Chateau Montelena Winery Announces New Winemaker
Chateau Montelena Winery announced the promotion of Matthew Crafton from assistant winemaker to winemaker. Crafton will continue to work under the guidance of Chateau Montelena’s CEO and master winemaker Bo Barrett with the support of vineyard manager Dave Vella.
In 2006, Crafton moved to Napa Valley from Virginia to expand his wine industry experience, starting as a viticulture intern at Etude Wines. He joined the Chateau Montelena team in 2008 as assistant winemaker and started leading Chateau Montelena’s famous Chardonnay program. Crafton’s educational background includes a B.S. in viticulture and enology from UC Davis and a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia. An East Coast native, Crafton has worked in vineyards and cellars for over a decade from coast to coast.
Chateau Montelena has a long history of promoting winemakers from within – Bo Barrett worked for both Miljenko “Mike” Grgich in the early 1970’s, and then with Jerry Luper before his promotion to winemaker in 1982. Crafton’s immediate predecessor Cameron Parry was understudy to Bo before his promotion in 2008, and Crafton spent the past six years training under Parry.
“My father Jim was a Submarine Officer in the U.S. Navy and he instilled at Chateau Montelena the philosophy to ‘Train for Command.’ From day one, the Montelena winemaking staff has always sought out the most promising individuals who are driven, not only for individual excellence, but also teamwork. It takes more than one person to work a ship and the same goes for producing world-class wines. After working alongside and observing Matt’s performance through six vintages, including the high workload in 2010 and 2011, we are very confident he will excel in his new position as Montelena’s winemaker – after all, he’s Montelena trained.”
Crafton adds, “I am beyond excited about my new position at Chateau Montelena and look forward to many more great vintages with the team. I support everything Chateau Montelena believes in from our sustainability practices, to the level of quality we hold our wines to, and to providing a safe, fun environment to work in.”
Crafton resides in Napa with his wife Julie and two sons, William and Benjamin. When not producing world-class wines at Chateau Montelena, Crafton enjoys being outdoors, whether it is with his kids on his own urban farm, or exploring the wine country’s geographical bounty. Crafton winds down with his wine alternatives of Earl Grey tea or whiskey, depending on the day.
About Chateau Montelena Winery
Established in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs, Calistoga-based Chateau Montelena is credited for helping California wine earn worldwide recognition. In 1976, Chateau Montelena was one of two Napa Valley wineries to come out on top in a blind tasting held for a who's-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Chateau Montelena produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Riesling varietals. Its celebrated tasting room is open daily from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The winery has been owned and operated by the Barrett Family since 1972. For more information on Chateau Montelena, visit: www.montelena.com.