Marisa Taylor

Marisa Taylor

Rutherford Hill Winery (Winemaker)

Growing up near the vineyards of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, Marisa seemed destined to find a career in winemaking. At a young age, she recalls visits to the vineyards to watch her godfather, a vineyard manager, work with the vines. Like most people who grow up in wine country, wine was a typical fixture at her family’s dinner table. During those impressionable years, Marisa developed a deep appreciation for the process of taking the grapes from vine to the glass, generating the spark of what would become her professional calling.

She enrolled in Santa Rosa Junior College, and by age 25, she was making her own wine, using Pinot Noir from Carneros. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, first with a B.S. in Chemistry and then with an M.S. in Food Science-Enology. With those two degrees, Marisa felt she had the solid foundation needed to excel at top quality, artisan winemaking. A self-described “lab rat,” Marisa continues to have a passion for the analytical detail needed for monitoring yeast cultures, barrels, fermentation, blending, and ultimately, bottling.

After initially honing her skills in the laboratory at Piper Sonoma and J Winery, she became an enologist at S. Anderson Vineyard in Yountville, where she learned to make Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and sparkling wine. She also worked abroad for the harvest of 1999 at the Colognole Winery in Rufina, Italy, where she immersed herself in winemaking and learned to vinify Sangiovese.

When she returned to the U.S., she joined Williams-Selyem in July 2000 as an assistant winemaker, where she further refined her winemaking skills, making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Sonoma County. Four years later, she moved on to Rutherford Hill Winery as its Winemaker.

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 Sauvignon. 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.

When Marisa has a few moments of downtime she enjoys spending time gardening or playing with her young son at home in Sonoma County. She also enjoys quilting.