Winemaker, Frias Family Vineyard
Todd gained a passion for wine while working as a journalist in Hungary and traveling through Europe. Instead of buying a small vineyard as a hobby, he returned to his native California to pursue a degree in viticulture and enology at Fresno State University, doing work and research at the university and regional vineyards and then moving to Napa Valley. He began in the cellar and lab as an intern at Cuvaison Estate Wines, eventually assuming the role of associate winemaker and working with a number of smaller producers in custom production and consulting, from the vineyard through to sales. He is also the winemaker for Fairwinds Estate Winery and Valley Floor Vineyard.
Country born: United States
Education: Post-baccalaureate degree in Viticulture and Enology at Fresno State University; Wine Spectator and American Society of Enology and Viticulture scholarship winner; Work in Hungary and travel to various European wine regions; I try to learn from all those around me and who I encounter in the wine world
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
Work to get the best grapes possible, and handle them as gently as possible at the winery. Ideally, the grapes have ripe tannins without high sugars, and retain good fruit intensity and an acid backbone without being jammy.