For more than 40 years, Clos du Bois winery has been committed to marrying the elegant French style of winemaking with the vibrant fruit of California.
It was that approach that drew seasoned winemaker Melissa Stackhouse to Clos du Bois.
After cultivating an impressive resume at a number of California's top wineries including La Crema and Jackson Family Wines, Melissa joined Clos du Bois as the Director of Winemaking in September 2015.
Since then, Melissa has been working with the winemaking team to source grapes from some of California's best appellations to produce wines that the Sonoma County-based winery is best known for, including its Chardonnay.
Melissa shared her insight and three things to know about being a winemaker:
1. You can fall into it
Although an accomplished winemaker today, Melissa did not always dream of a career in winemaking. She studied nursing and psychology in college but soon realized that it was not her passion.
In search of her dream job, Melissa tried her hand at a range of positions including writing for a local newspaper, driving a motor coach in Alaska, organic farming in New Zealand, working at a pottery studio and more.
Her 'aha' moment came when she attended a wine tasting with friends and realized that winemaking was a profession that combined her love of science and art. Soon after, Melissa enrolled at the acclaimed University of California at Davis and graduated with a degree in Viticulture and Enology.
2. The earth is boss
Spending quality time in the vineyards is a large part of being a winemaker.
The direct tie to the earth and the importance of farming contribute to the holistic qualities of a career in viniculture. For Melissa, that connection to the earth on an artistic level is one of her most beloved parts of the job.
The idea that a bottle of wine tells the story of that particular year's conditions coupled with the artistry and skill to make that vintage its best is a noteworthy one. Plus, her dress code of jeans and cowboy boots offers a new perspective on business casual.
3. Balance is a crucial challenge
Just as winemakers always aim to create balance in a bottle of wine, they also work to create balance in their lives outside of the winery.
Melissa unwinds by spending time with her daughter and her corgi, Scout, and also credits her passion for vinyasa yoga as the ultimate decompressor. Being a true wine lover, Melissa enjoys tasting wine on her off-hours as well as at the office. However, staying true to the balance, she often needs to choose between wine and starches, and wine always wins.
Have you went out to follow your passion? I'd love to hear how it went. Comment below.