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The Forest is Our Vineyard

Ainoa was founded by two immigrants who came to came to Finland to make great wine. It may sound hard to believe, but some of the best raw ingredients for wines grow in the forests here. And it isn’t just us claiming that. The numerous international awards our wines have been given are proof that from the Finnish forests can come some of the best wines on Earth. The forest is our vineyard!

To make the best wines, you need to start with the best fruit. And even though the climate of Finland is not suitable to grow grapes, it produces amazing berries, honey and other incredible wild ingredients. We carefully develop relationships with our suppliers, be they farmers or berry pickers (most of our berries grow in the wild), and carefully choose only the finest raw materials for our wines. You CAN taste the difference.

 
 

 Our Team

 
Image credit: Hannu Koistinen

Image credit: Hannu Koistinen

Paola Guerrero de Cohen

CEO *

Born in Ecuador, Paola moved to the US in 1992 where she earned a degree in Finance.

Paola worked in Banking, Financial Services and Health Care, for companies including Deutsche Bank, State Street Bank and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates before moving to Finland in 2008 and discovering her passion.

Paola has an amazingly sensitive palate and can distinguish subtle nuances in flavors and aromas.  It is her guidance that has shaped the development of Ainoa’s wines and allowed them to achieve their potential.  She handles finance, accounting and business management of Ainoa.  She is also in charge of product quality.

In 2012 she enrolled in the Häme Vocational Institute’s Wine Production program to learn how to set up a wine business in Finland.  She earned her certification in 2013 and founded Ainoa Winery in 2014.

Image credit: Hannu Koistinen

Image credit: Hannu Koistinen

David Cohen

Winemaker *

Born in Boston and with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, David taught himself how to brew beer and make wine in the US before he moved to Finland in 2008.  His extraordinary wines and beers have been winning awards around the world for over 15 years.

Amazed by the bounty of the Finnish forests and inspired by the philosophy of traditional European viniculture, David set out to create unique wines that capture the terroir of Finland.  In so doing he has developed both the processes and recipes for Ainoa.    He is in charge of R&D and operations, including production and regulatory issues.

He has also worked for more than 25 years in the life science tools industry in R&D, operations, product management and business development. In 2005 he co-founded Finnzymes Instruments Oy in Espoo, Finland. It was acquired by ThermoFisher Scientific in 2010.

Image credit: Sakari Majantie

Image credit: Sakari Majantie

Ateljé Sotamaa

Design & Branding

Ateljé Sotamaa is Kivi Sotamaa & Tuuli Sotamaa, brother and sister, and an international group of architects, designers & artists. Based out of our studio in Helsinki, we create buildings, spaces, objects, infrastructure and artworks. We use ingenuity and digital technology to design projects that are unique, affordable and buildable.

Ateljé Sotamaa is driven by a fascination with sensation, how people experience design. The studio combines experiential design with criticality and responsibility.  In order to make experiences seamless the studio designs projects holistically, across scale and media. Ateljé Sotamaa has pioneered the use of advanced digital technologies in order to create unique design with an economy of means.

 
 

Samuil Angelov

Sommelier – Restaurateur

Member of the Board *

Born in Helsinki, this restaurateur is passionate about food, wine and their union.

Samuil graduated as a chef from Restaurant school Perho in 1999, but the floor service took him back in the 1990s. Samuil has worked as a chef sommelier, both in Kämp and Savoy, before becoming a restaurateur.

Nowadays, Samuil is the CEO of Muru Dining oy and is responsible for the operations of Restaurant Muru and Pastis, and is involved in Restaurant Ultima and Sue-Ellen. Samuil is also the chairman of the Finnish Sommelier Association and a member of the board of directors of the international ASI - Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.

Jean-François (Johnny) Galtat

Member of the Board *

Born in the heart of the Champagne region, Johnny worked 7 years as a Flying Winemaker in France, Australia, New-Zealand, before settling in Finland in 1998 with his Finnish wife and opening Vindirekt Finland.

Vindirekt, with now 14 employees, mostly sales professionals, imports and distributes over 200 wine producers to the Finnish market, with a strong focus on champagnes and top iconic producers from France and Germany.

In constant search for innovative and high-quality wines, Johnny came across the wines of Ainoa in 2017, and an agreement was immediately made between Vindirekt and Ainoa to distribute their wines on the Finnish market.

Moreover, Ainoa can rely upon Johnny, with his professional Team, as a senior adviser with deep knowledge in all aspects of the wine industry.

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Tom Miller

Chairman of the Board

Tom is a Finnish American born and raised in southern Finland. Tom is the CEO of the Nordea Mortgage Bank Plc, a 28 bn€ mortgage bank he set up and has been running since 2016.

Tom has spent his career in consulting and the financial sector, with a focus on retail banking, product development and leadership.

Tom is energetic and result driven, helping Ainoa to excel as a well-run business.

 

 * Members of the new product development team: Paola, David, Samuil & Johnny.

When Paola and David developed products by themselves, it took an average of three years to bring an idea to the point where they believed it was ready to become a product. With Samuil and Johnny also participating in development, it is expected that their extensive experience and expertise will accelerate the process, as well as allow Ainoa to create products that Paola & David would not have thought of on their own.

 

 

 

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