The Le Cuvier Team


John Munch

in memoriam - wine herd, plenipotentiary & 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.

Clay Selkirk

head winemaker & all-around cowboy

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 - wild 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.


Mika Toke

resident vampire

Born and raised in Transylvania, the land of vampires which, for good reason, also has one of the highest per capita consumption of red wine in the world, Mika moved to the US (Los Angeles) in late 2003 with a struggling vocabulary (now clearly overcome) and a passion for learning. In 2005 she moved to San Luis Obispo in order to learn by doing at Cal Poly SLO, and her passion quickly migrated to the local wine industry in the early months of 2009.

At Le Cuvier, Mika enjoys the dynamics of our fabulous team, the offered guests experiences, having an onsite commercial kitchen and pairings to brag about, as well as the fabulous hilltop view.

Hobbies: Art, sea glass collecting, rainbow hunting
Favorite part of the winemaking process: barrel fermentation.
Favorite local restaurants: Goshi, Novo, Robin’s, Mistura, La Cosecha
Favorite memory: picking Tannat from A vineyard in the Adelaida AVA
Corky Trait: cooking too much food & expecting everyone else to eat it
Favorite things about Le Cuvier: 1. The wine 2. The view 
Favorite Variety: Cabernet Franc
Miranda Thompson

vp of quality control

Miranda is what you might call a hardcore LC fan from way back. She was born and raised in Paso Robles and has been enjoying Le Cuvier wines from the moment she reached legal drinking age, and absolutely no sooner. Her in-laws were longtime Le Cuvier wine club members and friends of our proprietor’s brother, they introduced her to the wines and in 2014 Miranda signed up for the Elliptical society. Some time later, she was tasting at the winery every weekend when one day Mo said, “do you just want to work here?” to which Miranda replied, “is that a choice?”… and the rest is history. Miranda and her husband Jeremy have a small ranch in San Miguel where they live with their three dogs, two goats, and countless chickens. On their land they grow Cabernet Sauvignon and hope to make their own wine one day soon. Miranda is a positive ray of sunshine to all those who cross paths with her. From working in special education for 15 years to spending her summers as the director of programs for Camp Natoma, Miranda has a big heart and lots of love for her home here on the central coast.

  • Hobbies: wine education, archery, being in nature
  • Favorite part of the winemaking process: Quality control, of course!
  • Favorite local restaurants: The Hatch, La Cosecha, Giuseppes
  • Favorite Le Cuvier memory: Library Cab Franc tasting; tasted '05, '09, and '12 vintages and the '05 smelled like the redwood forest floor
  • Corky trait: drinking wine with chickens
  • Favorite variety: depends on what she's eating, though she's partial to Cabernet Franc
Tim Small

qui apporte la joie

While originally being born and raised in Long Beach California, Tim’s family relocated to Paso Robles back in 2005 where he finished his senior year of high school. Not really knowing what clear direction he wanted to take with his career, he joined the United States Navy and served for multiple years. When his service was complete, Tim wanted something laid back and relaxing. He came back to the area and ended up getting his first winery gig working in production, starting his love and passion for the wine industry. Since then, he has not looked back. Wine and food play a huge part in Tim’s life, making Le Cuvier a perfect fit!

  • Hobbies: Reading, Gaming, Surfing, Eating
  • Favorite Part of the Winemaking Process: Feeling the heat off of fermenting grapes
  • Favorite Local Restaurants: The Hatch, The Guest House, Paso Terra
  • Favorite Le Cuvier Memory: My First Day!
  • Corky Trait: Can Recite Harry Potter
  • Favorite Varietal: Furmint​
Thomas Cherry

master cellar rat

Thomas was born and raised in the central valley of California. Desperately wanting to explore outside of his comfort zone, he spent 5 years traveling the world in the United States Navy. It was his time spent in Italy that made him fall in love with wine. Upon completion of his tour, he took a harvest internship in Santa Ynez that solidified his passion of winemaking. Wanting to learn everything he could about the winemaking process, Thomas graduated from Cal Poly’s Winemaking program. He began working for Le Cuvier in 2019 and has taken over the role of Assistant Winemaker in 2021. Outside of the winery for him is nothing short of an adventure with his wife, two sons, and four dogs. “Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate and regret”

  • Hobbies: Camping, going to the beach, going to concerts, woodworking
  • Favorite part of the winemaking process: The fact that there is something different to do at any given point in the year. It’s not the same process day in and day out.
  • Favorite local restaurants: Su Casa, Oyster Loft (Pismo), Street Side Ale House
  • Favorite things about Le Cuvier: Any time we celebrate a team member's birthday with a charcuterie platter and wine.
  • Favorite Variety: Pinot Noir (or Grenache)
Alex Curley

amateur d'alcool


In west Atascadero born and raised, 

The central coast is where he's lived most of his days. 

Chillin' out, hiking, camping like a fool,

Even was a boy scout outside of school.

