Kathleen Conway

Kathleen Conway

K Estate Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

From the age of three, Kathleen Conway 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 has evolved into the formation of K Estate Wines, her own label. Kathleen’s K Sparkling Wine and unique dessert wines are consistent gold-medal winners. Kathleen has also developed her own line of unique wines as well as award-winning Tuscan olive oil and renowned Balsamic vinegars.

Kathleen shares the winemaking responsibilities at Carmody McKnight with her husband Greg Cropper. They live at the family ranch, manage an organic farm, and raise horses, alpacas, and exotic sheep, among other animals. In addition, she applies principles from her UCLA psychology major to organize benefits for animal rescue, hurricane victims, and many needy community organizations.