Stony Hill Vineyard is pleased to announce Michaela Kelly as its Estate Director. Gaylon Lawrence and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr. acquired the legendary Napa Valley winery last December. Kelly joins Jaimee Motley who has taken on the role of Winemaker.
In her new role, Kelly is responsible for developing the private tasting program, providing consistent team leadership and ensuring the achievement of DTC goals for the tasting room, ecommerce and events, while maintaining the highest quality of guest services.
Stony Hill Vineyard lies on a steep slope between Richie Creek to the north and Mill Creek to the south with an elevation between 800 and 1,550 feet – making it an ideal location for growing grapes. The bright, mineral backbone of the wines is a credit to the volcanic mountain soils and, far beneath the surface, limestone rock. Over the decades, the winery’s dedication to the preservation of older vines and restrained winemaking techniques delivers Stony Hill’s distinctive sense of place.
“We are excited that Michaela is working closely alongside Jaimee to continue the legacy of this estate that was started by the McCrea family so long ago,” says McCoy, Managing Partner of Lawrence Wine Estates. “She brings a discerning eye to Stony Hill’s hospitality experience, which will be rooted in a deep sense of history and innovation.”
Kelly comes to Stony Hill by way of Chicago, where she fell in love with wine during her time at Roister, an Alinea Group Restaurant. After deciding to further her wine education, she transitioned to the sommelier team at Alinea, where she worked up until July 2020. Her long-term goal was always to move to the Napa Valley, so she set out to move to the region and do a harvest internship with Schramsberg. Following harvest, Michaela joined the team at PRESS and became the Assistant General Manager shortly after, where her love for wine was fostered.
“The rich history of Stony Hill Vineyard caught my attention during my wine studies in the Napa Valley,” says Kelly. “I’m passionate about building on the story and legacy of those before me, and I’m excited to curate the next chapter of what Stony Hill has to offer, in the form of immersive wine tasting experiences and hospitality offerings.”
Located on Spring Mountain, between St. Helena and Calistoga, Stony Hill Vineyard is one of Napa Valley’s legendary wineries known for its age-worthy wines. Originally purchased in 1943 by Fred and Eleanor McCrea, the couple set their sights on this homestead property as a weekend getaway. The McCreas had made the rugged hillside spot their home and started planting vines a few years later. After the first harvest in 1952, the wines quickly sold out. By 1954, every bottle was sold via mailing list with a growing waitlist. Eleanor ran the business while Fred made the wine, developing Stony Hill’s signature restrained style and minimalist approach. Upon Fred’s death in 1977, his assistant and protégé, Mike Chelini, continued Stony Hill’s winemaking tradition for over 40 years. In 1991, the McCrea’s son Peter and daughter-in-law Willinda assumed day-to-day management of the winery – and in 2011, their daughter Sarah joined the business making it a third-generation family-operated business. In 2018, Napa Valley legend Ted Hall and his family acquired Stony Hill Winery, prior to becoming a part of Lawrence Wine Estates.