Winemaker, Sullivan Rutherford Estate
Following the Sullivan family legacy of chasing their passions was easy to live up to. From as early as he can remember, he has been surrounded by his lifelong passions: farming, wine and family. Ross’s childhood memories are a mosaic of breathtaking properties and shaking hands with the farmers and winemakers that would shape the culture of the Napa Valley. As a young adult, Ross solidified his foundation in grape growing and wine production by planting and building alongside his father and family.
While his family, upbringing and surroundings established Ross’s love of winemaking, his second passion helped to focus it. Between helping others build wineries, even digging a few wine caves, he also built a career in Aviation. His path as a professional pilot - including stints as an active flight instructor, an active duty Army Aviator helicopter pilot, a commercial airline pilot and a corporate pilot - ultimately led to a position with ETS Laboratories, one of the world’s leading analytical wine laboratory. While with ETS, Ross gained experience developing business in growing wine regions throughout the United States, building wine laboratories and reviewing wine quality issues throughout the wine industry. Perhaps more importantly, ETS gave him access to, and fostered an understanding of, the latest wine science. Today, Ross combines this knowledge with his history of practical production and his father’s intense artistry.
"The wine industry is special on countless levels. Over time it challenges individuals to their very essence. Winemaking is intensely personal….yet centers on a culture of cooperation and shared success.”
Country born: United States
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years