Nigel Kinsman has spent the last four years as winemaker for Krupp Brothers in Napa Valley where he oversaw the production of wines for Krupp Brothers, Black Bart and Veraison. Prior to that he was winemaker at Australian Wine Holdings Ltd. in the Margaret River, and spent two years in Italy working with consulting winemaker Michel Rolland at Tolaini SRL, Castelnuova Berardenga. He also spent time at Cullen Wines, a certified Biodynamic and organic vineyard and winery in Margaret River, as well as Nepenthe Wines and Mount Langi Ghiran. Kinsman received his Oenology degree from the University of Adelaide and also holds a Bachelor of Music degree. Araujo Estate Wines, producer of estate wines from the iconic Eisele Vineyard in Napa Valley, is the next challenge for this very talented winemaker.
“Nigel’s work with Michel Rolland and his experience with Biodynamic and organic winegrowing make him the ideal candidate for continuing the legacy of Araujo and the Eisele Vineyard,” added Bart Araujo.
Benoit holds a Masters degree of Enology and Chemistry from the University of Bordeaux. He has worked at several Bordeaux wineries including Chateau La Louviere and Chateau Couhins-Lurton. Early in his career Benoit made wine for Michel Rolland, “The Flying Winemaker,” in South Africa at Remhoogte Estate. Benoit is a star on the rise in the wine world and is devoted to continuing the Hartwell tradition of producing wines of distinction and acclaim.
A native of Bordeaux, Paubert was introduced to winemaking by his grandfather who was a cellar master. Paubert graduated from the Institut Å’nolugue in 1983 and since then his career has spanned the industry from sales to winemaking. His impressive winemaking background includes winemaking positions at Chateau d’Yquem and Gruaud-Larose as well as projects in Chile, Spain and New Zealand.
Elizabeth worked in a restaurant as a waiter, hostess and sommelier, earning tuition for Post College on Long Island, where she majored in English and minored in art history. Back in Philadelphia, she first sold ad space, then worked in public relations, promoting first-run foreign cinema, regional art theater, dance, major department store special events and even launching a cosmetics company.
She devoted free time to reading about wine, pairing wines with meals cooked for her friends and taking wine appreciation classes. In 1978, she drove cross country to the Napa Valley to work as a tour guide at Joseph Phelps Winery. Next she served as director of marketing for four years at Chalk Hill Winery, repackaging and repositioning the brand. In 1991, once again she put out her shingle, offering marketing for the wine industry and specializing in launching new luxury brands. Napa Valley had become her home and her business grew by word of mouth. Elizabeth had lived on the celebrated Eisele Vineyard for nearly 15 years, getting to know the original owners and hiking every inch of the land. “I came back there to work with the Araujos when they bought it. I respect them as good stewards. They kept what was good and improved where they could.”
She realized her craft was to identify and express what is unique and authentic about her clients. “The best positioning comes out of being true to yourself,” she says. “I’ve had the great fortune to work with wineries that have gone on to become renowned. Their reputations are deserved because of the thoughtfulness and honesty with which they’ve put together their brands.”
Through working with Araujo, Dalla Valle, Etude, Franciscan, Harlan, Kamen, Seavey, Soter, Spottswoode, Viader and others, Elizabeth arrived at an almost inevitable point in her career. “Partnering with Spencer to make our own wines seemed such a natural evolution after selling and marketing so many others.”
First food, then wine careers put her and her husband on parallel paths, Elizabeth explains, and they entered the wine business precisely as California blossomed and gained acceptance. “We both grew along with the industry,” she says. “We did not make our fortune in another walk of life and come here to fulfill our dream. This always was our life, and we’ve been blessed to live our dream.”
Margo Van Staaveren
2009 marked Margo Van Staaveren’s 30th harvest at Chateau St. Jean. During her long tenure with the winery, Margo has played a pivotal role in every facet of the winemaking process. As winemaker, she makes the final decisions involving blend and style to produce consistently high quality wines in the super premium and luxury category.
Margo is a firm believer that great wines are grown – a conviction she shares with the Chateau founders who led the way for Chateau St. Jean to become a pioneer of vineyard designated wines in the early 1970s. To achieve Chateau St. Jean vineyard designation, the superior quality of the vineyards must be proven year after year and the grapes must consistently exhibit exceptional varietals character.
The art of blending is the cornerstone of Margo’s winemaking philosophy. To her, one of the greatest accomplishments is to create a wine style or signature blend that carries from vintage to vintage while still capturing the uniqueness of that particular growing year.
