Alysha Stehly

Alysha Stehly

Stehleon Vineyards (Winemaker)

Alysha Stehly was destined to be a winemaker. She grew up in a family of growers with deep roots in farming and diversified interests in San Diego County. Reflecting her own commitment to the land, she worked as vineyard manager for the family firm, Stehly Grove Management, even as a teenager and continues to do so. When it came to decide what to do after high school, Alysha’s father, a long-time mentor for her, told her that she needed to get a college degree. Not surprisingly, she was thinking of majoring in some aspect of agriculture as she considered where to go to college. Alysha looked at a catalog from the University of California, Davis, and immediately fell in love with the viticulture and enology program there. She entered the university in 2003 and completed her B.S. degree in 2008. During that period, she and her fellow students visited wineries throughout California and even spent time in Argentina and Chile.

Alysha experienced her first harvest in the Fall following graduation, working as a cellar hand at Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma. She also served as enologist at Vesper Vineyards in Escondido, a winery she co-founded in 2008 along with Chris Broomell, her husband and also a winemaker. The winery is the result of combining Alysha’s scientific background and Chris’s practical experience. Although the two of them know that they could be working in the Napa, Sonoma, or Santa Barbara, their love of San Diego County anchors them there. Recognition of their talents as winemakers was their being named by the San Francisco Chronicle as “Winemakers to Watch” in 2014, the first winemakers in Southern California to be so honored.

In addition to her duties at Vesper, Alysha is also the winemaker for Stehleon Vineyards, a project of her family. She also finds time to serve as an instructor in the viticulture and enology program a MiraCosta College in Oceanside and is on the Farm Bureau’s board of Young Farmers and Ranchers.

Alysha has important advice to aspiring winemakers, particularly women: speak up and don’t be stereotyped; have a thick skin; be comfortable getting your hands dirty; learn the essential skill of driving a forklift; get a sound formal education; gain cellar experience; and earn recommendations from persons whose opinions matter.

When not in the cellar or lab of either of the wineries where she is working, Alysha can be found hiking the vineyard with their son, Cole.