Winemakers

We make wine to preserve and enhance the
character of each grape variety and vineyard we harvest.

Tom Montgomery
Winemaker

Tom Montgomery grew up in the small farming town of Sanger, California. As a boy, he learned farming in the orchards and vineyards of the Valley and developed a knowledge of wine from his father, a professor of Geography who traveled the world and brought home fine wines. An interest in agriculture led him to the study of Viticulture and Enology under the honorable Vincent E. Petrucci at Fresno State University.

After receiving his degree, he apprenticed under Aaron Mosley (assistant to Mike Grgich at Chateau Montelena during the Paris tasting years) at the original Napa Cellars. He later became the winemaker at Conn Creek Winery in Rutherford, Napa Valley, where he fashioned the well-known Bordeaux blend “Anthology”.  Here he had the opportunity to work with the renowned Andre Tchelistcheff.

After undertaking his graduate studies in business, he became the winemaker at B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California in 2003. Here he made the Olive Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley, award winning Chardonnay from Sangiacomo Vineyards, and other well-known wines. With the sale of B.R. Cohn Winery in 2015, he became the winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery in Oakville, Napa Valley, and the Director of Winemaking at Papagni Winery in Madera with Melissa Smith.

 

Melissa Smith
Winemaker

Melissa Smith grew up in the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay, California, near the vineyards and wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here, she became interested in wine and started working in tasting rooms of local wineries.

After her degree in Chemistry from Sonoma State University, she decided to pursue her interest in wine and became the assistant winemaker at B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California, under Tom Montgomery. Here, she honed her skills and expanded her interest to include the many varieties from France and Italy.

With the sale of B.R. Cohn Winery in 2015, she accepted a winemaking position at Papagni Winery in Madera, where she makes many of the Italian fine wine varieties: Barbera, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Nero D’Avola, and many more.

With partner and senior winemaker, Tom Montgomery, she fashions our well known “Tuscan”, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, Barbera, and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the best vineyards of Sonoma Valley.

Gatsby
aka The Bunk

Gatsby is our beloved Sun Conure parrot that, for years, came to work every day to B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California.

Her bright colors and almost human personality is inspiring and has endeared winemakers and rock stars alike. Her flight feather is found on our label and she can also be seen sitting on Tom’s shoulder on the “Tuscan” label.

 

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