My name is Stephanie Wolden. As a native Californian, I grew up along the coastlines of Southern California and received my B.A. from Cal State Long Beach. After a decade of working in cubicles, I became restless and was feeling the pull of adventure. So, I sold my belongings and headed off to Florence, Italy where I taught English as a foreign language and sold Florentine leather in a boutique shop. It was here that I had my “ah-ha moment” with wine. A 1998 Brunello di Montalcino literally changed the course of my life. As my palette and passion for wine developed, I set my sights on Napa for the move back to California. An exciting new career began at Domaine Chandon in 2006 where I worked as an Ambassador of Wine for both Chandon and Newton Vineyard, while gaining a solid foundation in wine education, hospitality and management. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of spending my days at various premier wineries throughout the valley; all of which have led me here, to the tasting room of Cornerstone Cellars. My “spare” time is spent as a travel writer and photographer.
My name is Lynne. I recently joined Cornerstone Cellars to manage the administrative operations on the Direct To Trade side of the business. We moved to Northern California in 1994 and since then the Napa Valley has enticed me. So, after raising my family, I gained administrative experience in various industries including sales, marketing and hospitality. Now I am able to capitalize on those experiences and work at a premiere boutique winery in the heart of the valley. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, entertaining family and friends and watching baseball or football.
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 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."