Napa Valley's Jamieson Ranch Vineyards wins Wine, Beer + Spirits Industry Awards for 2018
Her career in the business of making wine spans 32 years, but Linda Trotta originally set out to be a math teacher and grew up with the idea that wine wasn’t a way to make a living. In her first quarter of calculus at University of California, Davis, she started looking for another direction.
“I had the horrible epiphany that math was leading me to drink,” Trotta said, noting that the abstract nature of the work was the problem.
Trotta worked her first harvest in 1986, just after graduating with a fermentation science degree. She was hired at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma in 1989 and rose to director of winemaking during two decades there, bringing upgrades to the vineyards and winery.
For a decade afterward, Trotta was a consulting winemaker and led winemaking at operations in the North Coast and Washington, including AWDirect’s nearly 1 million-case-a-year, Santa Rosa winery.
In August 2017, two weeks before harvest, she was hired to run winemaking for Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, a Napa Valley portfolio of wines Novato-based WX Brands purchased earlier that year. Production of the portfolio is about 30,000 cases annually, with national brands retailing for $20 to $50 a bottle and direct-to-consumer labels $28 to $125.
“It’s nice to start with something that had nice standing in the market and take it to the next level,” said Trotta, 55.
In her time at Jamieson, Trotta has been working with brand managers on better-defining the direct-sales labels. That led to the introduction of the JRV Collectors series, with 150-case runs of cabernet sauvignon wines from Napa County’s Howell Mountain and Rutherford appellations retailing for $90 to $95 a bottle.