Meet the Team
Our accomplished team of professionals includes some of the best in the business, many of whom are CIA alumni. Learn more about our team below.
John Riggio, CIA ’07
Director—Food and Beverage
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 2007, John and his wife jumped on a plane and flew to the Napa Valley. Touring the vineyards and tasting rooms of Napa and Sonoma gave him the wine bug and John continued to study with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009. His next stops on the wine route were the vineyards and restaurants of France, where he developed a deep appreciation for French hospitality and the wines of the Rhone Valley.
After opening his first property with Wolfgang Puck in Washington, DC, a 250,000 square-foot restaurant, banquet, and event center, John took over the wine program and developed an international list focused on both well-known producers and smaller, Virginia wineries. As he moved across the country buying wine, conducting tastings and training staff, John worked at large and small properties from Texas to California, and continued to search for unique producers making great wine in unlikely places.
Now, after returning to the Napa Valley, John has begun to build a diverse wine and cocktail program for The Grove at Copia that is rooted in the great, classic wines of the valley, but also celebrates the exploration of small California producers who are growing non-traditional varieties and using natural fermentation techniques.
On the cocktail side, John is taking inspiration from Copia’s Culinary Gardens, and is pairing savory items, like fresh sage leaves, Fennell syrups, carrot juice, cilantro, with small batch gins, rums, and tequilas from Sonoma County.
Always hungry to further his education, John is currently pursuing advanced certification through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Outside work, John and his family love to hunt through the restaurants and food trucks of Oakland, San Francisco, and the Bay Area. And even though he calls Napa home, his favorite wines come from a little further south in Paso Robles and Santa Barbara (don’t tell the locals).
Zack Mutrux, CIA ’12
Growing up in Missouri, Zack was really into cooking from a young age. He always had a knack in the kitchen, but didn’t realize it was possible to turn his passion into a career. After working in restaurants for seven years, Zack visited Napa and toured the CIA at Greystone in St. Helena, CA and he instantly knew it was the ticket to finding his way in the industry. He fell in love with the Napa Valley, and he and his wife moved there, both determined to succeed. After graduating from the CIA at Greystone, Zack began working at PRESS Restaurant in St. Helena, CA, where he quickly worked up the ranks to sous chef. He then moved on to work catering around the Valley. Soon after, one of his chef-instructors from CIA connected him with Chef Dominic, who has brought him on as the sous chef at The Grove.
Ashley Goodloe, CIA ’20
Ashley’s love for baking began when she was little—spending time with her grandmother in the kitchen. Growing up in Costa Rica, she began her own business making custom cakes and that inspired her to further her career in the pastry industry. After graduating high school, Ashley made her way to San Antonio, TX to pursue her pastry chef dreams and attend the Culinary Institute of America, where she graduated in 2020. Post-graduation, she moved to Georgia and began her career as a banquet pastry chef at Sea Island, a luxury five-star resort. One of her favorite things about her work is that she has the opportunity to travel the world and practice her passion—and that is what drew her to Napa to work for her alma mater at CIA at Copia. Ashley is grateful to be able to make beautiful, sweet creations in the heart of Napa Valley.
Jacob was born and raised in Napa and seeks to help heal our relationships with land and food. Working as an organic farm camp counselor, native and edible landscape, harvest intern and vineyard crewmate, he has grown to appreciate the gifts each season brings to our lives and our tables. After managing his university garden, he now works with CIA to provide a bounty of fresh produce for chefs and students all year long. He loves chatting with anyone who wanders through the Copia gardens and is building community by partnering with other local farmers and seed keepers. When he’s not gardening, Jacob likes to spend his free time hiking, reading, or watching science fiction, and making blackberry wine at home.
Rachel Kohn Obut
Rachel Kohn Obut fell in love with gardening as a child, enamored by the joys of eating and cooking with just picked strawberries. After graduating from Oberlin College in 2005, she dove into farming. She has been managing mixed vegetable and flower farms and culinary gardens in Napa and Sonoma since 2010 and is excited to bring her years of experience to the CIA Gardens at Copia. When Rachel is not working in the garden, she enjoys hiking, yoga, cooking what she has grown, and spending time with her young daughter.