My name is Nadia and I moved to Napa in 2004 to pursue a career in culinary arts following my graduation from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After completing my externship at Julia’s Kitchen in Napa I went on to manage the catering department for Dean & Deluca in Saint Helena. In 2006 I decided to follow my dream of traveling and working overseas and went to Australia and New Zealand for three months. It was during this time that my passion for wine, that had been awakened while working with wineries at Dean & Deluca, continued to grow exponentially. Upon return to the US, I followed this passion to Domaine Chandon, eventually working my way up through tasting room management and then onto marketing and communications positions for both Domaine Chandon and Newton Vineyard. After nearly seven years, I left Domaine Chandon and Newton Vineyard and took my career to the next step and joined Cornerstone Cellars in 2013 as the wine club and e-commerce director. I am now the director of consumer sales for Cornerstone Cellars, overseeing the wine club, e-commerce and the tasting room operations.
My name is Stefanie and I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After completion of my psychology degree from the University of Minnesota, I moved west to Denver, Colorado. Denver is where my three children were born and I enjoyed being a stay at home mom. The move west continued in 2004 when my husband's job moved us to Southern California. We settled in the Temecula area which is north and inland from San Diego. This is where I got my start in the wine industry, as Temecula is a grape growing region with over 40 wineries. Six years later, another job related move brought us to Northern California, where we settled in the town of Napa. This move was very exciting as it provided me with more opportunities within the wine industry and the opportunity to grow as a wine professional. In addition to enjoying all that the region has to offer, I enjoy spending time with my family and occasionally indulging in my passion on the golf course.
I have lived in the Napa Valley for just over a year, but spent most of my life near Atlanta, Georgia. During my career with a big box retailer, I fell in love with food and wine and decided to make a career out of something delicious. I worked for a small artisanal dairy and organic produce farm selling cheese and produce to the chefs of Atlanta’s best restaurants. My husband and I decided to move our family to Northern California and we had the good fortune to land in the world’s best wine region and I joined the Cornerstone team in March.
I was born in the Azores islands in a town called Terceira. My family and I came to the United States when I was eight years of age. I lived on a dairy farm milking cows in central California until I was twenty years old. I then moved to San Diego where I went to UCSD to pursue my education in Biology. During this time I was working full time for a defense system company doing government contracts. I traveled to many third world countries helping our clients implement a new software program. Soon this became tiresome. Shortly thereafter I quit my job and went to work in a restaurant having no experience whatsoever. This is where my obsession for wine began. A few years later I became a Level 1, 2 and a Certified Wine Specialist in two years time. I was on a mission to learn all I could. During my years as a sommelier I traveled to Napa for “research” and fell madly in love with the magic of this place. I knew that someday this is where I would call home. Last September I took the plunge and relocated to Napa working as a harvest intern at Laird Family Estates. It was such a great experience being able to really understand the production side of the wine world. Six months later I began working for Cornerstone Cellars as the Tasting Room Manager. My goal is to eventually become a winemaker. Not necessarily a famous one, but just being able to create a wine that I can call my own! Who knew that after all of my years wearing rubber boots on the dairy that I would wear them again in a winery!!
My name is Megan Myers. I am a Bay Area native from Novato, California. After High School I explored many career opportunities from Cosmetology to Veterinary Assisting. I finally settled down in Kenwood, California and found my passion in the wine industry. It all started in 2009 at a small boutique winery in Sonoma, California. From there I moved to San Francisco and became an Event Coordinator for JAQK Cellars. In early 2014 I decided that the city life was not for me. It was then I realized that I belong in the heart of wine country to continue my education attending Napa Valley Wine Academy. I am now a Wine Educator at Cornerstone Cellars and working toward my CWS Certification.
As a winemaker your mind is in the future building, always building, on past vintages. Vintages are experiences, part of a voyage, not just end results. Winemakers have no favorite vintages just treasured experiences and the pain and pleasure of continually second guessing yourself.
The vines are now being pruned in the vineyards and the cycle that is agriculture begins again. In many ways it is comforting to work in a world governed by such a precise metronome. You know how you got here and where you're going.
There are always frustrations though as winemaking is slow motion business - you only get one 'iteration" per year.
What are some of my current frustrations?
- Alcohol levels continue to challenge us. While we have reduced them by more than 1% over previous vintages, we're not quite there yet. I think the sweet-spot for Napa Valley Cabernet is between 14 and 14.5% and for Oregon Pinot 13 to 13.5%. this gives you the depth, complexity and mouthfeel we hope for while still letting terroir show through. It's a tightrope, but we'll get there - we are getting there.
- The cost of doing making wine in the Napa Valley continues to increase and will force wine prices even higher.
- Too many wine reviews are published without ever tasting the wine with food. This is like tasting only the sauce and then writing a review of the whole dish. You can never understand how it all works together.
- The fact that so many sommeliers do not have an open mind when it comes to California and, in particular, Napa Valley wines. They are not all the same.
What makes me happy?
- The limitless potential of Oregon makes it one of the most exciting wine regions in the world. This is a region where you can argue the best vineyards have not even been planted yet. It's a brave new world with no where to go but up.
- The growing appreciation of wines with a more balanced, restrained style is exciting. While for the most part this reawakening of taste has not enlightened old-school wine media yet, new wine media is all over it. The old guys better wake up or get left in the dust.
- The growing recognition and excitement around rebel, back-to-your-roots winemakers in the staid world of the Napa Valley.
- The exciting, exploding community of wine lovers on social media. Finally small wineries can actually have a marketing edge over corporate wineries. After all, real people are a lot more fun to have a conversation with.
- What I am happiest about is how far we've come with our wines. They are so, so much better. Uplifting wines that are refreshing and elegant.
While I know I will always think we can do better no matter how great the vintage, these are wines I am proud of sharing with anyone.
Do over? Not really, each vintage is a new beginning. How lucky are we?
Vintage, Vineyard and Variety
"Excellence is never enough, we have to go beyond and establish an ever higher goal each vintage. Our goal is to craft wines that are not only exceptional, but memorable. Each of our wines expresses the essence of vineyard, variety and vintage, which combine each harvest to create something never to be exactly repeated."