I am the Winemaker at Arrowood Winery in Sonoma County, California. I am responsible for making the wine from vineyard to bottle. I oversee all winemaking operations on a day to day basis and am intimately involved in vineyard decisions as well. There are so many different hands involved in the process, so I spend a lot of time training my staff and communicating my vision. There are also many decisions to be made. When to pick the grapes, how to ferment them, which barrels to use and how to blend are some of the most important decisions involved in the winemaking process. I also have to react to Mother Nature as frosts, disease pressure, drought and excessive heat are all part of growing an agricultural product. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing the joy that my wine brings to the consumer. I have the opportunity to work in several key markets throughout the year to help promote and expose people to my wines.
Growing up around the Columbia area, I had an early exposure to the Mizzou campus. I went to various summer camps and workshops on campus throughout junior high and high school, and I also had a dream to run cross country and track for the Tigers. When it came to think about college, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted that experience to be. I loved the diversity and range of opportunities that Mizzou had to offer.
Cross Country and Track and Field kept me pretty busy. However, I did try to take advantage of the great research opportunities available as an undergraduate. I had a part time job washing dishware and making media in a Biology lab, which eventually turned into an undergraduate research fellowship. I also enrolled in the Honors Biochemistry Lab and completed an Honors Thesis, where I studied enzyme activity involved in alcoholic fermation of wine yeast. This not only prepared me for graduate studies, but it really transformed me to become a critical thinker. During my senior year, I made the decision to retire from my running career and pursue a winemaking internship at Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport. This is really when I started tying it all together
Winemaking really combined a lot of my own interests into one career. So many of the sciences are involved as well as economics, logistics, marketing, sociology, languages, culinary arts and so much more. Traveling has always been a passion of mine, and some of my earliest thoughts of making wine involved a sort of recognition that wine is a way to experience a particular place and culture.
I absolutely love being the winemaker of Arrowood, and in the wine industry, you have to have a lot of patience. For example, some of my 2015 Cabernet Sauvignons won't even be released until 2020. It takes several years to really see how a vintage will evolve. It also takes several years to fully understand each vineyard site. I want to make my mark as a winemaker and be known for my own style, but also I want to master the craft of expressing each vineyard to achieve its optimal and truest expression. Ultimately I think every winemaker's dream is to have their own label. I'll eventually get the itch to start a project of my own.