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Winemakers

Winemakers

Winemaker: Courtney Wagoner (2017-Present)

Courtney Wagoner grew up in Morgan Hill, California, than a small town that is now a suburb of Silicon Valley. Her original professional goal was to work in the food industry because of the variety of its fields and the fact that people always need food. To make her dream a reality, she enrolled in California State Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo, in 1998, majoring in Food Science. Early in her college experience, a class entitled “Wines and Fermented Foods” hooked her on the science of fermentation and winemaking. Courtney was drawn to winemaking because she recognized it as a marriage of science and art. She had always loved science, and her artistic side was reflected in her being an avid musician in high school as well as at Cal Poly, where she was a part of several different musical groups.

The suggestion of one of her professors that she should have a harvest experience if she was truly serious about winemaking led Courtney to an internship in 2001 at Artesa Winery in Napa. Upon returning to Cal Poly, her internship experience was followed by a position in the lab and cellar of Wild Horse Winery in the Paso Robles region.

Even before earning her B.S. degree in 2003, she received the offer of a full-time job at Artesa, which resulted in her learning about cool-climate wines and clones, as well as production of sparkling wines. Two years later, she joined Gundlach Bundshau Winery in Sonoma as Enologist, wanting to learn something new. After nearly two years there, in 2007 she moved to Alderbrook Winery in Healdsburg as its Enologist. At Alderbrook, Courtney was part of a small dedicated team and experienced all aspects of winemaking. Notably, her 2010 Terlato Pinot Noir was the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Red Sweepstakes Winner.

Courtney remained at Alderbrook until the winery was sold in late 2013. She then took a brief break before accepting a position as Assistant Winemaker at Martinelli Winery in mid-2015. This was soon followed by her promotion to Winemaker there in late 2017. Because of her expertise in vinifying cool climate grapes, Courtney’s passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay make her a perfect match for the wide range of Martinelli wines. She prides herself on crafting wines that best express the various sites that are part of Martinelli Family’s vineyard portfolio. “It is a way of honoring the Martinelli Family’s devotion to the land and its rich heritage.”

When she’s not at the winery, Courtney can be found hiking around Sonoma County with her husband Jonathan and two daughters, Samantha and Sydney.

Consulting Winemaker: Erin Green (2010-present)

Erin began her fascination with the science of winemaking and winegrowing as an undergraduate at UC Davis, where she pursued a degree in Fermentation Science with an emphasis on Enology. After graduating, she began working part-time on Helen Turley’s projects as well as Sonoma-Cutrer. In the early 1990’s Erin was instrumental in launching Napa Wine Company, a custom crush facility where she was Director of Winemaking. It was here that Erin and Bryan Kvamme worked together for the first time. Erin continued working for Helen Turley on her clients’ wines, including Bryant Family, Martinelli and Pahlmeyer through the end of 1999. For the next 12 years, Erin was the Winemaker and the Director of Winegrowing for Pahlmeyer.

Erin has returned to Martinelli as Consulting Winemaker. It was a natural fit for her to return to Martinelli, having previously worked with the Martinelli family and having knowledge of their style of wines.

Winemaker: Bryan Kvamme (1997-2017)

Bryan Kvamme’s passion for wine got under his skin while he was working Down Under as a shepherd in 1988. He traded a life of wool growing to obtain his second Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis, this time in Enology. His hands-on experience started with time at the Napa Wine Company, then cellar and enology internship positions at Gloria Ferrer and Benessere wineries. Bryan first started working with Helen Turley at Martinelli Winery in 1997. Through his journey from Cellar Master to Winemaker in 2007, Bryan has learned from Helen the importance of quality vineyard sites and their management, and the excellent fruit they can bring forth. He has also gained an appreciation for her natural approach to winemaking — letting the essence of fully ripened fruit shine through from the vineyard to the wine.

Helen

Consulting Winemaker: Helen Turley (1992-2010)

Lee and Carolyn met and befriended Helen Turley on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. They discovered that they were vineyard neighbors; Helen’s Marcassin vineyard rests on the same ridge as the Martinelli’s Charles Ranch vineyard along the Sonoma Coast. They began working with Helen professionally, and she introduced new viticulture and cellar practices to the Martinelli family, and the new vineyards at that time were planted with the professional consultation and specifications of John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley.

Helen Turley started the B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Vineyard, Turley Winery, Peter Michael Winery & Vineyards, Pahlmeyer, Colgin, Bryant Family Vineyard, and her own Marcassin vineyard and winery projects. She was educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and graduated from Cornell University. Helen and her husband, John Wetlaufer, are currently writing a book about Marcassin.