Elaine St. Clair

Elaine St. Clair

St. Clair Brown Winery (Winemaker & Owner)

Elaine St. Clair was born in Cambridge, England, where her father was finishing his graduate degree in chemical engineering. It was there that she was influenced by England’s “naturalist” culture and developed a life-long affection for nature, the sciences, and an experimental approach to learning. When she enrolled at the University of California, Davis in 1980, she connected with a group of like-minded students in the burgeoning food and viticulture community. It wasn’t long before she decided to combine her interests and pursue a career in winemaking.

After graduating in 1986, she spent some time at DeLoach Vineyards in Sonoma, learning the basics of cellar management and fruit processing. Next, she went to Domaine Chandon, where she spent more than a decade as a member of the winemaking team for a 400,000-case sparkling wine program. That’s where she began to develop her blending technique, producing small lots, and blending them to create distinctive taste profiles.

To further diversify her profile, she partnered in the creation of Napa Valley Ale Works where, as head brewer, she produced and marketed three award-winning brands of premium micro-brewed beer.

In 1999, Elaine accepted a position as winemaker at Domaine Carneros in the Carneros region, where she supervised an award-winning wine program that included five ultra-premium sparkling wines and three estate-grown Carneros Pinot Noirs. In addition to winning numerous awards, these wines received several 90+ point rankings in the Wine Spectator. She moved to Black Stallion Winery in Napa as its winemaker in 2008, remaining there until 2012.

In 2001, Elaine began developing her one-acre family vineyard in the Coombsville region of Napa Valley and now has her own label, St. Clair Brown Winery. She makes small-lot, handcrafted wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel, Rosé, and Chardonnay, among other varietals.