Our Team

Ben Martin – Owner, Winemaker – Marine Corps

Ben enlisted September 4th, 2001, and served as an Assault Amphibious Vehicle crewman with the 7th Marine regiment out of 29 Palms, CA. In 2003, Ben participated in the invasion of Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, and later deployed with the 31st MEU (SOC) in 2004 and 2005.

After his enlistment Ben studied writing, design, branding, and web development at Portland Community College, Pacific University, and the Art Institute of Portland. In between classes, he found a passion for small business which propelled him into brand management.

In 2012, Ben helped launch a pilot non-profit called the Veteran Transition Corps, which sought to rehabilitate veterans through permaculture. This program showed promise that agriculture can be an alternative treatment for Veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. Nevertheless, Ben wondered, "Why not here?"

It wasn't until February 2014 that the idea of veteran viticulture resurfaced during a Walla Walla wine trip with co-founders Ryan Mills and Paul Warmbier. Excited about the possibilities, the three launched Dauntless Wine Company that December!

In 2015, Ben volunteered at A Blooming Hill Vineyard (now Sidereus Vineyard) and enrolled in the wine studies program at Chemeketa CC. This sparked a snowball effect, which led to the 2015 harvest – where the Dauntless crew picked and crushed its first 6 tons despite any plans to do so. In 2018, Ben graduated from Chemeketa Wine Studies with an AAS in both winemaking and vineyard management; he was also awarded an "Emerging Leader" by the program for his efforts.

In 2020, Ben, along with Carrie and Leanne, launched the non-profit arm of the operation called the Dauntless Veteran Foundation, which awards grants to veterans and their dependents who are, or aspire to be, farmers, value-added producers, or pupils in agriculture. That same year, Ben and Carrie made a significant effort to secure 6.5 acres in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. This site, named Hartley Hill Vineyard and Farm, features a south-facing slope with an underlying Jory silt-loam soil. The first acre of pommard pinot noir was planted in March 2022.

Carrie Martin – General Manager, Print Design, Cellarhand

Carrie has an unbelievable knack for quality, whether that be olfactory, typography, or design. She is the core of the company and ensures everything is on time and on target, and when necessary acts as Ben's voice of reason!

She and Ben met in 2011 after they were hired for the same marketing position. The company could not decide who they liked more, so they hired both of them. Carrie and Ben have worked in tandem ever since, and married in 2016.

Carrie graduated from the University of Oregon with a double major in Psychology and Art with a minor in Business. She also has a Masters in Art Therapy Counseling and a Post-Bac in Graphic Design. In addition to working full time for Dauntless, she is the treasurer and graphic designer for the Dauntless Veteran Foundation, and owns and operates Northwest Design Co.

Joe Knox – Hospitality Lead — Air Force

Joe is an engaging performer and gifted teacher, he is refreshingly direct and down-to-earth. An Air Force veteran and officer, has been a trained professional in the world of wine for over 25 years. The last 15 years as an educator, mentor, teacher and server of the fruit of the vine that he is so passionate about.

In between pouring and educating, Joe finds himself assisting in the cellar and during harvest. Joe has been a strong supporter of Dauntless for years and we are proud to have him on our staff as our hospitality lead! Joe's extensive experience as an Air Force veteran and officer, combined with over 25 years of expertise in the world of wine, makes him a true professional and industry expert.

Erin Deatherage – Hospitality

As a lover of history and wine, Erin joined the Dauntless Wine Co. team part-time in May of 2022. She has helped out in the tasting room, private events, and poured for Uncorked! Alongside her Marine Veteran fiancé, Zachary, she continues to learn as much as she can about the wine industry, hospitality and serving her community by volunteering with Dauntless Veteran Foundation. 

Born and raised in Beaverton, Erin found her way to Forest Grove through teaching. She has worked for the local school district since 2015. Erin earned a degree in History from Western Oregon University and has a Master’s in Teaching from University of Portland. When she is not teaching or pouring wine, you can find her on the ice playing hockey or relaxing with a glass of 2018 Overlord with Zachary and their favorite Aussie, Sheila! 

Leanne Babcock – Hospitality – Air Force

Leanne began her military career in the Oregon Air National Guard in 2003 as an enlisted vehicle mechanic. She deployed to the middle east between 2007 and 2008. Leanne earned her commission at San Diego State University in 2008. She then deployed again in 2011 and 2016. Leanne has 18 years and counting of Total Force service. She is assigned to the 452nd Contingency Response Squadron as a Traditional Reservist at March Air Reserve Base, CA.

Her interest in the industry began when stationed in Colorado. Leanne started learning about wine and cider making processes from the staff at Rocky Mountain Brewery. She made her first creations in 2013 using 5 gallon carboys with kits for Strawberry Riesling and Blackberry Merlot. She brought fresh Oregon berries and made some very potent cider. In 2019 with encouragement from Ben and Carrie, Leanne started the Winemaking program at the NW Viticulture Center through Chemeketa Community College.

She is a 2019 Melissa Washington Small Business Award winner and received a $2500 grant from Women Veterans Giving for her proposal to produce cider with Dauntless Wine Co. Leanne is an experienced leader, advocate, and mentor in multiple Veteran organizations. She is excited to be serving with Dauntless Wine Co. and acting as Executive Director for the Dauntless Veteran Foundation!

Kelly Salusova – Hospitality – Army

Kelly is from Northern Minnesota and comes from a military background represented by the Army, Marines, and Air Force. She enlisted in the US Army in 1991. Kelly served in the Military Intelligence Corps as a signal intelligence analyst and Russian linguist for 8 years.

Kelly’s journey in the wine industry started in 2005 after visiting the same winery weekly, she was asked to join the team, and has been working in the industry ever since!

When Kelly isn’t working with wine you can find her serving her community as a mental health crisis therapist. Kelly joined the Dauntless team in 2021 and brings with her an equal love of people, Country, and wine!

Friends & Family

We could not do this if it weren't for the love and support of our family and friends! All of them are either Veterans or have 1° of separation from one. This extended group of tenacious believers is what has propelled us this far!