Martha Stoumen

Martha Stoumen

Martha Stoumen Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

Martha Stoumen was drawn to winemaking for two reasons, namely, that it embodies a tradition in which the master-apprentice relationship is still alive and well, and that wine is a product that defines the pace and rhythm of the winemaker’s life rather than the reverse. Her career path started with her earning a B.A. degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006, where she majored in Geography and Environmental Studies and minored in Italian.

Martha’s major included study of traditional agricultural systems and this, combined with her interest in Italy, led her to Tuscany to work in the vineyard, olive orchard, and winery of a small farm and learning center. Most of her time at the farm was spent in the vineyard rather than the winery, so unlike the typical modern California winemaker who spends relatively little or no time in the vineyard, Martha entered the field of winemaking as a viticulturist (vigneron).

After her initial exposure to grape farming and winemaking in Tuscany, Martha began a series of apprenticeships throughout the world that were sandwiched around a Master's degree in Enology & Viticulture she earned at the University of California, Davis, in 2013. In 2007 and 2008 she worked as an intern, then harvest cellar manager, at Chalk Hill Winery, followed in Spring 2009 by an internship at Cape Mentelle in the Margaret River region of Australia. The fall of that year found her in the Mosel Valley at Heymann-Löwenstein. After an internship at Boisset Family Estates in the summer of 2011, she furthered her international experience at Azienda Agricola COS in Sicily during the fall of 2012, and at Seresin in New Zealand, where she had a ten-month stint as assistant winemaker. Martha then spent the fall of 2013 as an intern at Domain Léon Barral in Faugères, France, before returning to Azienda Agricola COS for two years as brand ambassador. During this period, from 2014 to 2017, she was also assistant winemaker at Broc Cellars, in Berkeley, CA. Suffice it to say, these many and varied experiences have remained a part of her life as she has moved toward her own vision of making responsibly farmed, terroir-driven wines in the land that she holds so dear in her heart, California.

She established Martha Stoumen Wines in January, 2014, and her first release was in 2017. Martha’s goal is to recapture a farming and winemaking culture that has all but faded away: a winemaking culture of patience. She leases and farms around half of the vineyards from which she derives grapes. The other half are farmed by multi-generation farmers who understand their land, and their family's land, far better than she ever will, and who farm with her same philosophies in mind. Martha is a big proponent of dry farming (non-irrigated vines) and organic practices.

Martha crafts her wine at a facility in Richmond and currently is producing Carignan, Nero d’Avola, rosé, white blends, and red blends. Tastings are currently by appointment only.

When not farming and winemaking, Martha enjoys exploring nature, cooking, learning foreign language, and spending time with her fiancé, Jonathan Patch.