— In my winemaking, I’m always asking myself why and how.
Tell us about your first Napa Valley harvest…
My first harvest in Napa Valley was in 2005 at Far Niente. I had just been hired as an Enologist. I remember feeling like I was drinking out of a fire hose! There was so much to learn and take in. Plus it was a huge harvest. It felt like it would never end; the grapes just kept coming! My learning curve was steep that year.
What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
During college, I went to summer school in England where I studied local history and Shakespeare!
What is your winemaking philosophy?
Curiosity is really important to me. In my winemaking, I’m always asking myself why and how. Why does this taste/smell like this? How did we do that? How can we make it better? I try to channel that into making wines that have layers and interest and might spark some curiosity when tasting it.
Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.
Craig Williams has had a big influence on me. He was a consultant/mentor for me when I first took over as winemaker at Far Niente. I appreciate that he always challenged me in our discussions – challenging me to be curious and to ask why. Challenging me to let go sometimes and just ask, “But does it taste good?”
If you weren't a Napa Valley vintner, what would you be doing?
I would probably be working in a bookstore. I love to read!
If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?
My husband – He is also a winemaker and deep down, his opinion matters the most to me. My grandfather – He passed away when I was 12, so I’d love to show him what I have done in my adult life. Jane Austen – I think she would have even more amazing commentary on human interactions after a glass (or two) of wine!
How did you get started in the wine business?
While working on a degree in Biology, I took on a job as a features writer for the UC Davis Aggie (school newspaper) and wrote an article about the V&E department. I quickly discovered that I was not reporter material, but I did discover a career path that would allow me to use both my science skills and my liberal arts interests.
What is your favorite memory as a vintner working in Napa Valley?
It isn’t really one memory, but I especially cherish early morning sampling in the vineyards during harvest. The crisp air, the quiet, the taste of cold sweet grapes. Sometimes a low layer of fog. It’s pretty magical.
What's your all-time favorite food and wine pairing?
I really love Chardonnay and lobster.
What’s the strangest word you’ve used to describe the smell or taste of wine?
My grandmother’s perfume.
What does "cultivating excellence" as a Napa Valley vintner mean to you?
I think cultivating excellence starts with people. I’m proud that our team really works together towards a common goal. I think it is important to invest in and value your crew. I always try to explain why we do what we do and consider their suggestions for how to do things better. We all succeed together.
Building a culture of passion, camaraderie, and heritage.Meet