Kathleen Conway

Kathleen Conway

Carmody McKnight Estate Wines (Co-Winemaker and Owner)

Kathleen Conway from the age of three grew up on what came to be called Conway Vineyards in Paso Robles, a property owned since the 1960s by her mother, a former Miss America from South Carolina, and her father, an actor, screenwriter, and artist. She began managing the Carmody McKnight vineyard and winery over two decades ago, applying the overarching philosophy that wines from the estate should be created in a responsible and natural way. This concept applies throughout the winemaking process from viticulture to vinification. Kathleen and her family were among the first families to become part of the “Westside Wine phenomenon,” the term associated with locating wineries in Paso Robles to the west of U.S. 101.

Shortly after assuming management of Carmody McKnight, Kathleen took on the challenge of producing late harvest and dessert wines without manipulating the fruit and without using various winemaking “tricks” in the process. After achieving success in this venture, she turned her attention to making sparkling wine using the labor-intensive méthode champenoise technique. The vines in “Kathleen’s Vineyard” sit atop chalky limestone-rich soil characteristic of that in the Champagne region of France, and it contains calcium montmorillonite, touted by some as “limestone on steroids.” The product of her efforts is now available after over a decade for the wine to evolve to the level of quality to which she aspires.

Kathleen shares the winemaking responsibilities at Carmody McKnight with her husband Greg Cropper. She and Greg live at the family ranch, organic farm, and 100-acre vineyard outside of Paso Robles.