Our Team

Our Team

Whitebarrel creates happiness through our wine. We offer each of our guests an inviting and fun atmosphere where they can relax & reflect, while enjoying our high-quality, affordable, hand-crafted wines, surrounded by the natural beauty of our vineyards and the unsurpassed service of our staff. Whitebarrel is a leader in quality service, quality wine, and quality farm-to-table food and prides itself in being an example to the Virginia Wine Industry. Our satellite wine and tapas bars located in Blacksburg, Richmond (coming soon), Northern Virginia (coming soon), and our new east coast “Wine Truck” (coming soon), provide not only award-winning Whitebarrel wine, but excellent examples of Virginia Wine to each of our guests and highlighting wine from across Virginia.


Dr. Richard Obiso
Owner, Winemaker, & General Manager

Rik is a successful entrepreneur, having started and managed several successful companies from the ground up. Rik earned a PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and has a primary background in product development of bacterial diagnostics. Rik left the corporate world of biotech in the Washington DC area in 2006 and started out consulting for the US Government in biodefense, and started Whitebarrel at the same time. At Whitebarrel, Rik oversees everything from winemaking and marketing to distribution and sales. Rik is working to make Whitebarrel the best winery on the East coast for wine quality and customer satisfaction. Rik runs several wine research projects at the winery, and manages the day-to-day operations of the business. Rik is also working on business development and expansion plans. Rik also splits his time with Avila Scientific, an international biotech firm, where he is owner and managing director, and, the Whitebarrel Foundation, where he is the Executive Director. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Winery Association, he is also helping shape the future of Virginia Wine. All this work gets in the way of his #1 passion – Rik is a father (to Alex (19), Erik (16), Ellie (1), and twins Archie and Harry (<1) and a husband (to Tess) first, and spends all his free time with his family. Rik’s favorite Wine is the next wine he is making in our barrel room.

Dr. Theresa Gallagher
Owner & Operations & Research Manager

Tess was born and educated in England, earning a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Brighton. She is a true world traveler, splitting time with Avila Scientific, an international biotech firm, where she is owner and managing director. She’s managed laboratories and properties around the world for the last 15 years. People from around the world know Tess as a subject matter expert in scientific research management and her work in biodefense, including work with Anthrax. Tess is also on the Board of Directors of the Whitebarrel Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that specializes in agriculture and the Virginia Wine Industry. Tess fell in love with Virginia wine while working as an executive in Baltimore and moving to Virginia in 2014. Tess is driven with a sense of purpose to advocate for Virginia wine and handles many aspects of the day-to-day operations of the business, our growing wine bar operations, and the winery finances. Tess is also managing all the ongoing research projects at the winery, including our honey bee research and sanctuary program. In her spare time, she is a mom to Ellie (1), Archie and Harry (<1), and, dog mom to Bertie, and, cat mom to Stella, Franklin, and Kiva… Her favorite wine is the BIN #831.


Ms. Bailey O’Hara
General Manager

Bailey is originally from Bedford, VA and she came to the New River Valley to attend school at Radford University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. With exceptional customer service skills and a keen eye for detail, Bailey is the perfect fit for this position and we’re excited for her to continue and perfect the incredible experience we offer our guests here at Whitebarrel! Bailey manages our day-to-day operations and manages the staffing and inventory across all of our locations.  When she isn’t at work, she enjoys spending time with her three-legged cat, Tres. Bailey’s favorite Whitebarrel Wine is the Whitebarrel Chambourcin.

Joe Doten

Mr. Gavin Saunders
Vineyard Manager and & Assistant Winemaker

Gavin oversees all vineyard operations, assists in wine making, and works to minimize Whitebarrel’s environmental impact. You may find Gavin in the Vineyard on the tractor, in the tasting room, educating guests on our wine and our sustainability efforts, or in the wine production area, helping perfect our wines. Gavin is also working on our safety program at the winery assists with implementing our training and compliance efforts. Whitebarrel is Gavin’s first step into the wine industry, he is dedicated to the craft and excited to grow as a wine professional.

Keith Carter