Megan Bell

Megan Bell

Margins Wine (Winemaker & Owner)

Megan Bell grew up in Livermore, CA, an emerging wine-producing region, but her family had nothing to do with the wine business. Nonetheless, hikes through the open-space parks of the area brought her in contact with the vineyards says that she entered into wine so early that she didn't really have that "aha moment” that most people in the industry talk about. She elected to major in Viticulture and Enology and minor in English at the University of California, Davis, at age 17, completing her B.S. degree in 2012 at age 21. Although her career path ultimately led the way to winemaking, Megan applied her background in English to publish some poetry while an undergraduate.

Like many aspiring winemakers, she held internships at vineyards and wineries both domestically and internationally, which included stints in Napa Valley, Livermore Valley, Williamette Valley in Oregon, Central Otago in New Zealand, and Loire Valley of France. But unlike others in the field, Megan says she, “I did not pursue winemaking because of passion for wine, rather passion for wine grew out of my love of the dirty, mechanical work that we do. The first time I felt love for wine was while working at Beaux Frères in Oregon. It was a very fun, supportive work community and I had the opportunity to taste a lot of Burgundy and German Riesling from my boss’s collection.”

While Megan was working in one of her first internships, she was constantly wondering why the vintners were doing so much manipulation of the grapes that came in—acid adjustments, saignée (a technique used in the production of rosés), water adds, yeast adds, tannin adds, nutrient adds, everything adds! She spent a lot of time considering why the grapes weren’t just picked at lower sugar and higher acid levels instead of performing so many modifications during vinification.

By early 2015, Megan was ensconced as enologist at Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, and at mid-year became the assistant winemaker at Beauregard Vineyards in Bonny Doon. Then in early 2016, she founded Margins Wine, the concepts for which had been brewing ever since she had wondered about the winemaking techniques she encountered while in France and New Zealand.

She read a lot and dove deeper into a literary concept that she had always identified with: the margins of society, that is, people who don't fit the norm in some way or another; in her opinion, vineyards can be outcasts as well. Megan realized she could incorporate all these ideas that she had been pondering for years and apply them to a wine business concept: wine from underrepresented grapes, vineyards, and varietals. That's how Margins Wine was born. Its wines draw attention to vineyards and varietals throughout northern and central California that find themselves on the margins without the recognition they deserve. Indeed, here dream is “One day, maybe I’ll get to plant a vineyard of only marginal varietals in the Santa Cruz Mountains. That’s probably my ultimate goal.“

In her free time, Megan enjoys reading, hiking the trails of the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives, mushroom hunting, cooking, and dining at gourmet restaurants.