Senior Winemaker Sean Foster
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, winemaker Sean Foster is the epitome of the practical winemaker. While studying biochemical engineering at UCLA, he occasionally brewed beer to enjoy with friends and began to drink wine, but never with the thought that this would someday become his profession. It wasn't until his final year of study that Sean realized a career as a scientist wasn't for him and he began looking for something that would allow him to use his science background, yet provide the opportunity to create a product he could enjoy.
The call to the wine industry came in 1992 when Foster's grandfather, who lived in the Napa Valley, helped him get a job during harvest. Interestingly enough, he got his start at Merryvale. He became enthralled with the winemaking process during crush, working under then winemaker Bob Levy. After harvest, he returned to UCLA for a short time, only to leave during his final year to accept a full time job in the cellars at Merryvale. During his nine year tenure he was a "cellar rat" for three years, becoming Assistant Winemaker in 1995, and Associate Winemaker in 2001, this time working with winemaker Steve Test to introduce new varietals and develop single vineyard wines. In July 2002, he left to join Peju Province Winery as Winemaker.
Foster's career has come full circle, now back at Merryvale as the Senior Winemaker for both Starmont and Merryvale wines. He works closely with Assistant Winemakers Jeff Crawford and Simon Faury, the winemaking staff and Viticulturist Michael Costley to create wines that reflect Merryvale's outstanding vineyard sources.