Working with Hudson wines since 2013, Clayton's winemaking journey is one of both passion and dedication. Raised on his family's vineyard in the AVA of Clarksburg, California, Clayton was tasked with driving tractors and working harvests alongside his siblings before school, which laid a strong foundation for his love of the land. After earning a BA in Business Economics at UC Santa Barbara, Clayton spent a semester abroad in Italy. It was here that he was pulled back to his roots. Soon after he moved to Napa and committed to pursuing a career in wine. Clayton has worked with some of the best winemakers in the world at esteemed houses such as Pingus in Spain, and Realm, Failla, and White Rock Vineyards in Napa Valley. His goal with each vintage is to express a sense of place, relying on precision and intuition in his winemaking. He has been a winemaker at Hudson since 2018, diligently tending to each vineyard site, and guiding the Hudson fruit into wines of balance and complexity.
Country born: United States
Education: Mentors: Ehren Jordan, Mike Hirby, Luc Morlet, Peter Sisseck, Christopher Vandendriessche, John Kongsgaard, Lee Hudson
Foreign Internships: Dominio de Pingus in Ribera del Duero, Spain; and Corban’s in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Education: Napa Valley College and UCDavis extension classwork
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
Honors / Awards:
SF Chronicle Winemaker to Watch 2016
I think the best winemaking is invisible. Diligence in the cellar and impeccably grown fruit allow this to be possible. There are techniques and additives that can be applied to wine to build things that were not there to begin with, but if you work really hard at the craft of cellar work, endeavor to have clean ferments, and don’t pick grapes out of balance, you can make very pure wines. Wines that then show one growing season from one place can be magical things.