Pahlmeyer Winemaker Katie Vogt understands the magnitude of making wine at an estate whose wines have been critically acclaimed from the very first release. Keenly aware of the pedigree Pahlmeyer has established over three decades, Katie approaches each new vintage as an opportunity to build upon the extraordinary success that winemakers before her have achieved — then raise the bar higher.
“I’m not making individual wines, I’m continuing a legacy,” Katie says of the winery she joined in 2019. “Pahlmeyer wines demand attention. They taste inspired, showcasing the consideration and thought behind every choice and every detail. We farm differently at Pahlmeyer — we’re taking vineyards to the edge and exploring the tension. When you’re making this caliber of wines, you don’t expect every lot to make the cut. The ones that do are phenomenal, with incredible intensity and power that doesn’t necessarily come from ripeness.”
A graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she earned a degree in Agribusiness with a minor in Viticulture and Enology, Katie began her career in 2008, working under maverick winemaker Christian Tietje at his Four Vines and Cypher Winery projects in Paso Robles. Rising from intern to assistant winemaker, she had the freedom to explore every aspect of wine, from vineyard sampling to managing the cellar to leading blending trials.
“In Paso, working with Rhône varieties, blending is their essence and core,” she says. “I was very lucky to be part of that very early on in my career. I get a lot of joy out of blending, of tasting a lineup of wines and imagining what it would look like putting them together.”
Katie describes her winemaking style as having steadfast focus. She brings the precision and thoughtfulness of a master blender, constantly evaluating which vineyards and blocks are going to deliver the intensity and power to earn their way into the Pahlmeyer portfolio.
In 2014, she joined the Central Coast winemaking team at E. & J. Gallo Winery, working at Edna Valley Vineyard and Bridlewood Estate Winery. With large portfolios and significant investments at stake, there was little room for error or second-guessing. She learned quickly to trust her talent, instincts and technique. Equally quickly, she earned the respect of her winemaking peers.
Just over a year later, Katie joined Napa’s historic Louis M. Martini Winery as Associate Winemaker, working on small-lot and single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in the winery’s Cellar No. 254. She brings the perspective she gained there to Pahlmeyer. “In Napa, you’re focusing on the long term,” she says. “To succeed, you learn the nuances and appreciate the personalities of your vineyard sites. We commit to a clear vision, then we are relentless in bringing that to life.”
Country born: United States
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years