Molly Hill

Molly Hill

Sequoia Grove Winery (Winemaker)

Molly Hill was born and raised in Summerland, California, and her career in the wine world began before she was legally able to drink: she took a quarter off from her studies in Biology at the University of California, Davis, to work at Beringer Wine Estates. This experience brought about a change of major to Viticulture and Enology (V&E), which she began studying intensively during a year-long study-abroad trip to Lincoln University in New Zealand.

Upon returning to the U.S. and during her continued studies in the UC Davis V&E program to complete her B.S. degree, Molly learned the ropes through an internship making Pinot Noir at Domaine Carneros. Upon graduating in 2002, she sharpened her skills and winemaking intuition, first at Sea Smoke Cellars and then at Viña Isidro in Chile. It was while she was at Viña Isidro that Mike Trujillo, then Sequoia Grove’s winemaker and now its Director of Winemaking and President, offered her a job at Sequoia. Although going from a Cabernet house to making Pinot Noir was a big change, Mike’s passion for the grape and the potential at Sequoia Grove made it impossible to say no to the offer.

Molly joined Sequoia Grove in 2003 as assistant winemaker at the relatively young age of 24 and was promoted to winemaker in 2008. Each vintage since has seen more critical acclaim, and she is quick to credit the success to the dedication of her team. She oversees all winemaking and production operations of the winery, as well as helping with grower relations and recommendations in the vineyards. Top-quality winemaking and grape growing, with passion, is her goal every step of the way. For Molly, balance is of utmost importance in making a great wine. “Balance to me means nothing stands out—not alcohol, not tannin, not acid, nor fruit nor barrel.”

In 2009, Molly and Lars, her winemaking husband, started their own small project called Gro Wines. Their initial release was a single-vineyard Chardonnay from the Mt. Veeder appellation, and they have since added Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo to the portfolio.

Beyond work and wine, Molly enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, running, travel, and making home improvements with Lars; she, her husband, and two children live in Calistoga. Yet she still finds time to serve as a member of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group and the Land Trust of Napa Valley.