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.