People > Winemaking & Field Crew

Aron Weinkauf
“I can’t imagine a better place to begin my career in winemaking. Spottswoode believes, as do I, that winemaking begins in the vineyards. I am thrilled to be working in the fields at Spottwoode, practicing the age-old craft of winemaking from the ground up, literally!”

Aron Weinkauf, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager

Aron Weinkauf, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager

As both vineyard manager and winemaker, Aron Weinkauf carries on a rich tradition at Spottswoode of embracing an interconnected view of winemaking that has deep roots in the vineyard. In his dual role, Aron works alongside the winery’s in-house vineyard team, guiding the farming of the estate’s 24 individual blocks. In the winery, he applies his talents to as many as 20 small fermentations each vintage, just to make Spottswoode’s two acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons. Aron also performs dozens of additional fermentations for the winery’s Sauvignon Blanc and Field Book Syrah. In addition to being the steward of Spottswoode’s legendary vineyard, Aron ensures that each wine authentically reflects its vintage and vineyards, and that it is true to the elegant, energetic and age-worthy style for which Spottswoode has been recognized since 1982. More

Since his childhood growing up in Nevada on three and a half acres with a large organic vegetable garden, a small orchard, and horses, chickens and pigs, a deep relationship with the land has been an important part of Aron’s life. Later, while earning a degree in Spanish from Berry College, Aron was introduced to the culture of wine, while studying abroad in Sevilla and Barcelona, Spain. In winemaking, Aron saw a way to combine his love of the land with his fascination with wine, and upon returning to the United States he moved to California and enrolled in the viticulture and enology program at Fresno State University. While still in school, Aron worked as the assistant winemaker at the family-owned Ficklin Vineyards, America’s oldest Port winery, before going on to work in the winery at Paul Hobbs after graduation.

In 2006, Aron joined the Spottswoode team as assistant winemaker. At Spottswoode, Aron embraced his desire for a deeper understanding of viticulture. “I fell in love with the sheer enjoyment of working in the vineyard,” says Aron. “Winegrowing is so dynamic—it requires both sensibility and sensitivity as you intuit and adjust to the ebbs and flows of nature.” In 2009, in addition to his role as assistant winemaker, Aron was named Spottswoode’s vineyard manager. Two years later, in recognition of his deep understanding of the vineyard, his gifted palate, and his artistry as a winemaker, Aron was named the fifth winemaker in the storied history of Spottswoode. “When you have the good fortune of working with one of the world’s great vineyards, you realize you are part of an ongoing story,” adds Aron. “I recognize decisions made decades ago that still profoundly shape the quality of our wines. Everyone who has had the privilege of working with our vineyard has strived to leave it better than when they arrived, which is no small feat.”

As part of this ideal, Aron expanded on a quarter century of organic viticulture when he introduced biodynamic farming at Spottswoode, with the goal of ensuring the vineyard’s continued vitality for generations to come. In many ways, biodynamics echoes Aron’s overall winemaking philosophy, which is gentle, thoughtful and vineyard driven, while still being intimately hands-on and detail-oriented. “Working with our vineyard, I’ve come to believe in the romance and interconnectedness of all things. This can lead you in search of both innovation and older, wiser ways of farming. With a vineyard like Spottswoode, if you are deeply aware of the needs of the land, you can make a wine of remarkable pleasure, beauty and balance in even the most challenging vintages.” Less

James Revie

James Revie, Assistant Winemaker

James Revie, Assistant Winemaker

Born and raised in Australia, James Revie began working in vineyards in the acclaimed Margaret River winegrowing region as a teenager. In 2008, after earning a degree in viticulture and enology from Curtin University, James joined the team at Margaret River’s family-owned Voyager Estate Winery, where he spent six years, predominantly as laboratory manager and enologist. In 2012, eager to gain international winemaking experience, James traveled to Napa Valley to work a Northern Hemisphere harvest at Spottswoode and Araujo wineries. James was deeply inspired, both by his time at Spottswoode working alongside Winemaker Aron Weinkauf, and by the energy of the Napa Valley wine community.

In late 2014, eager to return to Napa Valley, James rejoined the Spottswoode winemaking team for another harvest. James quickly distinguished himself as a passionate and thoughtful winemaker with a gifted palate, and in early 2015, he was named Spottswoode’s assistant winemaker. Today, working alongside Aron, James helps to oversee the farming of the historic 133-year-old Spottswoode Estate Vineyard, and the making of the winery’s four acclaimed wines.

Cellar Crew

Spottwoode's vineyard and cellar crew at the winery.

Photos: Robb McDonough

Field & Cellar Crew

Jose Luis Lopez has worked with the winery since 1982. Born in the town of Zamora, Mexico, he is the eleventh of twenty-one children! Trino Manzo Llamas is our Vineyard Foreman. After emigrating from Guadalajara, Mexico to Napa Valley, he worked in the vineyards under Luis Ochoa, learning his trade. He joined Spottswoode in 2000, and says, “Here everyone is treated very well, and they are great people, creating a healthy and enjoyable work environment.” Winery Foreman Jose Mora moved to Napa Valley from Zamora, Mexico when he was 15 years old. He held positions as crew foreman, vineyard supervisor, and cellar master in Napa before joining our winery in 2008. Jaime Gutierrez moved to the United States after finishing high school in Mexico City. He drives the tractor in our vineyard and also works with our draft horse, an exciting new development in our farming methods!

Aron Weinkauf
“I can’t imagine a better place to begin my career in winemaking. Spottswoode believes, as do I, that winemaking begins in the vineyards. I am thrilled to be working in the fields at Spottwoode, practicing the age-old craft of winemaking from the ground up, literally!”

Aron Weinkauf, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager

James Revie

James Revie, Assistant Winemaker

Cellar Crew

Spottwoode's vineyard and cellar crew at the winery.

Photos: Robb McDonough

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