Courtney Foley

Courtney Foley

Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery (Head of Winemaking)

Courtney Foley was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but as a youth became a Californian when she moved with her family to Santa Barbara. There, she grew up spending much of her time skimboarding, hiking the vineyards with her dogs, and backpacking in the mountains of the region.

When Courtney was 12, her father founded Foley Estates and then Lincourt Vineyards, named in tribute to her and her older sister, Lindsay. She became enamored of the Foley Estates property, where her grandparents lived and an uncle was the vineyard manager.

She continued her formal education by earning a degree with a major in History – Environmental Studies and Geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, a relatively young but growing wine area. Her interest in environmental issues led her to the University of Oregon to study Environmental Law, but her passion for food and wine prompted her to pursue a career in the wine industry rather than to practice law. So she started with marketing wine for Foley Family Wines in Southern California, where her clients included resorts, grocery stores, and restaurants. Her on-going interactions with winemakers made her realize that her destiny was to be as a winemaker. In her own words, Courtney says, “I have always enjoyed the outdoors and natural sciences, but I am especially compelled by the artistry involved in winemaking, and the unique ability to express a particular location that is intrinsic to the job.”

To pursue her dream, she earned a B.S. degree in Enology at California State University, Fresno, after which she worked with Leslie Renaud at Foley Estates and Lincourt. She then moved to Sonoma County, where she worked with Mark Lyon at Sebastiani Vineyards and again with Leslie Renaud at Roth Estate in Healdsburg. Courtney subsequently became the winemaker at Foley Sonoma. In June, 2018, she was named as the winemaker for Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards, whose proprietors are Bill and Carol Foley.

Outside of the winery, she enjoys a number of activities, including live music, hiking, dancing, karaoke, and exploring Northern California. Courtney also loves to visit Oregon, where she cheers on the University of Oregon Ducks and tastes the wines of the Willamette Valley.