Management

Maria Gabriela Soto

CEO

Gaby graduated from law school at the Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela in May, 1999.

In June of 1999, she started working with the Amicorp Group, which provides specialized financial services to clients worldwide.

Through its global network of offices, Amicorp provides tailored made services involving corporate and trust management services, fund administration, private wealth and estate planning, corporate, asset and project finance structuring and business process outsourcing.

During her ten year career at Amicorp she worked at several offices (Curacao, Amsterdam, Miami, New York, Luxembourg and Shanghai) as VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas and interim Managing Director.

Since June 2009, Gaby has been working full time in the inception of the Alpasion Project and currently serves as CEO.

TOINE KNIPPING

Chairman of the Board, CEO

Toine is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the Amicorp Group.

He holds the top executive responsibility for strategic development of the Amicorp Group. As co-founder of the firm, he remains closely connected and involved with the global development of new structures for client solutions as well as the development of new offices and markets. Toine’s past professional experience includes positions with several companies located in Curaçao. These include the Antillean Management Corporation Amaco; McLaughlin International Trust and Management Company and the McLaughlin Bank (Supervisory Director); Banco de Venezuela (Interim Branch Manager); and Safra Bank (Managing Director).

Additional international experience includes Credit Lyonnais Bank in the Netherlands and Chase Manhattan Bank in both New York City, USA and in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Toine is a Dutch national from Elst, the Netherlands. He studied Business Administration and Dutch Commercial Law at the University of Brabant in Tilburg and holds an LL.M. (“Mr.”) degree.

Supervisory Board of Directors

Kathy Byrne

I have been involved in Alpasión since the beginning, visiting Mendoza with Gaby and Toine in September 2009, when we bought the land which is now Alpasión Vineyard. I started by helping Gaby on an informal basis with various aspects of the project and I was appointed as a Director of Col Wine Limited in January 2016.

I joined the project because I like to enjoy wine with friends. Over the last six years I have made new friends with other investors that I have met in Mendoza and in London. I am not an expert in wine but was eager to learn more and now have W.S.E.T. Level 2 and Level 3 wine qualifications. Since I have been involved in the project, I have made contacts in the wine industry in the UK via West London Wine School and by contacting distributors directly. I have helped present our wines with our UK distributors, Matthew Clark, at their events, with Wines of Argentina at the London Wine Fair and at a Malbec and Chocolate event at M restaurant. I have also organised two shipments of our wine to the UK for the UK investors.

Professionally, I have been an Executive Director in a range of financial services companies since 1996. I am currently working 3 days per week as a Risk Officer for a small UK mutual life insurance company. I qualified as an actuary in 1992 and have an MBA from Henley Management College. The skills I can bring to the board are in financial oversight and risk management. In 2017, I spent 3 months in Courchevel, France hosting a ski chalet. This involved cooking, cleaning and looking after guests, which means I have hands-on experience in hospitality. In the UK, I have also been assisting in expanding our presence in the UK market, as described above, and will continue to do so.

I am a published author on the topics of savings and restaurants. I edited a photo book about the project and there is a copy of this at the Lodge. I have been working on a Guide to the Vineyards of Mendoza, which I’m hoping to publish soon.

I live in Hertfordshire in the UK.

Angela Smith

When I was studying for my MBA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I had a lofty dream of working in the wine industry. I sought internships in California with big name wine producers but it was not to be. I ended up with an internship in Houston, Texas focusing on processes for a software installation for a small outsourcing company. It was here that I met my future husband, Mark W (a Baylor University graduate), who was working for the client.

Together we became more focused on practical career matters and the thought of working in the wine industry quietly receded. However, dining out and drinking wine became our favorite hobby and our love and interest in wine grew. Mark W pursued a career in consulting, public accounting and eventually landed in the oil & gas industry. I went down the path of hedge fund operations during a short stint in Connecticut and eventually enjoyed a thriving real estate career with a boutique real estate firm in Houston, Texas. After achieving a key sales goal, I completely changed focus and embarked on a creative career. I founded Purl & Loop and built a business designing, producing and selling small portable weaving looms to yarn and thread enthusiasts. We owned our own laser machine and had all sorts of fun with custom branding ideas.

