Owner anad Winemaker, Nick Floulis, is native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has been passionate about wine since he was old enough to drink legally, but he didn’t exactly set out to become a winemaker. Instead, he grew up in his family's restaurant business and pursued a degree from Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. After college, he got involved with a restaurant group that sent him all over the U.S., finally settling down as general manager at an eatery in Austin, Texas.
In 2004, a small flair up between Floulis and his very Texan boss led to Floulis being told to stop giving so much “pushback.” Oddly inspired by this phrase — defined as “the act of forcing the enemy to with draw” — Floulis decided to end his employment with corporate world and moved to Napa to start over.
Floulis sought jobs where he could learn the trade, first at Stags Leap in the vineyard at harvest, then at St. Supery in wine sales. Finally, in 2007, he ventured out on his own, launching a wine label that embodied that moment he decided to indulge his entrepreneurial self. Fittingly, he named the wine Pushback.
Second in Command, Nicki Ball, had her first hospitality job in the suburbs of north Chicago, rightfully so selling wine off a beverage cart at a legally young age to do so. From there she attended Michigan State University, she earned a BA Degree from the number one hospitality school in the nation, Eli Board’s, The School of Hospitality Business. Upon graduation she began to pursue a career in food and beverage management in 2008. She spent 2 years as Assistant Manager of Food and Beverage at The Omni Chicago Hotel learning as much as she could and then running the wine program. Then making the move to world famous, Fairmont San Francisco Hotel as a Banquet Manager as well as Food and Beverage Manager, while working at the hotel she met Nick Floulis and they became fast friends. With wine country so close Nicki spent many days up in Napa and Sonoma County where her passion for wine and knowledge expended. During this time Nicki took some classes with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) passing levels 1 &2 as well as the Court of Master Sommeliers Level One and the Society of Wine Educators, Certified Specialist of Wine.
In 2012, she decided to take time off from the hotel industry. Nicki joined Don Pisto’s Restaurant, in North Beach, San Francisco, where she also worked side by side with Nick Floulis. In 2013 they decided to develop an online store for the Pushback Brand. In 2014, she married a St. Louisan, Adam Smith and made the move to Missouri where she has held the title of General Manager at Reeds American Table (Wine Enthusiast's "Top 100 Wine Restaurants 2016.")
Consulting Winemaker, Tom Rees, also grew up in the mid-west, Tom caught the wine bug while working at Kahn’s Fine Wines in Indianapolis as he pursed his Chemistry degree at Purdue University. His first job in wine production was as an intern wine chemist at Charles Krug Winery in 2002. As the Krug internship concluded, Tom accepted a position as the Winemaking Technical Manager at St. Supéry Vineyards, which eventually paved a path to the Assistant Winemaker position. After six very enjoyable years at St. Supéry, Tom was ready for a new challenge and moved on to Rombauer Vineyards, where he would focus on the red wine program as the Associate Winemaker.
In 2011 Tom decided to take the plunge and build a new winery on the corner of Pine and Brown streets in Old Town Napa. With the help of his wife and two sons, they demolished the old garage and built a small bonded winery capable of making eight barrels of hand-crafted wine each vintage.
In addition to operating Pine and Brown Winery, Tom represents AEB Biochemical, works as a consulting winemaker for other small Napa Valley wineries, and serves as the Secretary for the California Enological Research Association