural people person who’s at her best on the tasting room floor.  Beneath that sweet exterior, an incredibly savvy saleswoman awaits you!

Favorite Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon.


John Menges, Chef. A recent addition to the family, Chef John came aboard April of 2016. Because he shares a name with our illustrious Wine Herd, he is known to answer to numerous and mostly nonsensical nicknames, including "CJ," to "JJ," "Chef," "Cheffity Chef," and "Mike." John has made his mark at various Central Coast and Bay Area Restaurants including the Black Cat Bistro and Cass House Cayucos. While he briefly retired from cooking to run a gardening business, we successfully lured John back into the professional kitchen. Always clad in his chef coat, John is a formidable force at the chopping block and in the tasting room. Come by and try his homemade pairings, made fresh daily.

Favorite Variety: Depends on the food.


David O'Leary, Tasting Room Host. After several years of working in the world of sales training, David retired to Paso Robles, where he has spent the past eight years working in local tasting rooms. He joined the Le Cuvier staff in spring 2013 & quickly earned the nickname "Taz," as in Tasmanian Devil. His take-charge energy, as well as his thirst for wine knowledge, is sure to leave an indelible impression on you.

Favorite Variety: Zinfandel.

Miranda Thompson, Tasting Room Host. A hardcore Le Cuvier fan, Miranda joined the Elliptical Society before joining our staff. She assists in our tasting room on weekends, while teaching Special Education full-time at San Luis Obispo High School. Miranda and her husband, Jeremy, purchased a ranch in the San Miguel area, where they grow their own produce, raise chickens for eggs, and hope to plant Malbec some day. In her rare spare time, Miranda teaches archery and studies for the Level 1 Sommelier Exam.

Favorite Variety: Mourvedre.