Tamra (Tami) Lotz

Tamra (Tami) Lotz

Mumm Napa (Head Winemaker)

Tamra (Tami) Lotz, a native of Napa, is part of a family that emigrated from Germany after World War II and established a business in the city. She entered the University of California, Davis, in 1998 to pursue a major in Animal Biology, but elected to take Introduction to Winemaking in her first year there. In her own words, she says, “I grew up in Napa, was working in restaurants to pay for school, and enjoyed tasting wine, but didn’t really know much about how it was made. When it struck me that making wine was a unique blend of art and science, and that it could be a career, I changed my major and never looked back.”

After graduating in 2002 with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, Tami interned at Mumm Napa and followed that by spending a year honing her craft internationally, working at wineries in Germany, Australia, and Chile. Her experience at Schloß Westerhaus was particularly memorable because she was required to perform every task possible at this small German winery in Ingelheim, including leafing vineyards, cleaning tanks, pressing grapes, monitoring fermentations, and racking wines. Of what she gained from her travels abroad, she says, “I learned there is no one ‘right’ way to do something. Practices may vary from country to country, or even region to region, but if you’re happy with what’s in your glass, at the end of the day, the specifics become much less important.”

Tami rejoined the winemaking team at Mumm Napa in 2003 as assistant winemaker and became its head winemaker in 2019. Her winemaking style, following the tenets of methode traditionnelle, is influenced by her memories of taste and smell, one of which is of the bouquet of a Pinot Gris she experienced in Germany. Similarly, the scent of jasmine in the air reminds her of playing in the backyard as a kid, and a whiff of caraway transports her to a kitchen making sandwiches on rye bread with her grandmother.

Her family continues to live in Napa, and working at Mumm Napa allows Tami to have a career involving a love of science and her creativity that they can participate in, albeit vicariously. Her commitment is to implement the three values of the winery: tradition, family, and pride. Tami’s goal for her wines is “. . . to make approachable wines that people can enjoy for any occasion, even if that occasion is a Tuesday at home. I am inspired to make wines that people enjoy drinking.”

When not involved in making award-winning sparkling wines, Tami loves cooking, traveling, reading, and hiking in the hills of Napa Valley. She also volunteers with the Napa Country Wildlife Rescue at its Songbird Clinic.