The Goals Set By Ram’s Gate’s New GM

Citing a desire to continue improving its sales, marketing and hospitality, Ram’s Gate Winery recently promoted Director of Winemaking Joe Nielsen to General Manager and Winemaker.

Nielsen, who holds an Executive MBA from Sonoma State University, joined Ram’s Gate in 2018 after spending nearly 10 years at Donelan Family Wines in Santa Rosa, California. 

In his newest leadership role, Nielsen’s goals for the Sonoma, California facility includes elevating and focusing the winery’s hospitality experiences, expansion of market distribution and implementation of long-term sustainability measures.

“We are introducing a new perspective on a retro wine style that is restrained, yet full of energy. We are inspired by Burgundy, but we embrace the strength of the California sun,” Nielsen said. “Our process is about intentional decision-making to push the envelope on what a winery experience can be: always curious, always exploring, always improving.”

Managing Owner Michael John said Nielsen had reinvigorated the winery along with other key leaders who were hired over the past few years: Assistant Winemaker Orrin Oles, Enologist Rachel Bordes, DTC Director Meredith Hayes and Hospitality Director Kristoffer Miller.

Nielsen’s achievements as Director of Winemaking include developing new partnerships with small-production, family-owned coopers in France, increasing cooperage variety in the cellar by more than 120%, and introducing practices in the cellar including whole cluster and native fermentation with Ram’s Gate’s Pinot Noir and Syrah.

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