Ultrapremium Wine & Distilled Spirits - Grown, Produced & Bottled in the American Southwest
Flying Leap is a committed team of Arizona family farmers, skilled winemakers & artisan distillers, and a team of passionate wine & spirits retail merchants. Flying Leap is also a full-service, direct distributor of its wines and spirits portfolio to on & off-premise wholesale customers across the United States. We grow a vast portfolio of French, Spanish and Italian winegrapes at our vineyards in southern and southeastern Arizona, and we produce a delicious array of ultrapremium wines and distilled spirits from our harvests.
Flying Leap is also the parent company of Arizona Rub. Arizona Rub is home to a family of premium dry rubs and seasonings that add authentic Southwestern flavor to all BBQ foods, including steaks, chops, ribs, roasts and grilled vegetables. Arizona Rub products are made from the highest quality, premium spices available and contain no MSG or gluten.
Scroll down to learn our
unique story & meet our staff
But First … Take a Photo Tour of Our vineyards, Winery & Distillery
Our Unique Journey from the Cockpit to the Wine Business
Flying Leap Vineyards was founded in 2010 by three lifelong best friends: Mark Beres, Marc Moeller and Tom Kitchens, who met as freshmen in their late teen years at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the late 1980s. Following graduation & commissioning, Mark, Marc and Tom served their country as Air Force pilots in multiple theaters of war and in a number of different roles and aircraft. A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Mark flew as a special operations pilot in the MH-53M Pavelow IV and later graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School, serving as a developmental test pilot for many years. Marc – a native of San Diego, California flew Boeing 757s, serving several US Vice Presidents, First Ladies and Secretaries of State as a distinguished pilot of Air Force Two for many years. Tom “Kitch” Kitchens – a native of Costa Mesa, California flew global airlift missions, flying the Lockheed C-17 for many years in both active duty and in the Air Force Reserve. Our founders performed a tactical rejoin in Arizona following their years of service to found Flying Leap Vineyards, which was incorporated in Vail, Arizona in the Fall of 2010.
Initially envisioned as a collaborative small business venture, primarily as a small-scale wine grape farming operation, the Company began in earnest developing what would later become its Block 1 vineyard in a small, rural agricultural growing area south of Willcox, Arizona known as the “Kansas Settlement”. These initial vines were planted in April 2011, and developed & trellised over three full growing seasons.
During these years and as serendipity would have it, a very young, unknown and somewhat disorganized Flying Leap would purchase a small farm winery called “Canelo Hills” located in the heart of Arizona’s most scenic wine country south of Tucson. The purchase of this property in Elgin in February 2013 launched Flying Leap’s wine retail operations. With a new portfolio of ultra premium wines and a place to market and sell them, Flying Leap’s sales soared. The growing demand for the Company’s wines required more planting, more expansion and the creation of more jobs. Flying Leap’s Block 2 vineyard was planted in 2012 and the estate vineyard was restored and expanded from 2013-2016. In 2016, the Company planted the Block 3 vineyard, and Block 4 is already designed and slated for planting in 2020. Recognizing the folly of fruit sales in the small Arizona wine market, Flying Leap chose instead to design and build a distilling capability so that surplus fruit could be distilled.
The Company began distilling in the Fall of 2016 and opened its distilled spirits tasting room at the winery estate in April 2017. Today, Flying Leap produces between 3,000 and 8,000 cases of wine annually depending on market demand and fruit allocations to the winery and distillery, which share the Company’s annual harvest. Flying Leap operates seven wine tasting rooms and one distilled spirits tasting room in the Arizona market. Our products are grown, produced and bottled by Flying Leap – our wines and brandy-based spirits, including vodka are made from wine grapes harvested by-hand at our southern & southeastern Arizona vineyards. They genuinely express the distinctive terroir of Arizona’s unique growing sites and our microclimate, as well as the skill and patience of our production staff.
