Celia Welch

Celia Welch

Barbour Vineyards (Winemaker)

Castiel Estate (Winemaker)

Corra Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

Keever Vineyards & Winery (Winemaker)

Lindstrom Wines (Winemaker)

Rewa Vineyards (Winemaker)

Scarecrow Wine (Winemaker)

Celia Welch has been a winemaker for more than 30 years, after earning a B.S. degree in Fermentation Science from the University of California, Davis in 1982. Joining her in classes at that time were Kristin Belair, Pam Starr, and Stacy Clark, who are now colleagues as winemakers in California.

Her first interaction with grapes was under the huge oak tree in her backyard in Southern Oregon, where she and her siblings picked grape berries from stems for their father, an avid wine collector and home winemaker. Her parents also included the children on trips through Napa and Sonoma in the early 1960s, and, like most visitors, she was entranced with the beauty of the rolling vineyards.

She enrolled at UC Davis when she learned that professional winemaking would combine her early fascination with flavors and aromas, her strengths in science, and her love of the rural lifestyle. There, one of her significant mentors was Professor Ann Noble, inventor of the Wine Aroma Wheel. After receiving her degree, Celia traveled to the wine regions of the Pacific Northwest, the East Coast, and New Zealand. She worked the harvest in the Barossa Valley of Australia and then she settled in the Napa Valley to refine her craft.

She then spent several years assisting in wine production on Mt. Veeder and in the Carneros. She joined Silverado Vineyards in 1987 to design, implement, and supervise a quality control program. In 1991, she became the assistant winemaker at Robert Pepi winery and in 1992 began consulting for Staglin Family Vineyard, a small, ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon producer.

She had reached a fork in her career path in the early 1990s, and that’s when she chose to focus on independent wine consulting. She resigned from Robert Pepi in 1995 to pursue her consulting career, and she has acted as an independent winemaker and winemaking consultant since that time. The wines she made subsequently are a microcosm of Napa Valley; they are from vineyards on Mt. Veeder, Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Carneros, St. Helena, and Napa. She currently is the winemaker for Keever Vineyards, Barbour Vineyards, Castiel Estate, Lindstrom Wines, Rewa Vineyards, and Scarecrow Wine, and the consulting winemaker for Signorello Estate, The Hess Collection, and J. Davies Winery. A measure of her winemaking talent is her 2015 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon receiving the highest rating on Vivino in 2019.

Celia has also founded her own brand, Corra Wines. In 2004 came the idea and the challenge of founding the brand. Corra is the name of a Celtic deity representing both harvest and prophecy and symbolizes the small brand’s forward-looking perspective. It was only after Welch started her own label that she realized the last step of the cycle of winemaking – the moment of celebration when the cork is pulled from the bottle. She says that Corra is her chance to complete the story. Celia uses grapes from three prime vineyards in three of Napa Valley’s premium growing regions, Oakville, Rutherford, and Pritchard Hill, to create the powerful, yet elegant, Corra Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celia has been honored as Winemaker of the Year 2008 by Food & Wine Magazine, as one of Forbes.com’s “Top Ten Tastemakers of 2006," and with the Women for Winesense Rising Star Award from the Southern California chapter of this group; the national chapter of Women for Winesense inducted her into its Winemaker’s Hall of Fame as well.