Born in Berkeley and raised primarily outside the U.S. as her father traveled the world studying wild animal behavior, Kristi Koford's intention when studying biology at UC Santa Cruz was to follow in her father's footsteps. Instead, she found herself attempting to grow wild mushrooms on a farm in Lodi. When not mushrooming, she worked in the vineyard, pruning, picking, driving farm machinery and making wine. This led to her first real job in the wine industry as a microbiologist for Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. Under the tutelage of Zelma Long and the "University of Mondavi," she became Senior Enologist, directing the work in the cellar and laboratory. After 10 years, she took four years off and, with her husband, built a handmade timber frame house in the Oakville hills. She returned to wine work as Assistant Winemaker when St. Supery Winery opened in 1988 then as Winemaker at Alderbrook Winery in 1997. She joined the staff of Napa Wine Company in 2001 as Production Winemaker and assisted Rob Lawson in making the Ghost Block wines until 2016 when she became the Ghost Block winemaker.
Country born: United States
Education: UC Santa Cruz (biology), "University of Mondavi"
Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years
I am using my early multicultural experiences and behavioral studies in ways I never envisioned. Life, like wine, proceeds in mysterious ways. Making Ghost Block wines is the culmination of a lifelong dream, working with some of the best grapes in one of the best wine growing regions in the world.