Lisa Bishop Forbes

Lisa Bishop Forbes

Winemaker (Consultant)

Lisa Forbes grew up in Acton, California, a small, high-desert town located an hour north of Los Angeles. While working at her uncle’s recreation park in Acton, Lisa built the foundation for her strong work ethic. Her teenage years in Lodi offered Lisa her first glimpse of the wine industry. In addition to being surrounded by vineyards, her father had a number of friends and associates with ties to local wineries and growers. When it came time to choose a college, her decision to attend California State University, Fresno to study winemaking was influenced by her exposure to the wine community and her love of chemistry. In addition to CSU Fresno’s academic strength, Lisa appreciated the hands-on training that is a major part of its curriculum.

After earning her degree, Lisa began working as an enologist at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. It didn’t take long for her to realize she had chosen the right profession, and Phelps proved to be the ideal place to start a career. Lisa spent the next nine years helping manage harvest activities, organizing and participating in winemaker tastings, maintaining records, and, of course, running the lab. In addition to working with a number of different grape varieties, Lisa’s experience with Phelps’s Insignia Cabernet taught her a great deal about the art of blending.

In 1995, Lisa had the opportunity to join the Chalk Hill Estate winemaking team as assistant winemaker, working first with David Ramey and then with Bill Knuttel. From a winemaker’s perspective, Lisa thought the Estate has everything – from diverse soils and exposures and farming methods matched to each micro-site to wines that were concentrated, intense, balanced and specific to their terroir.

Lisa left Chalk Hill in 2004 to become associate winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard to work again with Bill Knuttel, Dry Creek’s Executive Winemaker. She ran all of the day-to-day production activities for the family-owned winery, specializing in Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. In 2008, she was promoted to winemaker.

Two years later, the opportunity arose to become Director of Winemaking for Chalk Hill Estate. As much as she enjoyed Dry Creek, Lisa could not resist the opportunity to return to her old stomping grounds at Chalk Hill, a position she held until 2015. She moved on as winemaker at Ektimo Vineyards in Sebastopol in mid-2015, where she fashioned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel. She left this position in March 2021. Lisa founded her eponymous consulting firm, Lisa Bishop Forbes Winemaking, in April 2018 and numbers Sutro Wine Co. in Healdsburg among her clients. In 2016, she was elected to the Board of the Women for WineSense organization.

Lisa and her husband Ken live in Windsor with Colin, their son, and Oscar, the flying dog. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing classical music on the piano.