Winemaker Matt Sands is a New Zealand native who traded winemaking on New Zealand’s tiny Waiheke island for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in 2013, and hasn’t looked back. After learning the ins-and-outs of winemaking, doing every job from pruning to sales at a small, family-owned winery on Waiheke, Matt landed in Napa Valley at Screaming Eagle, where he honed his expertise in Cabernet Sauvignon and met fellow New Frontier Wine Co. winemaker Maayan Koschitsky. Matt is constantly inspired by Napa Valley’s range of terroirs, and loves creating a tangible product from the Valley’s harvests each year. He joined Lithology as winemaker in 2015, and has since expanded his repertoire beyond Cabernet Sauvignon and into other grape varieties by collaborating on New Frontier Wine Co. brands such as Justice, Waypoint, and Pursuit.
Country born: New Zealand
Education: During his second Napa harvest, at Bryant Estate, Matt had the opportunity to work with Philippe Melka, who he continues to work with at Lithology today.
Years in the wine industry: years
Matt believes the best wines are supremely enjoyable – even in their youth – and strives to craft Cabernets that are well-balanced and nuanced. To achieve this goal in the cellar, Matt uses an incredibly light touch to accent the beautiful variations of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Napa’s finest vineyards. Rather than making wine with a recipe, Matt treats each lot of grapes like a unique individual, delicately coaxing out maximum nuance and finesse so each wine is incredibly drinkable.