About | Team Leaders
Richard Childress | Proprietor
Richard Childress (pictured right) is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), a 12-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. An independent driver who earned 76 top-10 finishes in 285 races, Childress climbed out of the seat in the 1981 season, handing over the driving duties to the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Together, they made NASCAR history, winning 67 races and six Sprint Cup Series championships and established RCR as one of the premier teams in all of motorsports.
Early in his career while racing in California, Richard began visiting numerous wineries. What started as a hobby soon ignited a lifelong passion for world-class wines. Richard fulfilled this passion by opening the doors to Childress Vineyards in 2004. Today, Childress Vineyards serves at the "gateway" to Yadkin Valley, and similar to RCR, Childress Vineyards exceeded Richard's standard of excellence.
Greg Johns | Business Partner
Greg is Richard’s business partner who has been influential in constructing Childress Vineyards from an idea to reality. The two became friends through their mutual interest in big game hunting, wildlife and outdoor conservation and many trips visiting wineries. Greg comes from an Italian family where winemaking has been passed from one generation to another. His family name, Gianni, is the moniker for the vineyard at his farm in Summerfield, NC, that produced Sangiovese grapes for Childress Vineyards.
When he’s not at the winery, Greg runs Johns Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning, a company he founded 35 years ago in Greensboro, NC. The company now employs over 50 people to service residential and industrial clients in the Piedmont Triad.
Mark Friszolowski | Winemaker
One of the most award-winning winemakers in America today, Mark has received hundreds of medals and his wines have been twice named to the 50 Best Wines of the World. Mark has played a very instrumental role in promoting NC wines since coming on board with Childress. He currently serves as Treasurer of the NC Winegrower’s Association and serves as Vice Chair with the NC Grape Council. Since his arrival in 2003, Mark has won over 750 awards for Childress Vineyards. Accolades include the past 4 Governor’s Cup/Best in Show awards in the NC State Fair Wine Competition, Best Red Wine in The Mid-Atlantic Wine Competition, and Best Red in the Wines of the South Competition.
Robert Burgin | Chief Operating Officer
Having joined Childress Vineyards in March of 2013, Robert Burgin (Bob) has extensive experience as a Winemaker, General Manager and CFO obtained over the course of thirty-five years in the wine industry. Before coming to Childress Vineyards, Bob served as Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Financial Officer for Chateau Morrisette where he was employed for over twenty years, joining the company as its winemaker. While there, the winery expanded capacity from 7,000 cases to 70,000 cases and sales by over 800%. Most recently, Bob operated his own consulting company working with wineries through the mid-Atlantic region. Childress Vineyards is pleased to have Bob as an energetic and enthusiastic leader.
Christina Raines, CS | Wine Educator & Sommelier
Christina joined the Childress Vineyards team in spring of 2017 where she adds the role of Wine Educator and Sommelier to the daily functions of the winery from working with the Bistro Chef on wine and food pairings, to public and private educational seminars. After traveling and studying enology across the world, she received her Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2013. Christina then went on to receive certification from the International Wine Guild, as well as her Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) from the Napa Valley Wine School. Christina has worked with multiple California wineries within the Napa and Sonoma regions including Cuvaison Estate Winery, Rogstad Wines, Vermillion Wines, Helen Keplinger, and Aratas Wines. Before coming to Childress Vineyards, Christina was the Sommelier at City Winery Nashville where she won Best Wine List of Nashville in 2015. She also helped direct the Nashville Wine & Food Festival, the Nashville Whiskey Festival, and assisted as a Sommelier for the Nashville Wine Guild and L’etu du Vin, the largest wine auction on the east coast.