When Keith Emerson joined Gundlach Bundschu Winery as winemaker in December 2008, it was a sort of homecoming. A 1999 graduate of University of California at Davis, he served as Gundlach Bundschu associate winemaker from 2000 to 2004. He returns to the estate with a honed vision and proven experience to match his passion for the site.
After earning his degree, Keith spent a year at Cakebread Cellars before joining Gundlach Bundschu. In 2004, he worked a harvest at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, New Zealand, before returning to Northern California and becoming Director of Winemaking for Vineyard 29 in St. Helena, CA.
At Vineyard 29, Keith works closely with consultant Philippe Melka on the Vineyard 29 and Aida Estate wines and directs all aspects of winemaking for the CRU portfolio of wines. He also oversees the winemaking programs for a number of custom-crush clients, such as Melka Wines and Skipstone Ranch, and works with several respected growers, including David Abreu, Mike Wolf, Jim Barbour, Piña Vineyard Management and Silverado Farming Company, among others.
Keith also consults for Robert Craig, Martin Ray, Vinoce, Levensohn, Knighton Family Vineyards and produces his own label of artisan Cabernet Sauvignon, Emerson Brown, as well as his own label of Shea Vineyard, Oregon Pinot Noir called Sonria.
It is Keith’s experience with these diverse vineyards that has inspired his return to Gundlach Bundschu.
“My goal as a winemaker is to tell the story of each vineyard site,” Emerson said. “I know the Gundlach Bundschu estate, and I believe strongly in its potential to produce stellar wines. I am extremely motivated to work with Jeff and the team to take these wines to the highest quality level.”
At Gundlach Bundschu, Keith works closely with winemaker Anne Dempsey, who directs daily cellar operations and Assistant Winemaker Hillary Woolley, who oversees all laboratory responsibilities. Keith lives in Napa, CA. and enjoys trail running and spending time with his two beautiful children.