Elizabeth Vianna

Elizabeth Vianna

Chimney Rock Winery (Head Winemaker & General Manager)

Elizabeth Vianna was a biology major at Vassar College, where she originally was pursuing a pre-med course of study. She attributes her career in winemaking to a glass of 1985 Sociando Mallet, which she enjoyed at a pre-auction tasting at Christie’s in New York. At the time, she was working as a clinical toxicologist at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Elizabeth’s strong science background and infatuation with wine led her to apply to the University of California, Davis, and its well-known winemaking program rather than to a medical school.

While completing her master’s degree in enology at UC Davis, she worked as a harvest intern at Chimney Rock Winery in Napa. When she graduated in 1999, she became an enologist at the Napa Wine Company and was soon named assistant winemaker there, where she worked directly with many of the region’s top winemakers, including Heidi Barrett, Erin Green, Pam Starr, and Celia Welch. Elizabeth was then appointed assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock Winery in 2002, and advanced to the position of winemaker in 2005, consistently producing highly regarded Bordeaux-style wines. She was promoted to General Manager of the winery in 2011, while continuing in her role as head winemaker of this Stags Leap District estate enterprise.

Elizabeth currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Stags Leap Growers Association. She lives in Sonoma and holds as a guiding principle the goal of making the world a better place. She takes an active role in mentoring women interested in a career in winemaking/viticulture. She is also particularly fond of Labrador Retrievers.