Domaine Serene Winemaker
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the fertile farmland of the Russian River Valley in the town of Forestville, California.
What were you doing before coming to Domaine Serene?
After working several harvests, domestically and internationally, I pursued a Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, solidifying my technical knowledge and understanding of the winemaking process. My passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay led me to Marcassin Wines, where I further honed my skills and refined my expertise.
In May 2017, I joined Three Sticks Wines, where I had the opportunity to extend and flourish in the cellar. Learning the full production calendar of a winery taught me how to identify and understand how a wine’s structural components provide the framework for it to stand the test of time. My goal has always remained committed to crafting wines of the highest quality that capture the essence of the site, showcase the unique characteristics of each variety, and embrace the story depicted by each vintage.
What brought you into the wine industry? Why the passion for wine?
I was immersed in the world of winemaking from an early age, but it didn’t occur to me to pursue it as a career until later in life. I remember accompanying my Dad to pick up his winery allocations, sitting in the car and wondering, “Why is he taking time to do this?” I’ve never seen a man so light on his feet carrying a case of wine, and it sparked interest in me. After earning a Biology degree from UC Berkeley and working in coordinating oncological clinical trials of novel therapeutics at UCSF for five years, I realized my true calling - a devotion to winemaking and the stewardship of farming. I love the blend of art and science, the benevolence of hospitality, and that no wine is the same. Creating a product that people are proud to share with their loved ones is the ultimate compliment.
What is your role at Domaine Serene and what do you enjoy most about it?
As a Winemaker, I spearhead all aspects of the winemaking process, from grape to bottle. Working closely with our talented vineyard team and winemaking staff, we all collaborate with the same goal in mind: to produce exquisite wines that display a sense of place, all the while upholding the winery's legacy of excellence. I enjoy the multitude of responsibilities of this profession that mirror the seasons and capture the essence of a place. Each vintage teaches one something new and presents a novel puzzle; the fun of blending is figuring out how these many pieces will fit together to form the desired wine.
What sets Domaine Serene apart from any other winery?
The commitment from ownership to producing the best wines from their estate. From the details of farming to the iconic hospitality spaces to the state-of-the-art winery to produce these wines, the desire to pay attention to the details is apparent. Support is provided and the people are invaluable to the success of the company and production of these world-class wines.
How do you approach creating a new wine blend or product?
The planning and foresight begin in the vineyard; identifying the farming practices necessary to accentuate the qualities desired in the final product. The final blend is contained in the various lots of wine, but one has to chip away at the inessential material until the wine reveals itself. Once the right components are composed, one’s palate can identify the solution, but figuring out how they fit together is the true challenge and keeps me engaged. Embracing vintage variation and adjusting one’s winemaking practices to the starting materials presented leads me down the path to where the product should end up.
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Potato chips and champagne; if you want to get fancy with it, add a little caviar. I also love Indian or Thai curries with German rieslings.