Meet Our Team
Company Management Team
J. Michael TalarekRead More
J. Michael TalarekVice-President
E-Mail J. Michael Talarek
I receive a lot of enjoyment and personal satisfaction from finding better ways to do things and building creative solutions that make a difference for others. Professionally, this translates to discovering and creating business value by leveraging technology and contemporary business practices. I’ve worked in Healthcare Information Technology for 30 years. For almost 15 years, I worked at a healthcare data company whose exponential growth was driven by quarterly results. The remainder of my career was primarily with three different multi-billion dollar healthcare systems. My collective experience is a balance between the necessary agility to bring products to market quickly and leveraging corporate frameworks to effectively scale and sustain organizational growth. I received my undergraduate BBA and MBA from the University of Michigan, one of the top business schools in the nation. I believe my professional and educational background are a powerful combination in helping FLV achieve success with our Phase 2 Business Plan.
Nicole MaddoxRead More
Nicole MaddoxGeneral Manager/Events Director/Wedding Coordinator
E-Mail Nicole Maddox
Nicole Maddox is Flying Leap’s General Manager, having a wide scope of responsibilities at the company. She is the primary point-of-contact for events and promotions, including weddings. She grew up right down the road from our our winery estate in neighboring Sonoita, AZ, and she graduated from the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management – a proud Wildcat. She lives in Tucson with her husband and two beautiful daughters. Nicole has spent the last several years coordinating ballet productions and fundraising events for a local Tucson dance company that her daughters dance with. Dance life can be very time consuming, but she has found a way to make it a family affair, recruiting her husband and parents into the productions and even having all three generations perform in The Nutcracker last year. Nicole has a great love of wine and the wine business, and she has a wonderful and uniquely-thoughtful connection with people. Today, Nicole has a primary role in and is an integral part of developing Flying Leap’s wine portfolio and product mix, promoting the Flying Leap brand and managing the working operations of the business’s diverse staff and business segments.
Mark BeresRead More
Mark BeresPresident & CEO/Master Distiller
E-Mail Mark Beres
Mark is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Flying Leap and is the company’s co-founder. A native of Washington State, Mark grew up in Walla Walla, one of Washington’s most exclusive winegrowing regions – his formative years spent steeped in agriculture and ranching. He has several years of successful large-scale commercial viticulture experience, including all aspects of vineyard development, operations and harvesting. These include land preparation, efficient vineyard design, surveying, heavy equipment use, project scheduling and commercial planting. Mark has extensive experience in managing grapevines throughout their life cycle, from nursery to setting of fruit to all aspects of annual vine canopy management and harvest. A highly successful entrepreneur, Mark leads Flying Leap’s core teams – agriculture, production, sales & marketing, and investor relations. Among his chief responsibilities are establishing & executing the company’s business strategies, organizing its infrastructure and promoting Flying Leap’s brands. Mark is also Flying Leap’s Master Distiller. In this role, Mark heads up the distillery production team, is responsible for the production of distilled spirits and is the person behind the design, layout and development of the company’s distillery and distilling infrastructure.
Mark and his wife, Michelle make their home in Vail, Arizona – a suburb of Tucson, where they share their lives with a team of Siberian huskies and one feisty parrot named Sparky. An accomplished cello virtuoso and public speaker, Mark enjoys design work, writing, cooking, the arts – especially classical music, traveling the world, exploring the American southwest and building fine furniture in his woodshop.
Tasting Room Staff/ Sommeliers
Gabriel MoralesRead More
Gabriel MoralesSommelier - Winery Estate Tasting Room
Gabriel Morales is an Arizona native, self-taught chef and skilled wine enthusiast. Gabe has a great passion for the food and wine industry, and he has owned several different restaurants and bars both in the US and Mexico. He loves to explore food and wine pairings, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with customers to enhance their wine country visits.
Kinsey WilsonRead More
Kinsey WilsonSommelier - Prescott Tasting Room
Kinsey is an Arizona native and wine enthusiast. Her passion for wine started right away, growing up in a family of huge “winos.” After spending a semester working for The Walt Disney Company and frequently attending the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, she was able to try wine from around the world. Because of this experience, she knew that she needed to further her education about wine and now hopes to study Viticulture. Spending most of her life in the Phoenix Valley, Kinsey decided to escape the heat and head up North to Prescott, AZ. Much more accustomed to small town living, she now runs our newest Flying Leap Vineyards tasting room located in historical Downtown Prescott.
