Glenna Thompson

Glenna Thompson

Symbiosis Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

Glenna Thompson has a strong background in science, and this has served her well when she eventually became a winemaker. But her pathway to making wine was unusual.

After earning a B.S. degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego, and beginning her career as a biologist, she also worked as an upholsterer and trained as a ballet dancer. She moved on to designing exhibits and doing development for science museums and then working in aquaculture and environmental microbiology.

Her love of science drew Glenna back to academia, and she earned a Ph.D. in marine microbiology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a division of UC San Diego. However, a trip to the Central Coast of California to taste wine lured her to the Paso Robles area, where she spent several years running the laboratories at various wineries.

Recognizing that winemaking was a symbiotic mix of art and science, Glenna decided to launch her own project, Symbiosis Wines, in 2007.

At Symbiosis, Glenna does it all. Her fruit is harvested by hand using sustainable practices, and production of her wine involves using green-friendly techniques like gravity racking rather than pumping and pallet jacking instead of fork lifting. She uses recycled materials whenever possible, and eschews ultra-heavy glass bottles. In short, Symbiosis is as “small and green” as possible. It produces Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Torrontés, and red and white blends, among others.