Rutherford Hill’s Winemaker Marisa Taylor seemed destined to find a career in winemaking. Growing up in wine country, she recalls visits to the vineyards to watch her godfather, a vineyard manager, work in the vines. During those impressionable years, Marisa developed a deep appreciation for the process of taking grapes from vine to glass, generating the spark of what would become her professional calling.
Marisa enrolled in Santa Rosa Junior College and by the age of 25 was making her own wine, using Pinot Noir from Carneros. She graduated from the University of California in Davis, first with a B.S. in Chemistry and then an M.S. in Food Science-Enology. With her two degrees, and a tenacious spirit, Marisa had the solid foundation needed to excel at top quality, artisan winemaking.
After initially honing her skills in the lab at Piper Sonoma and J Winery, she became an enologist at S. Anderson Vineyard in Yountville, where she crafted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and sparkling wine. Her natural curiosity led Marisa to work abroad for the harvest of 1999 at the Colognole Winery in Rufina, Italy where she immersed herself in winemaking including vinifying Sangiovese.
Upon returning to the U.S., Marisa joined Williams-Selyem as an assistant winemaker, where she further honed her winemaking skills, making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Sonoma County.
Today, in her dual roles as General Manager and Head Winemaker, Marisa leads the talented winemaking team at Rutherford Hill crafting award-winning Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet. Her acumen for the analytical detail needed for monitoring yeast cultures, barrels, fermentation, blending and ultimately, bottling makes her perfectly suited for her dual leadership roles at Rutherford Hill.