After a couple of years he was doing so good,

Learning at a college in his neighborhood. (Cal Poly SLO)

He loved craft beer, but his mom wasn’t scared.

She said, “One day you’ll like red wine, especially when it's paired.”

Developed his palate with her day after day,

Then he finally made his way to Le Cuvier.

Getting the job was like a golden ticket,

He really liked the wine so he thought “I’ll stick with it.”

Now he’s pouring wine and planning events,

His love for fine wine is truly immense.

One day he’ll do sales and hopefully travel,

But only time will tell how his path shall unravel.


  • Hobbies: Hiking, gaming, movies, karaoke, and wine tasting
  • Favorite Part of the Winemaking Process: Watching and tasting the wine bubble out of the barrel during fermentation
  • Favorite Local Restaurants: Buona Tavola, Thomas Hill Organics, Pappy McGregor’s
  • Favorite Le Cuvier Memory: Our team Christmas party at the winery or singing with the kitchen crew “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys in perfect harmony
  • Corky Trait: Getting constant goosebumps throughout the day, especially after the first delicious sip of wine 
  • Favorite Varietal: Grenache all day!
Nolan Rougeot

Native to Paso Robles, Nolan has yet to live anywhere else. With plans to possibly venture out one day, life quickly changed after joining Le Cuvier in June of  2021; an establishment where his love for wine and food blossomed. Aside from the beautiful view atop the hill, pairing wine with food is what really piqued his interest. His love for delectable food bites and passion for cooking directly line up with the mantra of the Le Cuvier kitchen. His aspiration remains to expand his palette and knowledge under the tutelage of Chef Rachael & team. Nolan wishes to continue excelling at executing beautiful, creative & delicious wine pairings which captivate our guests palates and make them delighted to participate in the Le Cuvier experiences.  


Hobbies: Driving backroads , exploring nature, cooking for friends

Favorite part of the winemaking process: When going from tank to barrel, you get to taste the winemakers cotton candy (carbonated grape foam)

Favorite Le Cuvier memory:  2022 pickup party, when we get to work on a lot of plates at once as a team 

Corky Trait: Starting a new project, when i haven't even finished my first project

Favorite varietal/wine: Zinfandel & Red Bat


Justin Gajewski

server of southern hospitality

Born and raised in Houston, Tx, Justin never really knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. With a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a background including corporate finance, luxury retail and facility operations and occupancy management, talking with people has always been the most fun part of everything he did. After moving half way across the country, he thought he would try something new and with less stress: wine. Little did he know Le Cuvier would give him the insight that you can find your passion at any age and don't necessarily have to grow up.

  • Hobbies: reading, napping, alcohol tastings
  • Favorite part of the winemaking process: drinking and enjoying it with others
  • Favorite local restaurants: 11:22, Pony Club, Andrea's On Pine
  • Favorite memory: smelling the Petite Sirah grapes as they were pressed
  • Corky Trait: asking the dogs what wine I should drink next
  • Favorite things about Le Cuvier: The team and the wine
  • Favorite Variety: Montepulciano
Lloyd Herrera

paysagiste et artiste

Diane Duffy

in memoriam - elliptical proselytizer

Diane was a recognizable face at Le Cuvier. She had the honor of working at all three of Le Cuvier’s locations over the years: the original little red farmhouse on Adelaida Road, the rustic barn with its funky blacklight restroom, and finally the Vine Hill home property  (she dubbed ‘the Taj Mahal’). She moved to San Luis Obispo county in pursuit of adventures in her trained profession of journalism, before she and her wine-loving husband became thoroughly distracted by the allure of the region’s wine world (in particular the maverick antics of one Mr. John Munch). During her affiliation with Le Cuvier, she has served as wine club administrator, tasting room host, marketing muse and overall Elliptical pontificator. As one of the longest tenured employees, she knew where the bodies are buried, but never revealed the true identities of anyone involved to protect the innocent. 

The Le Cuvier family is saddened by the 2024 loss of our marvelous wordsmith and vows to keep her memory alive. The Diane Flores-Duffy memorial wine stave adirondack chairs are on display at the property overlooking the vast expanse to the east and watching the sun rise every morning. 


winery cat & big boss

Otis, affectionately called "Oatie" and "Mr. McFluffers," is the most treasured wild beastie here at Le Cuvier. He saunters around the parking lot, always on a secret mission. What mission you ask? Well he keeps his eyes focused on any open windows in the stagnant vehicles of unsuspecting guests. Once he zeroes in on an open crevice leading into a beautiful SUV, he prepares for the jump. It is there, in the driver's seat of a guest's vehicle that he finds true peace. 

  • Hobbies: Bringing live lizards to tables full of guests who are enjoying a nice lunch, playing with red string, and rolling around in the dirt and stickers
  • Favorite Le Cuvier Memory: A nice basket to sleep in
  • Favorite Local Restaurants: Catnip
  • Corky Trait: Everything