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Winemaking

Winemaker - Kristen Mcmahan

 

KRISTEN MCMAHAN

As the winemaker for Goldeneye, Kristen McMahan is committed to crafting wines that embody both the rustic beauty and refinement that have made the Anderson Valley famous among Pinot Noir enthusiasts. Guiding the region’s most acclaimed Pinot Noir program, which includes three renowned estate vineyards, more than 140 acres of vines and 20 unique clones, Kristen applies a small-lot winemaking approach that preserves the charm and complexity of nearly 100 individual lots of wine each vintage. Combining a love of Pinot Noir—both still and sparkling—with a keen scientific mind, and a passion for creativity and collaboration, Kristen has quickly established herself as one of Anderson Valley’s rising star winemakers.

Kristen grew up in the town of Atwater, in California’s Central Valley, where her proximity to Yosemite instilled a lifelong love of the outdoors. While earning a degree in communications and journalism from the University of Arizona, Kristen spent six months abroad in Australia, where she fell in love with wine. Over the next few years, Kristen worked in marketing for several non-profits, including the Second Harvest Food Bank, while refining her palate and expanding her knowledge of wine through regular visits to Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley, Oregon and Washington.

In 2012, Kristen moved to Sonoma County to dedicate herself to wine full time. In addition to joining the winemaking team at Korbel, where she spent six years honing her skills working with sparkling wine and Pinot Noir, she began studying at Santa Rosa Junior College, where she earned an Associate of Science degree in enology. Kristen also gained invaluable experience with cool-climate Pinot Noir working for Joseph Phelps’s Freestone Winery on the Sonoma Coast.

After joining Goldeneye in 2019, Kristen quickly distinguished herself for her unparalleled work ethic, gifted palate and scientific acumen. She rapidly rose through the ranks from enologist to assistant winemaker to winemaker. “I am honored to be building on the traditions established by those who came before me at Goldeneye,” says Kristen. “This is one of the world’s most remarkable regions for Pinot Noir. From the vibrant red fruit purity of our Confluence Vineyard wines to the voluptuous depth and blue-fruit complexity of Gowan Creek to the fascinating terroir-driven rusticity of The Narrows Vineyard, the wines from this region inspire me with their beauty, sophistication and profound sense of place.”

Goldeneye Pinot Noir grapes
Pinot Noir grape skins
Goldeneye Winemaking
Pinot Noir grapes

In the story of great winegrowing appellations, there are always a few wineries that help to raise the bar and chart the course for a region. As a Pinot Noir specialist, and the winemaker for Goldeneye, Kristen McMahan is building on the valley’s reputation as one of the world’s preeminent locations for growing Pinot Noir. At the same time, her belief in a vineyard-inspired, small-lot approach to winemaking is cementing Goldeneye’s status as one of North America’s great Pinot Noir wineries.

Goldeneye Kitten
Veraison in Gowan Creek Vineyard
Vineyard marker Goldeneye toasted barrels
Kristen McMahan with her dog

Committed to Quality

Whether it is the estate program with more than 20 clones of Pinot Noir, or the custom, small-lot winery that allows winemaker Kristen McMahan to maintain the integrity of each vineyard block, Goldeneye champions detail and diversity. This approach has resulted in a Goldeneye style that embodies both the elegance of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and its deep, rustic power. This style has become the benchmark for the region, and has catapulted Goldeneye to the ranks of the world’s finest Pinot Noirs. Sought after by collectors and served for U.S. presidents, Goldeneye wines have brought the Anderson Valley to the world, while earning acclaim as some of the finest Pinot Noirs anywhere.

Committed to Quality

Whether it is the estate program with more than 20 clones of Pinot Noir, or the custom, small-lot winery that allows winemaker Kristen McMahan to maintain the integrity of each vineyard block, Goldeneye champions detail and diversity. This approach has resulted in a Goldeneye style that embodies both the elegance of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and its deep, rustic power. This style has become the benchmark for the region, and has catapulted Goldeneye to the ranks of the world’s finest Pinot Noirs. Sought after by collectors and served for U.S. presidents, Goldeneye wines have brought the Anderson Valley to the world, while earning acclaim as some of the finest Pinot Noirs anywhere.

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