Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Williamsburg Winery Appoints New CEO, COO to Usher In New Era

WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Winery’s Board of Directors, in two unanimous votes, recently appointed new leadership, naming Michael D. Weatherly as Chief Executive Officer and Michael A. Kokolis as Chief Operating Officer.

Weatherly officially succeeded Patrick Duffeler, founder of the winery, as CEO on May 15.

According to the winery, Weatherly is an educator, entrepreneur, restauranteur, and philanthropist with more than twenty years of experience creating successful ventures within the sports, hospitality, and government spaces; including the purchase of Skyline Meadows Farm, a 350-acre estate located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley wine country, where he and his wife Cierra established Ecco Adesso Vineyards in 2021.

Weatherly holds five degrees, including a Doctorate in Business Management and Organizational Development and an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems. He is also an adjunct professor at three accredited universities and a perennial Head Coach for Virginia Beach Little League.

“This succession is 40 years in the making,” said Duffeler, “and I am honored to leave the next chapter of The Williamsburg Winery to Michael. A more dedicated, equipped, and deserving candidate does not exist and I have complete confidence that the Williamsburg Winery will flourish under his leadership.”

Kokolis, a longtime hospitality executive, assumed his role as the winery’s COO in April. He joins the winery after spending the last five years with one of the region’s largest hospitality companies, Gold Key PHR. During his tenure with PHR, Michael played a pivotal role in creating a brand and identity for the Cavalier Resort in Virginia Beach.

The winery noted that he was instrumental in the successful re-opening the Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club in 2018, the opening of the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront in 2020, and the opening of the new Embassy Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront in February of this year.

“We are delighted that Mr. Kokolis has accepted the position,” said Duffler. “His track record and success speak for themselves, but what truly stands out is his unique ability to engage you. He has a way of creating excitement and inspiration that you rarely see these days. We are fortunate to have somebody with his tact, experience, and knowledge manage our operation.”

A native of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kokolis holds a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Development after majoring in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at Penn State University.

Weatherly and Jeremy Andrews were also elected to the board of directors and Marshall Warner, Michael Strouse, Tom Gillman and Terence Duffeler will continue on in their board positions.

Duffeler will remain chairman of the board for the winery, which planted its first vineyard in 1985 and has grown into an industry leader. Most recently, it earned a spot in the 2023 Virginia Governor’s Cup case for its 2019 Petit Verdot Reserve.

For more information about Williamsburg Winery visit the official website.

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