Rashell (Shelly) Rafanelli-Fehlman

Rashell (Shelly) Rafanelli-Fehlman

A. Rafanelli Winery (Head Winemaker)

Rashell (Shelly) Rafanelli grew up with a passion for agriculture. Having strong ties to the wine industry she always planned on staying in the business. Her degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, was in agricultural business with a marketing concentration. After graduation she planned to work in marketing at a large winery.

Shelly is the fourth-generation winemaker at her family's winery which her great grandfather, Italian immigrant, Alberto Rafanelli founded in 1911. His son, Americo, moved it from the town of Healdsburg to the Dry Creek Valley in the early 1950s, and Americo's son, David, and his wife, Patty, now own and operate the business. Shelly is the eldest daughter of David and Patty.

Her parents never pressured any of their three daughters to go into the family business. The message always was: you choose what you want to do. But when Shelly graduated from Cal Poly in 1996, she decided to return home. The winery did not have a marketing department, and she thought that it made sense to get involved in marketing and production, given her education and degree.

Shelly has taken over all production at the winery. With the help of her husband Craig Fehlman, who manages all of their vineyards, they intend to carry on the family tradition of handcrafting exclusive premium red wines. In addition to learning from her father, Shelly has taken winemaking classes at the University of California, Davis, and attends seminars to continue to hone her winemaking skills. A. Rafanelli is known for its Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, which are the only wines it produces.

Shelly, her husband, Craig, and their young son, Caden Richard, live in Sonoma County.