alison crowe 2


Dear Kitchen Sisters,

I am a Napa Valley consulting winemaker, author, and expecting mom and this Harvest Season I’m making wine…with a baby due late February along for the ride.

Every day I visit the vineyards, consult the weather forecast, talk to my vineyard managers and clients and try to make my best decisions for timing the pick and directing “The Crush” here in Northern California.

Making wine is equally a science and an art; it’s important to get the details right, have the best data and know the numbers. That being said, I believe in respecting the fruit and letting each vineyard speak its own particular truth. Sometimes you have to listen. Sometimes all you have to do is just get out of the way.

As the Winemaker for Garnet Vineyards, and for other projects I consult on, I travel all over Napa and Sonoma counties, including Carneros, Russian River and Alexander Valley appellations. A “day at the office” for me includes some of California’s most gorgeous scenery but also some pretty boring “windshield time” and spreadsheet-jockey desk work. Winemaking is not all glitz and glamor like some might think. Those in the trenches know about the long, odd hours, the messy cellar work and the capricious whim of our toughest boss, Ms. Mother Nature herself.

Harvest is always exciting (grapes! wine! gorgeous weather!) but it’s extra-special when I’m not just starting the typical harvest but am planning my own–our second child–later in the season. Balancing it all is tough but like wine making, I find it equally a science and an art. Those in the trenches know: You can plan and plot, but whether it’s wine, toddlers or pregnancy, Mother Nature is always in the driver’s seat!


Alison Crowe