Winemaker, Acacia Vineyard
Although he finds the artistic aspects of winemaking most appealing, Matthew spent years immersed in wine chemistry and studied extensively at the University of California, Davis. His dual interests in the artistic and the scientific are jointly engaged in winemaking.
Over the last 20 years, Matthew has developed an intuitive approach to winemaking shaped by vintages spent working in Burgundy, France; Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand; and several winegrowing regions in California. The delicate, expressive nature of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines lured him through the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy and eventually to Acacia Vineyard, where he continues to seek new vineyard sites in order to create pure, stylish wines with unique character.
As senior winemaker, Matthew cultivates and guides the enthusiasm of the Acacia team. “There is a strong collective desire here to create special wines,” he says. He thrives in precisely this kind of environment, where everyone is ardently invested in the outcome. Matthew is methodical but also embraces risk—harvesting grapes when sugar content is low, for example—in order to elevate the finished wine. He continues to make more single-vineyard wines every year, as well as to explore new varietals and vinous styles for the Carneros wines that have been making lifelong fans of Acacia drinkers since 1979.
Country born: United States
Education: He holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and botany, as well as a master of science in viticulture and enology. Matthew spent time in Burgundy, France during 2001 and 2002, where he learned traditional techniques for the growing of grapes and vinification for Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines. These experiences included time in the vineyards and cellars of Domaine Dujac, Domaine de l'Arlot, and the receipt of a laureate award from the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Foundation - Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils. Upon his return to the US, Matthew worked as an enologist and assistant winemaker in Sonoma County, where he began to learn about the unique vineyard sites in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
Matthew’s vivid memories of the integral role wine played in family and religious gatherings stretch back to his early childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. “For thousands of years, so many rituals have centered on wine,” he observes. “The rich history of viticulture and winemaking—and wine’s enhancement of society and culture—are truly inspiring aspects of this vocation.”
The creative process—in food, wine and the arts—has always appealed to Matthew. Preparing seasonal vegetables with freshly grown culinary herbs, and serving them with carefully made wines is a tradition he learned from his family, one that invigorates his life experience.