' Paint Horse Winery - Meet the Winemaker

Meet the Winemaker

Julia Iantosca has 25 years of winemaking experience in small premium wineries. Her focus has been on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

She began her career at Dry Creek Vineyards, as a student intern for Harvest 1978. After completing her internship she returned to UC Davis and received a BS in Fermentation Science in December 1979.
Just after graduation, in January 1980, Julia joined Stevenot Vineyards in Calaveras County as Co-Winemaker with winery owner Bardon Stevenot. Stevenot Vineyards produced Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Gamay and Sauvignon Blanc from the winery vineyards located just outside Murphys at 1800 ft. elevation. White Zinfandel and Chardonnay were produced from fruit purchased in Amador and Placer Counties. The Sierra Foothill region was just beginning a rebirth of wine industry that had flourished prior to Prohibition. Recognizing the benefit of the region’s winemakers sharing winemaking knowledge, she helped start a Technical Tasting Group for the Sierra Foothills wineries styled after the Sonoma Wine Tech Group.

Julia returned to Sonoma County after two years at Stevenot Vineyards. In May of 1982 Julia began as Winemaker for William Wheeler Winery in Healdsburg. Julia was with Wheeler for eleven years. Wheeler Winery produced Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel from their hillside vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. In addition Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot were produced from grapes grown by local growers. During her time at Wheeler, Julia worked closely with Vineyard Manager Duff Bevill to enhance wine quality through vineyard practices that focused on Wine-growing rather than Grape-growing.

In August of 1993 she joined Lambert Bridge Winery as Winemaker. Lambert Bridge represented a unique challenge because the winery had been closed down for nearly a year. In just three years the winery went from an empty cellar to producing 20,000 cases. Merlot was the flagship variety for Lambert Bridge. The winery also produced Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Crane Creek Cuvee, a red Meritage. Several local vineyards were the source for these wines for many years. In an effort to improve quality Julia worked with Duff Bevill Vineyard Manager to locate 60 acres of vineyards. Together they selected clones and rootstock to plant and replant these newly acquired properties. In 2000 she became the Winery Manager in addition to her duties as Winemaker.

March of 2006 Julia began a new venture in her winemaking career. She joined Vinquiry, a Wine Laboratory Service that has been serving the Wine Industry since 1978. She is available as a Consulting Winemaker; able to offer clients the benefit of her many years of winemaking experience. She consults both on a short term or long term basis depending upon the client’s needs. Presently she is responsible for three labels; Leveroni Vineyards which produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah; West which produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and Paint Horse Winery which produces Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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