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Catherine Kistler

Since 2017, I have been the Assistant Winemaker at Occidental. I graduated from Harvard College in 2015 as a Joint Concentrator in the Classics and History. After graduating, I lived in Boston for two years to complete the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Certification course at Boston University and progressed through the WSET, completing a portion of the Diploma level. I initially set out with the goal of enrolling in the Master of Wine program, but quickly realized after getting back to California that there was plenty to do here at the winery. No one has all the answers for farming the cold, coastal headlands where we are growing pinot noir, so it’s exciting to be able to learn alongside my father and focus on just one variety.

Even during the years that I lived on the east coast, I always came home to help at harvest time and picked up all that I could from my dad. Since joining him at Occidental in 2017, I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about working in this field and what it takes to produce wines at a consistently high level as he has for four decades. Working at a small, family business means embracing all of the highs and lows, taking everything personally, and owning what you do. I feel very lucky to be able to combine my curiosity and drive with my absolute love of the world of wine and food and the people in it.