Throughout my childhood, my family often made the drive down from our home in Monterey, California, to a small Central Valley town called Dos Palos to visit my grandparents on their cotton farm. I remember watching with wonder as they tilled, sowed, and harvested their land. That fascination with farming and agriculture followed me into college and eventually led me to viticulture.
I received my degree in Enology at Fresno State University, and after college I worked a handful of harvests in California and Australia, learning from a variety of mentors whose personalities were as diverse as their winemaking philosophies. In 2006, I ventured north to Oregon to work as Assistant Winemaker for Eric Hamacher at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, and my real education began. At CWS I worked in a communal setting with a group of winemakers who taught me valuable lessons and remain an influence on what I do today.
In 2007, I was hired as Assistant Winemaker under Mike Etzel at Beaux Freres and eventually worked my way to co-winemaker and in 2013 to winemaker. Over the nine years I spent at Beaux Freres, I learned to look beyond the conventional understanding I had of the process and explored how to use my senses as a guide, formulating my core principles on winemaking and viticulture along the way.
In addition to starting Hundred Suns Wines in 2015, I am currently the winemaker and director of estate vineyards for Flaneur Wines.
In 2006, when we moved from California to Portland, I worked harvest for Dominio IV at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, where Grant was working. I learned what it meant to fight a losing battle with a hose or a rolling barrel, how to keep out fruit flies, how to take brix readings, and how to clean, clean, clean just about everything. In that harvest, there was also the sense that I was bearing witness to something rare and alive. I had spent my adult years as a high school English teacher, and I was used to long, slow progress. Sometimes as a teacher, you plant a seed that you never get to see fully realize its potential. Every day in the winery the fermenters smelled unique, reacted differently, needed individual attention. Miraculously, at the end of a relatively short period of time, they had metamorphosed into a completely altered creature that would still continue to change in barrel. I was hooked.
While I cherished my time in the classroom, and later as the director of a teen parent program, I have switched gears to work the sorting line, do punch downs, top the cellar, and run the rest of this small enterprise.