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Waits-Mast Family Cellars was founded by Brian Mast and Jennifer Waits in 2005. Before we started making wine we were passionate wine consumers. Many weekend getaways were spent exploring wineries across California and a few special trips exposed us to wines in France, Switzerland and New Zealand.
By 2000, we were attending the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and dipped our toes into the winemaking scene by sitting in on the event’s technical conference. The Pinot Noir immersion that weekend, along with the warm and welcoming wine community of Anderson Valley, prompted us to take our love for pinot noir to a new level.
In 2005 we crafted our first barrel of Pinot Noir and by 2007 we launched Waits-Mast Family Cellars as a small, yet focused commercial brand that cemented our shift from wine geeks to winemakers.
We have always and continue to make our wine in San Francisco, currently at the Mansfield-Dunne winery in the Bayview district of the city.
As a boutique operation, we are grateful for the assistance and guidance we receive from our winemaker Shalini Sekhar who has worked with us since the 2013 vintage.
We began working with Shalini in 2013 when she was the Custom Crush Winemaker at ROAR Wines in San Francisco. A former musician (she earned a Master’s Degree in Flute & Piccolo Performance), she shifted to a career in wine; marrying the same combination of art and science that fueled her passion for music.
She studied Enology and Viticulture at Fresno State University, honing her skills at Williams-Selyem Winery, Copain Custom Crush (now Punchdown Cellars), and Bluxome Street winery. While at ROAR, she made wine for Waits-Mast Family Cellars, Furthermore Pinot Noir (2013-2015), Neely Wine, and several smaller brands. She continues to make Waits-Mast Family Cellars wines in San Francisco and the Neely family’s wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Shalini was included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2019 Winemakers to Watch, recognizing her work with both Waits-Mast and Neely wines.
When Shalini is not at the winery or in the vineyard, she’s busy studying for her WSET Diploma and chasing after her two small children.