Aimee Baker

Aimee Baker

Trinchero Family Estates (Director of Winemaking)

Aimee Baker was introduced to winemaking at an early age. She grew up in the Napa Valley on Mt. Veeder and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in biology, with a plan to become a veterinarian or work in some aspect of the health professions. But as she says, “But I was on the rowing team down at UC Santa Barbara. I sort of majored in rowing, minored in biology.” Her prowess at rowing led to Aimee’s being a “spare” for the U.S. rowing team that competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

After returning to California, Aimee worked two harvests for Beaulieu Vineyards in Rutherford as a field sampler. She ascribes her being hired not to her background in biology, but rather to her ability to carry the heavy five-gallon buckets loaded with field samples.

She then went on to a 14-year career as a highly successful rowing coach at Stanford University. At some point during this time, she and other coaches would speculate about what they would be doing if not coaching, and Aimee would always talk about winemaking. This ultimately resulted in her entering the M.S. program in Viticulture and Enology at the UC, Davis, coaching early in the morning, commuting to Davis for classes at midday, and recruiting rowers in the afternoon. Suffice it to say, this was a challenging schedule!

By 2006, Aimee was ready to go fulltime into the winemaking industry. She started with a harvest position at Picchetti Winery in Cupertino and worked her way up to winemaker. There, she oversaw production of some 15 varieties of wine including Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and Chardonnay, monitoring the process from vine to barrels.

Aimee moved to Opus One in the Napa Valley as assistant winemaker in 2013 before being named Director of Winemaking at Trinchero Family Estates in 2021. In this role, she has multiple responsibilities involving management of a collection of winemakers, properties, and wines. Her expertise as a coach comes in handy in this regard because she understands that her personnel know what they are doing, just as athletes do, so her role, in her own words, is, “to help [them] focus or give them the space to be creative, the space to do what they do best.”

Aimee’s wife, Sandrine Bourcier, is also a winemaker, working at Rack and Riddle in the Sonoma Valley crafting sparkling wines for a number of customers. When not at a winery, Aimee can be found walking Moto, her Italian water dog, or bicycling.