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Two California Producers Fill New Winemaking Positions

Jacob Gaffney
Posted: July 12, 2000

Two winemakers have taken new posts with wineries in California. Zaca Mesa Winery in Santa Barbara County has hired Steven Roberto as director of winemaking, while Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley has picked Chris Millard to oversee its Vintner's Collection line of wines.

Roberto, a California native, worked as winemaker at the Ste. Chapelle winery in Idaho for the past two years. His prior experience also includes a stint as varietal program manager and research enologist for Robert Mondavi's Woodbridge brand.

Zaca Mesa is planning to expand production and so created the new position for Roberto. Working alongside associate winemaker Benjamin Silver, Roberto will oversee the winery's annual production of roughly 50,000 cases, mainly of Chardonnay, Syrah, Roussanne and Rhtne-style blends.

"I like the idea of [Roberto] having come from UC-Davis, his work at Mondavi and his MBA from Tulane," said Jeff Maiken, president of Zaca Mesa. "The combination of those talents work. I've been impressed with some of the wines he made at Ste. Chapelle."

Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines Co., whose winery portfolio includes Sterling Vineyards, picked Chris Millard to supervise winemaking for its new Vintner's Collection, a line of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay from coastal appellations.

Millard's past positions include winemaker for Central Valley-based Delicato Family Vineyards' operations in Monterey County and assistant winemaker at Bridlewood Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Sterling Vineyards produces 230,000 cases yearly. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are its most widely planted varietals.

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Check out recent ratings of Zaca Mesa and Sterling Vineyards wines.

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