Sonoma County’s Rodney Strong Wine Estates has announced changes to its Winemaking and Winegrowing Teams, led by Justin Seidenfeld being named Director of Winemaking. In his new role, Seidenfeld will oversee all aspects of winemaking, vineyard operations, and production. He becomes just the fourth head winemaker in the over sixty-year history of the winery, following Sonoma County pioneer Rod Strong, Richard Arrowood, and Rick Sayre, who has transitioned to the role of Winemaker Emeritus.
Justin came to Rodney Strong in 2010 from Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley, where he distinguished himself working with small lot Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from some of the best vineyards in the world, including Hyde and To-Kalon. He made an early impact with his hard work, organizational skills, and passion for continual improvement. In 2013, Justin took on the large project of converting “The Boneyard”, an underutilized winery storage area, to the state-of-the-art Square Tanks Cellar, which has set a new bar for innovative, sustainable winemaking and resource conservation. Justin’s wines continue to amaze for their bold flavors, extraordinary balance, and precision.
Olivia Wright joined Rodney Strong in 2018 after stints at Mumm Napa, Isabel Estate in New Zealand, and Dierberg & Star Lane Vineyards. Through her hard work and passion for making wines that are elegant and timeless, she has been promoted to Winemaker. In addition to working across all varieties and brands, Olivia is the winemaker for the new Knotty Vines brand.
Ryan Decker is a fifth-generation farmer from the Alexander Valley. He started in the Rodney Strong Tasting Room in 2002, and after returning to Fresno State to earn his degree in viticulture, he returned as viticulturalist and to oversee sustainable winegrowing. Ryan managed grower relations for the past 6 years and has now been promoted to Director of Estate Vineyards, where he is overseeing an ambitious replanting program of Rodney Strong’s top vineyards.
“I am excited and humbled to be able to lead our team and winery into the future. Our young team works collaboratively on all our wines, and our primary goal in both the vineyard and winery is to craft wines of balance. By understanding our sites better and embracing the use of cutting-edge technology, we can make wine that are pure and true to place,” states Seidenfeld. “Our focus on balance also drives our passion for sustainable farming with less impact, leading to wines that are fuller, richer, and ultimately more balanced.”