As Chappellet’s winemaker for nearly two decades, Phillip Corallo-Titus has guided the winery’s storied winemaking program, building on Chappellet’s legacy as one of California’s pre-eminent producers of Cabernet Sauvignon. A gifted winemaker with a passion for experimentation, Phillip has embraced the diversity of Pritchard Hill to craft benchmark wines that authentically express the terroir-inspired complexity and character of their mountain origins.
Phillip discovered his passion for viticulture and wine at the age of 12 when he began helping his father in the family vineyard. This early exposure to working the vines was complemented at the dinner table, where Phillip’s father would pour French wines from his cellar. Building on this foundation, Phillip studied agronomy, viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis. A dedicated student of wine, Phillip also traveled to France to learn about the great wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
In 1981, Phillip joined the Chappellet team as assistant winemaker, where he spent four years honing his craft and learning about the estate vineyards before pursuing winemaking opportunities at Stratford and Cartlidge & Brown wineries. In 1990, Donn Chappellet invited Phillip to return to the winery as Chappellet’s winemaker, a position he has held ever since.
Working side-by-side with Jon-Mark Chappellet and longtime vineyard manager Dave Pirio, Phillip’s approach to winemaking begins in the vineyard. From his focus on harvesting at ideal ripeness to his emphasis on maintaining the integrity of Chappellet’s numerous vineyard blocks throughout the fermentation and aging process, Phillip strives to make wines that reflect both the vineyard and the vintage.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in winemaking. Once I earned my microbiology degree at Northern Arizona University, I pursued that interest in the vineyard country of northern California, where it became my passion.
For five years, I ran the laboratory at Ridge Vineyards, working under the direction of legendary winemaker Paul Draper. During this time, I met Philippe. We fell deeply in love and moved to France shortly thereafter. While there, I earned a certificate from the University of Bordeaux III.
Upon our return to California, I worked with Beaulieu Vineyards in Quality Control, then moved on to Silver Oak Cellars as Laboratory Manager. But I longed to be more involved in wine production. About this time,
I began to appreciate the fact that Philippe wasn’t just making wine, he was crafting it. And so, following my passion, I decided to dedicate my time solely to Melka Wines.
Today, I enjoy running Melka’s operations and working with Philippe in all facets of winemaking.
I spent much of my youth in Bordeaux, France, earning my geology degree from the University of Bordeaux. On a whim, I took a wine course in my final year of study – a decision that changed my life.
My journey started at Chateau Haut Brion (where my passion for cabernet-based blends and sauvignon blanc began) and I completed a masters program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, the renowned terroir specialist. I was fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality,
a fascination which continues today.
Yearning to know more, I set out for Napa Valley (Dominus Estate), Western Australia (Chittering Estate), Chianti in Italy (Badia O Coltibuono) and Bordeaux (Chateau Petrus) where I divided my time between soil study and winemaking. However, the great diversity of terroirs I found in Napa Valley, and its potential for extraordinary wines, was a revelation to me.
So, with the knowledge I’ve gained around the world, I’ve devoted the past 15 years to winemaking here in Napa Valley – both as a consultant to the most highly regarded estate wineries, and as co-proprietor of Melka Wines with my wife, Cherie. We’ve also found time to raise a beautiful family together.
I feel fortunate to have been trained and influenced by some of the most notable personalities in the wine business: Jean Delmas and Jean Philippe Masclef from Haut-Brion, Christian Moueix and Jean Claude Berrouet from Petrus, Paul Draper from Ridge, Daniel Baron from Silver Oak and Michel Rolland from Chateau Pasteur.
My recent naming as one of the top 9 wine consultants in the world by Robert Parker has been truly humbling, and a terrific honor. But my pursuit of excellence in this field I’m so passionate about has only just begun.
I grew up in the winelands of Stellenbosch and was exposed to wines from as young as I can remember; although it was never a field I thought I would work in. It wasn’t until my final year at varsity when with a friend we started Winemakers Choice, which was and still is a great success. It was through the interactions with the winemakers that a spark went off and I have been involved in wine ever since. From consulting to various farms, making wine and now am the partner and winemaker in Seven Steps Wines as well as a shareholder and founder of CapeVino. Through Seven Steps wine I have been allowed to express all that I love about wine and the way I want the world to see South African wine.
“Think about wine as an art form that creates emotion. Good or bad, it is taste. When I taste a wine it tells me a story, transports my emotions and therefore, to me it is pure intimacy. This is an intimacy that is strictly personal and cannot be wrong.”
Country born: Switzerland
Winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss Federal School of Changins.
