My career in the wine industry began as a summer job. During that first harvest, my job was to deliver five tons of grapes at a time, down the mountain, in a one-ton truck. It was from that experience that I knew I wanted to be a winemaker. I began my professional career with Kenwood Vineyards in 1986, where we specialized in vineyard-designated Zinfandels and Cabernets grown in Sonoma Valley.
In 1998, I left my position as Cellarmaster for Kenwood and joined the wine-making team at Benziger Family Winery, just down the road in Glen Ellen. My focus was the production of wines for the Benziger Family Ranch including Tribute, Imagery Estate and Benziger vineyard designates, and in particular the Zinfandel wines for Benziger and Imagery Estate. It was at Benziger that I was introduced to biodynamics and organic farming. At the time, both practices were new to the industry and we developed winemaking methods to go along with the farming practices.