Our Team 2018-10-29T09:22:04+00:00


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 (18), Erik (16), Ellie (1), and two boys on the way (Coming Soon) 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, dog mom to Bertie, and, cat mom to Stella, Franklin, and Kiva… Oh yes, and she has two boys on the way. Her favorite wine is the BIN #831.

Ms. Bailey O’Hara
Events & Festival Coordinator, and Wine Club 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 members here at Whitebarrel! She works closely with wine club members to create a Whitebarrel community brought together by the love of wine. Bailey plans the festivals and events at Whitebarrel and helps bring Whitebarrel’s visions to life. She enjoys all things related to weddings. She assures that our couples will have a spectacular wedding day. She focuses on making dreams come to life and ensures that everything goes smoothly on the day of the event. Bailey loves to be a part of such a monumental moment for a couple and looks forward to watching them relax and enjoy their special day. Bailey is also expanding our portfolio of Corporate and private events and is looks forward to working with you to plan your next event. 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.

Mr. Erik Obst
Manager, Whitebarrel Blacksburg Wine and Tapas bar, and Whitebarrel Distribution Manager.

The wine bug bit Erik while conducting undergraduate research on Virginia Wine Tourism in pursuit of his Public Relations degree. After visiting numerous wineries, and tasting a plethora of wine, he realized Virginia wine is something special and has been an advocate for its wines ever since. Erik oversees the day-to-day operations, staffing, and manages the wine menu in Blacksburg. Erik found his way to Whitebarrel after realizing he had to be in the wine industry first hand. In his role he can share his enthusiasm for Virginia Wine directly with the guests and clients. He is constantly expanding his knowledge on the world of wine through blind tastings, food pairings, and general discussion. He is also currently studying and working toward becoming a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. If there is not a Virginia Petit Verdot in his glass it is more than likely a Burgundy, which he will admit is his second love to Virginia. Although wine is both his life and career, he still finds time to golf, hike, and help out at his parents Japanese Koi farm right here in Virginia.

Ms. Cassandra D’Intino
Tasting Room Manager, Whitebarrel Winery, Christiansburg

Cassie oversees all day-to-day operations in the Tasting Room with a focus on advancing the overall quality of service for guests. Her tasting room management philosophy is to make sure every guest has the best experience possible and that each person that visits Whitebarrel learns something new about our winery, our vineyards, our wine making practices, or about our award-winning wines. Cassie also manages the staffing, retail inventory, and of course, works with our events team to bring Whitebarrel events to an entirely new level. She is a Radford native who worked in the cinema business for over ten years before coming to Whitebarrel. She has a son, Luca, who is 3 years old. She enjoys cooking, cosmetology and of course WINE! Cassie’s favorite Whitebarrel wine is Bin 704.

Mr. Andrew Poole
Executive Chef

Our chef, Andrew, is classically trained in French-style cooking methods, and brings fifteen-years of fine dining experience, ranging from cruise ships to the Las Vegas strip, to the Whitebarrel culinary program. He holds degrees in culinary arts as well as hotel and restaurant management. Andrew oversees our Tapas menus at all our locations and is on a mission to bring new seasonal menus with fresh-local ingredients to your plate. Andrew was raised on a farm in rural south-eastern Pennsylvania, where he learned carpentry and woodworking. He enjoys this hobby to this day, and applies these skills toward creating fruit sculpture and ice carving. Andrew is an avid reader and lover of the arts. He enjoys taking his daughter (Alanah) to museums or the bookstore on his days off. Some of his favorites include Ayn Rand, Jackson Pollock, Howard Zinn, and Claude Debussy. Andrew also enjoys gastro-tourism and often plans trips based on culinary adventure, seeking out exotic or interesting cuisine to inspire him and maintain a fresh look at the way we view even common foods.

Mr. Joe Doten
Vineyard & Natural Resources & Conservation Manager

Joe oversees all vineyard operations, assists in wine making, and works to minimize Whitebarrel’s environmental impact. You may find Joe 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. Joe is also working on our safety program at the winery assists with implementing our training and compliance efforts. Joe’s philosophy is to let the natural charm and beauty of the New River Valley shine in the fruit that is produced in our vineyard. His dedication to sustainability is deeply rooted; solidified while conducting soil research as an undergraduate in the Amazon rainforest to study alternatives to “slash and burn” agriculture. Whitebarrel is Joe’s first step into the wine industry, he is dedicated to the craft and excited to grow as a wine professional. In his off time, he continues his wine education by engaging in deductive tastings and visiting other Virginia wineries. Joe’s favorite wine is Cabernet franc, because each Cabernet franc has subtle differences, which truly exemplify its terroir and growing environment.

Mr. Keith Carter
Sous Chef, Christiansburg

Keith has been cooking for the Whitebarrel team for more than a year and was recently promoted to sous chef. Although he’s from Baltimore Maryland, he has had a chance to learn and enjoy southern cuisine and adds a bit of southern flair to his dishes. Keith works on our amazing events, caterings, & weddings and is always looking to improve our kitchen and the customer experiences. Fortunately, you can find Keith at either of our locations. Keith is a firm believer that nothing pairs better with great food than music! In his free time, Keith produces and records music in a range of genres. He also has a brand-new daughter (Demi) and his 5-year-old daughter (Yanni) to keep him on his toes but always delivering excellent dishes and service at Whitebarrel.

Mr. Taylor Sanford
Sous Chef, Blacksburg

Taylor is the newest member of the Whitebarrel team, starting in late 2017. He is from outside Chicago. His culinary background is varied, having worked in restaurants in Blacksburg, VA, Asheville, NC, Leadville and Frisco, CO, and Wheaton, IL. His favorite foods are curry, Alfredo, scallops, and bulgogi. Taylor is focused on providing the best food with the best local ingredients. When he is not dreaming up bigger and better Creme Brûlée flavors, Taylor can be found playing with dogs or outside climbing, hiking, or paddling whitewater.