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2002 Brings New Positions for West Coast Winemakers

Changes in staff come to Canoe Ridge, Erath, Kendall-Jackson, Rex Hill, Sagelands and Trinchero.

Tim Fish
Posted: February 14, 2002

With the 2001 reds aging safely in the barrels, winemakers in California, Oregon and Washington are on the move, with new appointments at Rex Hill Vineyards, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Trinchero Winery and others.

Lynn Penner-Ash, winemaker for 14 years at Rex Hill Vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley, will leave the winery in mid-March to focus on her own label, Penner-Ash, which she started in 1998. Penner-Ash, who was also president of Rex Hill, said, "I just wanted to get back to winemaking. Being president and winemaker don't always go together." She will continue consulting for the winery through 2002; replacing her is assistant winemaker Aron Hess.

Michael Beckley is the new winemaker for Erath, also in the Willamette Valley. Beckley, who was previously on the winemaking team at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon, replaces Rob Stuart, who left the winery to start his own label. Stuart had been with Erath since 1994.

Kevin Mott is taking over winemaking duties at Canoe Ridge Vineyard in Washington's Walla Walla Valley, replacing the departing John Abbott. Mott had been general manager and winemaker at Sagelands Vineyard in Yakima; both wineries are owned by Napa, Calif.-based Chalone Wine Group. Frederique Spencer, who had been assistant winemaker at Sagelands, has been promoted to winemaker.

Derek Holstein has left his job as winemaker at Trinchero Winery in California's Napa Valley. He is being replaced by assistant winemaker Joe Shirley. The winery is part of the Sutter Home group of wineries owned by the Trinchero family.

Adolfo Alarcon is the new assistant winemaker in charge of the Cabernet Franc program at Kendall-Jackson Winery's Vinwood Cellars in Sonoma County. Previously, the native of Mexico City worked on the winemaking staffs at Stonestreet, Franciscan Estates and Grgich Hills wineries, all in California.

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