My story starts in 1972. I was five. My father and mother bought two motels that year on the California central coast; El Patio Motel and The Wayside Motel. I am a native Californian who grew up with birthdays and summer parties at the motel pool. Guests would join in, dad would barbecue, and I would help.
These were the seeds of food, wine, and hospitality.
This childhood led to a college degree in travel, food, and wine with culinary school along the way. These became my compass and my foundation. I was working tasting rooms by day and cooking in beach burger shacks and five-star kitchens at night. I loved it.
This history has shaped the path of Gentleman Farmer, keeping it in a culinary context. The label reads Gentleman Farmer, but calling myself a country gentleman would be a stretch. I am just a sidekick winemaker waking up each morning doing my life’s best work.
It could be said that I am a product of the valley, born and raised in Napa.
My roots here are not only figurative; my family started farming grapes in the Oak Knoll region in the early 1980’s. My father had planted 22 acres on Big Ranch Road. My brother, sister, and I worked after school, weekends and vacations. I learned at an early age vineyard management, trellising, pruning, and of course, harvest.
Today we source grapes from this same area, with the once family home sharing a narrow road with the Boyd Vineyard, where we source some Merlot.
University in Southern California led to a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. A career in fine dining brought me to San Francisco shortly thereafter.
Wine brought me full circle, back to Yountville and the Napa Valley. I now understand T.S. Elliot, “…to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”
I am a native of Châteauroux, a small town south of Orleans in France. I spent my childhood surrounded by wine, drinking Champagne at age ten, and listening to my father’s impassioned descriptions of Pommard. My grandmother sold Chassagne-Montrachet and left a clear imprint, sparking my interest in Chardonnay and Burgundy.
I earned my degree in Enology from l’Université de Bourgogne in Dijon.
Harvest internships took me from Languedoc Roussillon to the Loire Valley to the Swan Valley in Australia and I began my winemaking career in California’s Napa Valley.
I have spent years learning the intricacies of California’s terroir and find that intuition is one of my most important assets, relying on it as much as lab analysis.
I find my personal passion for wine, cooking, fine dining, and travel meld perfectly with a winemaker’s lifestyle. They provide the discovery and inspiration that fuels my love of the winemaking craft.
My mother would always celebrate with wine. From classy dinners where I was banished to the kids’ table to reuniting after years apart, wine has always been a toast to life for us. I have since carried the tradition.
I’m your “behind the scenes” gal. As a current resident of Arizona, I know the value of having access to quality wine. I travel when I can, and enjoy the benefits of the virtual world. With a background in eCommerce and administration, Gentleman Farmer Wines has offered me a fitting home.