Winery experience: 4 years
Jean Hoefliger was born and raised in Switzerland. His initial experience took him from Switzerland to Bordeaux, and South Africa, making wine at the esteemed estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Carbonnieux, and Meerlust. Completing a winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss Federal School of Changins, Jean came to California in 2001 where he spent five years as winemaker for Newton Vineyard. He joined Alpha Omega in 2006.
Jean currently makes wines in Napa Valley, Switzerland and Italy (as a consultant). For Jean the culture of wine made him want to become a winemaker, because it represents to him what society lacks of, time, discussion and pleasure. his biggest influences in the wine world are Paul Pontalier and Michel Rolland. With regions like Bordeaux and California being large influences on his winemaking to date.
There are multiple aspects of Jean’s winemaking that are unique to his style. To start, all of Jean’s winemaking decisions are based solely on taste. This starts in the vineyards and continues through fermentation by tasting everyday. Jean tries to bring the true character of the vine and the terroir into the wine by making naturally fermented, unfined and unfiltered wines. Therefore, he uses the multiple strains of yeast naturally present on the grapes to induce fermentation. This is a much slower process than inoculation, but the flavors and complexity the different strains bring to the wine are immense. The temperatures of natural fermentation are much lower as well due to the lower population of yeast cells; therefore, aromas and tastes are more pure because they are not burned off by excess heat.
In addition to the natural fermentation, Jean ferments directly in open-top French oak barrels, rather than fermenting in stainless steel. This allows the wine to be in contact with the French oak at an early stage, so the integration of the oak’s aromas is more subtle. Most important, the early integration allows the tannins of both the grapes and the wood to soften and round, which presents an amazing mouth feel at an earlier stage. This allows the wine and the French oak to integrate which creates wine that is more approachable and has a velvety mouth feel at an earlier stage.
Lastly, prior to bottling Jean, ensures that all of the wines remain unfined and unfiltered. This is to keep the structure and the personality of the natural components of the wine. Jean believes that if you follow a wine closely through its life, you should not have to change the entire structure prior to bottling. There are many risks involved in this style of winemaking, but due to the small production and the constant contact with the wine, the risks are minimized. The finished wines have the true personality of the terroir with elegance, finesse and the capacity to age.
Honors / Awards:
While at Newton Vineyards, Jean’s Epic Merlot and Puzzle 2002 received 94 points from Robert Parker, and 97 points on the 2003 Unfiltered Chardonnay. Most recently, with his new project Alpha Omega, the AO flagship wine ERA 2006 scored 94 from the Wine Spectator on its first release. The ERA 2007 scored 92 points from Robert Parker and the Proprietary Red 2006 scored 95 points from the Wine Enthusiast and was also chosen as a top Cellar Collection for the year. The Chardonnay 2007 received a 94 in Wine Spectator and the To Kalon 2007 received a 97 from the Wine Enthusiast.
AJOY R. SHAW
Chief Winemaker & GM-Winemaking, Sula Vineyards
Associate member of the Institute of Wines and Spirits (AIWS)
M.Sc. Biotechnology (Gold Medalist)
M.B.A. Marketing (Distinction)
Diploma in Wines and Spirits, WSET ® London, 2008
BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTION
Overall in charge of winemaking operations for Sula – involved in winemaking & supervising team of winemakers, taking crucial decisions of tasting and blending, harvesting with routine visits to vineyards, equipment and material selection, ensuring accurate quality control checks at production, coordinating with head of Viticulture to align viticulture with winemaking needs and launching of new brands
Mar 2002 – Winemaker Sula Vineyards Nasik
Oct. 1999 –Mar 2002 Assistant Winemaker Sula Vineyards Nasik
- Experience of 14 harvests: 11 harvests in India, 2 harvests in California, 1 in Bordeaux.
- Represented India as an International Judge in 2007 and 2008 for ‘Les Citadelles du Vin’ wine competition, the 2009 and 2010 Shanghai International Wine Challenges and the 2009 Sommelier India Wine Challenge.
- Delivered several talks on winemaking in Indian and International expositions
- Annual visits to Californian vineyards during harvest and discussing maturity issues with consultant Winemaker
Mar.1999- Oct.1999 Business Development Exec. Genetix Ltd. Pune
1993-1996 Research Fellow University of Pune Pune
- Helped design system for accurate QC and traceability of wines including Set up of lab, systems and technical equipment for high quality wine production
- Helped with transition from cork to screw capped wine bottles
- Reduction in winemaking costs every year
- Maintaining & improving quality of wines even with growing fruit quantities @ ~ 45% every year for last 9 years
English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and a little of French & German.
Reading non-fiction books.