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Wines, like people, are a reflection of their origin and evolution. The “roots” of each should be celebrated and embraced with genuine, authentic conversation. In modern society, we are pushed to efficiency, where time is more and more a luxury that people don’t have. Wine is the perfect vehicle to allow us to slow down, enjoy one's surrounding company with thoughtful discussion and embrace the time spent together with a glass of wine.

THE DEBATE began in 2010 with the intention to utilize wine as a social tool, to not only bring people together, but to take the time to learn more about each other, to explore our similarities and differences, and celebrate them.



Jean Hoefliger has been making wine in the Napa Valley since 2001, and began a new chapter in his global wine career when he partnered with Rob McKay to create THE DEBATE. Jean’s winemaking style pushes the envelope to maximize the potential of every wine he makes. Jean is a true believer in pushing for perfection and authenticity in every vintage, and each vintage of THE DEBATE is a blank canvas in that endeavor.


Rob McKay, a California native, has long been an advocate of the wine industry. In addition to his thirst and passion for all things wine, his experience as an investor and philanthropist position him perfectly to participate in THE DEBATE. The friendship between Jean Hoefliger and Rob McKay, forged in the opening year of Alpha Omega Winery in 2006, laid the foundation for The Debate Wine. Rob's significant investment in the winery brought them together, but it was their shared passion for fine wine and their mutual love for discussions spanning sports, politics, and life that solidified their bond. The birth of The Debate Wine in 2010 was a testament to their desire to create something that transcended mere namesake, embodying the essence of their shared pursuits and the enduring significance of their friendship in the world of winemaking.


As a partner in THE DEBATE, Chelsea brings her strategic know-how and flair to the forefront, helping THE DEBATE navigate the exciting world of wine. However, Chelsea's role goes beyond business. She's not only Jean Hoefliger's life partner but also considers Rob McKay, Jean's closest friend and co-founder, as family. THE DEBATE team embodies the ethos of respectful debate and conversation, constantly challenging each other to maximize the potential of our wines. Together, we form a close-knit family united by our passion for wine, a commitment to excellence, and a shared dedication to crafting extraordinary vintages that spark meaningful discussions and celebrations.


Todd has been an invaluable part of THE DEBATE family since 2020, serving as our Sales and Hospitality Director. His culinary journey brought him to Napa Valley back in 2007, where he eventually found his true calling in the world of wine. With boundless enthusiasm and an unwavering passion for sharing the joys of food and wine with both friends and family, Todd saw THE DEBATE as the perfect fit—a brand where he could wholeheartedly embrace and further cultivate these cherished values that mean so much to him.


Mia is our creative genius extraordinaire at THE DEBATE! She's the artistic wizard behind all things visual, from crafting stunning designs to curating unforgettable experiences. Mia's not just a team member; she's a kindred spirit. Hailing from a hockey family, she knows how to bring the same level of fierce determination and creativity to the table that the rest of us do. When it comes to creativity and teamwork, Mia provides an ethic where imagination knows no bounds.

The Debate Topics

Every vintage of THE DEBATE is wrapped in newspaper with 'The Debates' of the vintage, showcasing the top current events which happened the year in which the wine was made. Whether it is politics, sports, pop-culture or world events, you have the opportunity to reminisce a time, a place and a stamp in time with the people around you.

Enjoy the Conversation. 


2021 Debates

Photogallery rendered here.