Around the time I was starting Purl & Loop, we took a second trip to Argentina and stayed at the Alpasion Lodge. It was a wonderful experience and we made another brief visit while staying in the area for another wine project. At that time, we took the leap and became investors and have been passionate about Alpasion ever since. I look forward to using the social media skills I’ve acquired with Purl & Loop to help with Alpasion’s social media outreach and brand recognition. Since we are currently living primarily in Tulsa, Oklahoma for Mark W’s career as well spending as much of our free time as possible in Houston, I am actively working to support our CEO in bringing the Alpasion brand to Oklahoma and continuing to help it gain more exposure in Texas. We are passionate foodies and wine lovers and spend about 4 evenings a week dining at the bar with our favorite Tulsa and Houston bartenders.

Eric Andersen

Eric Andersen is a Director of Eclipse Consulting LLC and Eclipse Management B.V., a company management firm licensed and regulated by the Central Bank under the laws of Curaçao. Eric Andersen has been a participant in the industry since 1987 in a variety of positions.

His experience in the Hedge Fund Industry began in 1987 working for companies including MeesPierson Fund Services (currently Fortis Fund Services) and Price Waterhouse (currently PriceWaterhouse Coopers).

He also served as operations manager of Citco Fund Services in Curacao from August 1997 until February 2000.

He was the Managing Director of Amicorp Fund Services from March 2000 until December 2003 and Managing Director of SS&C Fund Services from December 2003 until April 2004.

Eric Andersen is the author of several articles in publications targeted to the hedge fund industry and served as a Co-Chairman of the Funds Industry Association of Curacao and as Chairman of the Board of the Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange from July 2010 to November 2012.

Eric Andersen is a certified public accountant in the state of California.

He has been involved in the Alpasion project from the beginning as our financial controller and Director of the Fund.

Christoph Zaborowski

As an alumni of COL15 and a wine lover, I am happy being part of the Alpasion Group. I am pleased to support the business as a board member and work towards the success of the Alpasion project by endorsing the sales in Switzerland and also partly in Germany with the use of my contacts in both countries –to find new investors but certainly also to find new customers.

We have had our first wine tasting event in Zürich in 2019 and we will have more to come around Europe as we approach this market. Also, as added good measure, I like using Alpasion wines in business events as giveaways, which help to promote and share the amazing portfolio with all sorts of people.

On the other side, I will support the management with my many years of experience and skills being a board member in different companies. I especially enjoy getting involved in start–up companies where one often faces situations that takes more time than one would originally think when you start a business. I love projects that are in start–up phase when things are new and exciting.

Gertrude Schellevis

I am Gertrude, from the Netherlands. Married to Hans in 1983 and we are blessed with two sons in their twenties.

Hans and I are beyond partners in life, we are also business partners. Our companies are in the tourism industry –13 years in the Netherlands with a sailing school and 25 years with a yacht club in Curacao, a resort of about 500 people. We have been shareholders of Alpasion since 2012 and look forward to seeing the evolution of this great project.

We are based in Curacao where there is an important number of investors that we regularly speak to. Of course, we love Argentina and the wine and we very much like the idea to develop Alpasion together with all our wine friends. With our experience in tourism and as entrepreneurs, we believe we can support the management team and contribute a lot of value to the project. Our motto: Good healthy wines give good spirits!

Other Team Members

Karim Mussi

Winemaker

Karim Mussi Saffie has presided over Altocedro SA since 1999. He is its winemaker and entrepreneur both by vocation and by training. His family has been linked to the wine trade for over 30 years. Currently the winery is in its twelfth year of life with 10 vintages that ratify fulfilling their original objectives.

Under the format of “La Consulta Terroir Premium Wines,” Karim has succeeded in positioning his brand in the most demanding and important markets in the world, giving Altocedro Global brand recognition. Besides working on his own winery Karim also advises a number of emerging projects in some of the best Argentine growing areas.

In 2007 he was recognized with the award “Outstanding Young Mendoza” by the Consejo Empresario Mendocino in the category “commercial achievements, economic and business”. His Altocedro Malbec Reserva was chosen as one of Wine Spectators “Top 100” Wines of 2008.

Guillermo Cacciaguerra

Agronomist

Guillermo Cacciaguerra is an agronomical engineer with a degree from the National University of Cuyo. He also has a background in all aspects wine-making and is experienced in handling the latest agricultural technology. As a consultant in the Grupo Matura, Guillermo has managed and acted as an advisor for vineyards throughout the Mendoza/Uco Valley region.

Paola Correa

Quality/ISO Manager

Paola Correa is a certified agronomist who has supervised quality control at some of the most prestigious wineries and vineyards in the Mendoza region including Bodega y vinedos Dante Robino and La Esperanza. She is a specialist in process management, including bottling, labeling, hygiene and legal requirements. At Alpasion, Paola supervises all aspects of wine production and inventory control.