Sarah DunlapRead More
Sarah DunlapSommelier - Winery Estate Tasting Room
Sarah is originally from North Carolina, but has lived all over the United States as a member of the United States Army. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Sarah spent nearly twelve years in the armed forces, but has recently found her calling as a sommelier here at Flying Leap. She is excited to share her passion with others and expand her knowledge of wines and spirits. Her favorite wines are the Habanero Chili Red and Big Red. Outside of learning her trade as a sommelier, Sarah is particularly interested in sustainability and making our wine production a more environmentally friendly operation.
Karen RollinsRead More
Karen RollinsSommelier - Distillery Tasting Room (Elgin, AZ)
Karen was born and raised in the south and after her father retired from the military, he moved the family to NH. Her work experience ranges from managing a martial arts studio to telephone company lineman and even a dental assistant. Though she remained there for most of her life and worked outside Karen never fit in to the New England lifestyle nor the climate. In 2010 Karen fell in love with AZ after a vacation here with her youngest son. She bought property and waited 7 years until she retired and was able to build her home and move here. AZ is Karen’s little slice of heaven on earth.
Julie KlugeRead More
Julie KlugeSommelier - Flying Leap Winery Estate & Tubac Tasting Rooms
Julie loves to discover new places, foods, and wine whenever possible. Originally hailing from Detroit, she has called Tucson home for over 15 years. She brings her enthusiasm for all the good things in life to Flying Leap and she looks forward to pouring you a flight of our outstanding wines.
Lanny HardyRead More
Lanny HardySommelier - Tubac Tasting Room
Lanny was born and raised in Wisconsin, so he’s a true cheese head. He’s even named his golden retriever – Lambeau. Over the years, Lanny has held leadership positions with a number of national membership organizations including the American College of Occupational Medicine, American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society on Aging. More recently he and his wife have owned a restaurant and managed a historic hotel in Northern California. Lanny is an avid runner and this past year completed both the Chicago and Boston Marathons. He and his son are now training for a 50-mile trail run event.
Sales & Marketing/Events & Promotions
Brandon BeresRead More
Brandon BeresLogistics & Wholesale Program Deliveries
Brandon has a number of roles at Flying Leap, but he primarily serves as the company’s wholesale program delivery driver. As the breadth of Flying Leap’s distribution has grown, the need for a statewide delivery capability has as well. Brandon manages the receipt, packing and delivery of Flying Leap wines and spirits on behalf of our wholesale clients, and he cheerfully brings the Flying Leap delivery truck from our winery estate cellars and barrelhouses to our wholesale clients on weekly delivery runs around the state. In his free time, Brandon enjoys fishing, camping and kayaking in southern Arizona’s lakes & rivers, and he loves keeping aquariums and has collected a wonderful assortment of tropical fish.
Greg MaciullaRead More
Greg MaciullaBrand Ambassador/Wholesale Accounts Manager
E-Mail Greg Maciulla
Greg is a Tucson native, having lived in the southwestern United States his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he studied Communication and Spanish. He has had the opportunity to travel throughout Latin America as well as live and study in Guadalajara, MX and Alicante, Spain. He has a deep passion for the outdoors and is an accomplished archer. Greg has always loved fine wines and spirits and he grew up working in of some of Tucson’s finest restaurants. He has also spent over 6 years as a fine wine and spirits distributor and loves to share his knowledge and passion with everyone.
Steve BrownRead More
Steve is Flying Leap’s Director of Agriculture, with wide responsibility and scope of authority to manage the company’s agricultural and property operations as well as manage Flying Leap’s viticulture teams. Steve is a native of Indiana and grew up in one of the most diverse agricultural areas in the world. Steve spent a considerable amount of his youth in the fields and developed a true love of the earth. As a successful entrepreneur, Steve turned this love of the earth into a career steeped in agriculture and excavation. He has more than 25 years of experience with heavy diesel equipment operations & maintenance, both on the operational and mechanical side, as well as land surveying and excavation. While in Indiana Steve developed an appreciation for wine and became fascinated with the abundant variety of grapes and their unique characteristics. His move to Arizona only furthered his fascination with wine grapes and his pursuit of viticulture knowledge. Steve and his wife, Mea live just south of Tubac, Arizona with their son CJ. When Steve isn’t tending to the vineyards at Flying Leap he enjoys cooking for his family and friends, painting, traveling, and spending time with his dog, Bourbon and his horse, Whiskey.