About Us

Our Story

In 1989, we formed the vinNEBRASKA committee because we wanted to develop an event through which we could share our love for fine wines with the community, while also making it a better place to live. Flash forward more than 25 years later, and what was once a small group with a common goal, has now blossomed into a grand celebration of premier wines, nationally recognized winemakers and funds raised for deserving local organizations.

To date, vinNEBRASKA has raised more than $5 million in partnership with local charities including Partnership 4 Kids, Ronald McDonald House, the American Cancer Society, Omaha Public Library Foundation, Girls Inc., KVNO, and Easter Seals Nebraska.

The success of this annual event would not be possible without the amazing support from the wineries, winemakers and partnering local charities. In the past, some of the finest winemakers from California, Oregon, France, Italy, and Germany have joined us for our events. Beyond taking time out of their busy schedules to travel to Omaha, these wineries donate wine and items for our auctions. The majority of the financial success of the event is due to the wonderful donations that are purchased in the live and silent auctions held during the event.

Our Committee

Advisory Committee

Dennis Hein

Claudia Moseley

Janet Syslo

Mary Beth Wade

Steve Wade

Team

Deanna Albertson

Deanna Albertson is the owner/manager of Vino Mas, a boutique wine store/wine bar in Northwest Omaha. She holds a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certification through the Society of Wine Educators and her Level one Sommelier certification through the Court . Deanna loves wines from all over the world and drinks all varietals. She joined the vinNEBRASKA team in 2019, her passion for wine, working in the industry and giving back to the community make serving on the committee a perfect fit.

Christa Pichler

Christa Pichler is a Nebraska native that began her wine journey in college while working at a country club. Since that time she has loved learning about wine through her travels, exploring wines friends, and attending various wine tastings and dinners. A favorite wine region of hers is Tuscany. Christa and her husband have had the pleasure of visiting the region twice and visiting a variety of wineries. She hopes that more than one of these amazing wineries can support the 2021 event! Christa also spends a fair amount of time supporting charitable causes, so VinNebraska brings together two of her main passions! Christa works for Union Pacific Railroad in addition to running her own real estate business. She resides in Gretna with her husband and their four daughters. Their youngest daughter is named Siena, after their favorite town in Italy!

Sherri Griggs

Sherri, a registered nurse, has always had a strong desire to help others in any way possible and her long career as a real estate agent has brought her closer to her community. Joining the Vin Nebraska committee in 2019 she has found this way of serving to be very fulfilling. Sherri has a long history of volunteering to help others and her love of wine is why she was asked to join the Vin Nebraska committee.
Sherri enjoys the wealth of knowledge about wine that is gained when participating in Vin Nebraska and finds the opportunity to meet, educate and serve very fulfilling.

Chip Riedman

Chip Riedmann grew up in his family’s business working at Watkins Concrete Block, holding many positions over the years. He eventually left to work for T Hansen Construction, a masonry contractor, until his retirement in late 2019. Chip has been enjoying wine since the early 80’s with his introduction to fine wines in Napa and Sonoma wine country. Over the years he has visited wineries from Oregon’s Willamette Valley to California’s Temecula Valley and many points in-between. He relishes mostly rich and full bodied reds but also enjoys an occasional well-made white wine. He has attended every vinNebraska for approximately 15 years and has been a member of the vinNEBRASKA board for two years. He has also served as a volunteer in the Boy Scouts and the Knights of Columbus in addition to coaching youth soccer teams, running an adult men’s and women’s soccer club and the Nebraska Men’s Soccer League in Omaha. He loves traveling with family and friends and meeting a group of friends at different restaurants several times a year.

Dan Slattery

Dan Slattery’s interest in wine developed over the years. He enjoys blind tastings of delicious wines and traveling to wine producing regions with friends to learn more about the industry and to sample the fruits of their labor. Past destinations include Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Temecula, Vancouver, and Oregon. Europe and South America are on the bucket list. He has been attending the vin Nebraska events for the past 10 years it is new to the board in 2020.

Dan is a 26 year wealth management industry veteran. He leads a 5 person team who specialize in portfolio management, financial planning, and wealth transfer. Proudly, he was named to a national finance publication’s Best Wealth Advisors in Nebraska list for the past 3 years.

Outside of work and wine, life centers around his family. He and his lovely bride Debbie have four daughters and son-in-law’s. The current count is 10 grandchildren. Other hobbies include coaching soccer and softball, playing golf, and adding new species to his lifetime bird identification list.

Steve Seidel

Steve Seidel has come into wine appreciation from vinNEBRASKA founder Dave Deao. Our wives were long time friends and I became interested through osmosis. Because of my friendship, I was part of the inaugural event – then called vinOMAHA in 1990. I’m very happy to continue to assist with the fundraiser and hope to see many of you there. Lately, I have become the bottle handler for auctioneer Stu Smith! Thanks!!

Michelle Pernicek

Michelle Pernicek is a Partner at the law firm of Kutak Rock LLP in Omaha, Nebraska. Michelle is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Nebraska Collage of Law. She is an active volunteer in the Omaha community. A mom of two, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, including her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs, reading, traveling, Broadway theater, good coffee, local restaurants, and, of course, drinking good wine. A lover of nearly all reds, if forced to choose a favorite, she would say Tempranillo.

Mark Gudgel

Mark Gudgel joined the vinNEBRASKA Foundation in 2017 at the invitation of his friend, the late Dave Deao, who had founded the organization nearly thirty years before. Mark has considerable experience in the world of non-profits, having co-founded the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights with his friend, Drew Beiter, where he served as the international organization’s Executive Director from 2009 to 2015. A high school English teacher and college professor by trade, Mark’s interest in fine wine was sparked on his honeymoon in Napa and Sonoma. For the past decade, he has worked as a freelance wine writer for such publications as Edible Marin & Wine Country, Edible San Francisco, Food & Spirits Magazine, Vivino, and numerous others. He also maintains the popular wine blog ITheeWine and reviews wine for the Balthazar Wine Review. He lives in Omaha with his wife, Sonja, and their children, Titus and Zooey.

Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan joined vinNebraska this year and is thrilled to be part of a great team with a tremendous mission. He appreciates the hard work, art, and passion that goes into winemaking and for him wine represents spending quality time with friends and family. More important than wine is the benefit that vinNebraska has brought to nonprofit beneficiaries in Omaha and this is the primary reason he joined the group. To marry a side interest of wine with the opportunity to raise funds for causes of great importance was an opportunity he could not pass up.
Outside of his involvement with vinNebraska, Joe enjoys a career working for U.S. Bank where he serves as Regional President for Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. Born and raised in Omaha, he is married to his wife, Dana, and they have a two year old daughter, Edie. He has two wonderful parents, three siblings, several brother and sisters in law. And they all enjoy wine!

Our Partnering Charity

If you have questions regarding vinNEBRASKA, please contact us at committee@vinnebraska.com. The vinNEBRASKA Wine Event 2020 for OPSF