Colleen FitzGerald

Colleen FitzGerald

Pine Ridge Vineyards (Winemaker)

Colleen FitzGerald is a winemaker who brings a strong background in science to her craft. She grew up in Pleasanton, CA, and entered California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2007, majoring in biochemistry. After graduating in 2012, she worked a fall harvest for the Paso 360 winery in Paso Robles, immediately falling in love with winemaking; it was the perfect balance of chemistry and art, along with the opportunities to travel embodied in the profession, that drew her interest.

Colleen subsequently held internships with Cork Supply USA in Benicia, CA, and Pine Ridge Vineyards, where she was a laboratory technician for the 2013 harvest. She followed these by working a harvest at Wither Hills Winery in Blenheim, NZ, before returning to California. Beginning in August, 2014, Colleen rejoined Pine Ridge, where she rose through the ranks from harvest enologist to production specialist to enologist, a position she held until early 2018. She then spent three years as assistant winemaker for the Chenin Blanc and Viognier (CB+V) blend produced at the winery. This position allowed her to gain intimate knowledge of the care needed to properly grow and blend the two distinct grape varieties that comprise the blend. Among her responsibilities are overseeing selection of the fruit and its harvesting, and monitoring fermentation, blending, and bottling.

Colleen was promoted to winemaker for CB+V in early 2021. In this position, she will continue to work with growers of the Chenin Blanc that is used in the blend, making decisions about the pruning, vine management, and harvest timing that are crucial for this grape. As she says, “I love working with Chenin Blanc because it has distinctive acidity and vibrant lemon-lime characters that complement the weight and floral notes of Viognier. Once you discover it, there is no going back.”

When she’s not occupied at the winery, Colleen can be found outdoors. She enjoys hiking around Point Reyes, checking out new food spots, and traveling.