A native of Burgundy, Stéphane Vivier’s old-world sensibilities are ideally suited for his role as consultant winemakers for several Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and Mendocino wineries, including Ammon’s Horn, Hyde de Villaine, Stony Hill Vineyards and Long Meadow Ranch – Anderson Valley.
To Stéphane, the best winemaker is one that largely keeps his hands to himself, allowing the alchemy of nature to do what it does best. As he says, “Being a lazy winemaker is all about being patient, letting the place talk. Making it simple.” He learned this laissez-faire method of winemaking while growing up in Meloisey, Burgundy, at the feet of an elderly neighbor whose family had been making wine for centuries.
After obtaining degrees in viticulture and enology from Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France, he worked in Switzerland, Sonoma, CA and New Zealand. There, he discovered the difference between Old World and New World winemaking. The vineyards were young, as were the winemakers, allowing for free reign for them to put their own stamp on the wines they crafted.
At Ammons Horn, Stephane has come full circle using his viticultural and winemaking knowledge of the Carneros AVA for other clients along with his worldwide experience to make estate wines that are both approachable and elegant. We look forward to his continued work with our still and sparkling pinot noir.