How Studying Spanish Led To A Career In Wine This Vineyard Guru Loves Birth Year Wines, Cabs...

Posted: Nov 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has put me behind in meeting new people in person. Fellow writers, cooks and chefs, sommeliers and, of course, winemakers. Aron Weinkauf (oh yes, he definitely has an appropriate family name!) is one of the individuals I look forward to meeting when next we are in Napa, and he’s the star of the latest Wine Talk.

Weinkauf is both vineyard manager and winemaker at the storied Spottswoode estate, whose team he joined in 2006 (as assistant winemaker). He is only the fifth head winemaker in Spottswoode’s history.

Weinkauf grew up in Nevada, where his family tended a vegetable garden (organic at that) and raised a variety of animals, including pigs, chickens and horses. He went to school at Berry College, where he studied Spanish, a major put him on the road a career in wine. Though, he didn’t know that at the time.

During his junior and senior years at Berry, Weinkauf studied in Spain, where he learned to appreciate a glass of wine at meals. While working as a teacher after college, he volunteered at a winery in Nevada, and fell in love with the processes of growing grapes and making wine. Fresno State University was his next stop.

At the California school, Weinkauf, who was born in 1976, studied viticulture and enology, and he worked as an assistant winemaker at Ficklin Vineyards (which happens to be America’s oldest port winery) while attending Fresno State. A stint at Paul Hobbs Winery was next.

By James Brock
November 19, 2020

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