Owner & Winemaker
Mark, a mechanical and nuclear engineer by training, began his wine making career listening to a French Cabaret singer with his Father at the Domain Chandon winery in the winter of 1983. He still is not sure if it was the wine or the women, but following that day, he decided to go into the wine business.
After taking a short course in sparkling wine making at UC Davis and spending countless hours in some of the finer sparkling wine cellars in California, Mark set the course to produce a traditional Champagne-style wine produced from Oregon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The first bonded wine was produced in 1984 under the label of Newton & Newton. Great reviews of the 1984 and 1985 wines also produced a law suit from the Newton winery in Napa. Settlement was agreed and the winery changed the name to Whittlesey Mark sparking wine. Sparkling wines were made up through 1990, when the winery shifted its focus to red and white Bordeaux style wines.
Special Events Director & Owner
In 1987, Mark and Donna DiStefano were married. As a wedding gift, Mark promised to make a wine for his new wife. In 1990 the first DiStefano wine was produced, a Fume Blanc (dry Sauvignon Blanc), followed with its first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1991.
Donna provides all forms of support to Mark, both in and out of the Winery. In addition to raising their two lovely children, Donna plays a major role in the development and implementation of the Winery's special events, including formal dinners and special tastings.
Tracey was born and raised in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. While in college for botany, she took a winemaking course, which sparked her interest in wine.
She began working as the laboratory manager at the prestigious Heron Hill Vineyards, under winemaker Thomas Laszlo. The focus at Heron Hill was terroir driven, small-lot Riesling. Thomas was kind in taking her under his wing and expanding her horizon within the wine industry.
After six years at Heron Hill, life took her to southern California, where she spent one vintage as a consultant winemaker for Camarillo Custom Crush. At this winery, consisting of approximately 40 vintners in the LA and Malibu areas, she was introduced to warm climate winemaking. There, she produced micro-lot wines, mainly Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals.
From southern California, she moved to Sonoma to work with Mark Lyon, as his laboratory manager, at Sonoma’s historic Sebastiani Vineyards. Sebastiani is a large-scale winery producing mostly small-lot, artisan wines. Spending 3 years working closely with Mark, in the fast paced lab, taught her many tricks of the trade.
She is delighted to have yet another great opportunity to work in Woodinville, with the DiStefano Winery family, maintaining the DiStefano tradition of high quality, boutique winemaking.
Alla Kostenko arrived in the United States from Russia eleven years ago. She relocated to Seattle from Walla Walla, where she worked at Waterbrook Winery’s tasting room and Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant. She has been named office manager and tasting room assistant for DiStefano Winery. After working at DiStefano for five years, Alla was promoted to Operations Manager and now runs most of the administrative work and manages our Wine Club program. In July of 2011 Alla relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii. She remains to carry some of the administrative duties, as well as sell our wine in Hawaii and work with distributors around the country.
Ralph was born in Washington DC, grew up in Ohio, went to school in Oregon, and has lived in Washington for 11 years. From the early years, Ralph was always a number's guy, has worked as a CPA, a financial auditor, and financial analyst. In his own words, his wine making background is limited, but being a CPA for 26 years has aloud for a strong financial background.