“If I work 40 years, I only have 40 chances to make something great,” says winemaker, Shawna Miller on her drive up to Luna’s contracted Sangiovese Vineyard on Atlas Peak. Harvest 2017 is quickly approaching and Shawna was meeting with the vineyard proprietor and manger to inspect the progress of the grapes. On the way up the windy road, nothing was off the table for discussion and we discovered some amazing things about our humble yet extremely talented winemaker.
Shawna first discovered her passion for winemaking on a vacation to Napa Valley with her husband, who was her boyfriend at the time. Both with a background in biology, forestry to be more specific, loved nature and the cyclical patterns of life. Visiting from Florida, the two immediately fell in love with the wine region of Napa Valley. Shawna was asked if she would be interested in working a harvest, and the rest is history.
About thirteen vintages later, 6 of which were spent at Luna Vineyards, Shawna has learned a thing or two along the way. Her winemaking style has evolved, becoming more refined and boutique-driven. She takes pride in her “old world meets new” winemaking approach, personally gravitating to big, bold reds with a feminine touch. Shawna strives to let the true expression of each of her vineyards shine through, intervening in the cellar as little as possible.
But, if you ask our winemaker to pick her favorite wine in the Luna collection she cannot decide, making a case that “picking your favorite wine is like picking your favorite day in the year – impossible.”
As we walked through the hot and sunny Piccolo Vineyard on Atlas Peak, studying the the veraison and size of our Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon clusters, Shawna was in disbelief that another harvest season was upon us again. While harvest is this winemaker’s favorite time of the year, the season also requires careful planning and preparation. But in the end, nature takes the course it was meant to take and we can only go with the flow. As Shawna, a mother of two, cleverly relates, “Harvest is like having a baby. You can prepare all you want but ultimately the grapes decide when they’re ready and all you can do is hope you are too.”
Thanks, Shawna for all your hard work year-round to produce Luna’s award-winning wines. Good luck with Harvest 2017!