How does someone who was raised in a suburb of Cleveland get into the wine business?
In Greg Graham's case, the love for viticulture began on his family's 10-acre
Concord grape vineyard, where he worked as a youth.
After military service in the 1970's, Greg earned a degree in mechanical engineering
and worked in the Cleveland area. During that time, he began to make home wine
using local grapes. His desire to improve the quality of his wine increased quickly,
but he knew that great wines required a climate that Ohio was never going to provide,
so in 1980, Greg moved to California.
There he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of California
at Davis, one of the world's top viticultural schools. He completed the winery
internship at Freemark Abbey Winery and began working at Rombauer Vineyard as
assistant winemaker in June 1983, when Koerner Rombauer was finishing construction
of the winery.
In 1985 he went to work for Robert Mondavi Winery, where he controlled barrel
inventory and was involved in the production of "Opus One" and Mondavi varietals
Koerner Rombauer hired Greg back in July 1988, as head winemaker. Since then,
Rombauer has had its greatest successes: the steady evolution of their Chardonnays,
the wide recognition of their Merlots, and, most recently, the popularity of the
Rombauer Zinfandels that now have all of the original Zin makers chasing. Besides
producing wines for the Rombauer label, Greg is responsible for the winery's custom
winemaking, which accounts for the balance of their production.
Because grape selection and production are critical to making a great wine, Greg
spends a tremendous amount of his time working with growers. Prior to harvest
he is in the vineyard daily, sampling and tasting to determine optimum fruit ripeness
for his wines. He feels that much of his success comes from his efforts to personally
select the grapes that he wants.
can actually tell you what they need and when they're ready to be picked," Greg
explains. "Once the grapes are picked, the art of winemaking begins as you coax
and guide the wine to its fullest potential."
Greg has come a long way from that vineyard in the suburbs of Cleveland where
his love for viticulture began. Since then his experience, his high standards
and his passion for making great wines have brought awards and recognition. Now
he is applying those qualities to producing superb wines under his own label.
G. Graham Wines, Inc. / P.O. Box 6916 / Napa, CA 94581 / 707-224-3227