Associate Winemaker: Kelly Woods
Kelly Woods has a medley of life experiences and skill sets that she brings to the table. A product of both nature and nurture, she is self-driven to perform and has an open and bright mind. Brought up in the pastoral community of Santa Maria on California’s Central Coast, where she has roots in agriculture, BBQ, sports, and even some ties to classic cars. Santa Maria has bench lands known for fine wine, and sprawling acres of more fertile soils for row crops and pasture. It is also famous for “Santa Maria Tri-tip” and Kelly knows how to do it right on her own Santa Maria-style BBQ- she even brings Santa Maria red oak up to Napa with her to do it right! As a youth, volleyball, raising pigs, and other outdoors activities in addition to school were her interests. She learned to drive in a 1965 El Camino, which served her and her brothers well. Upon acceptance to UC Davis, and having to select a degree, she chose Viticulture and Enology almost on a whim. It was more that a whim though, the wine business was already in her DNA, even if she didn’t realize it.
Putting herself through UC Davis in four years is a herculean feat in this day and age, she did it, and with high marks. Upon graduation, her career has included work at Seavey Vineyard, Bryant Family Vineyard, and Sequoia Grove Winery in the Napa Valley as well as a harvest in New Zealand. She is skilled in everything from cellar work to lab work with an attention for quality and detail in very efficient, modern, and realistic ways. Her character allows her to dispel adversity with decisive techniques, this leads to effective management of the cellar, and therefore greater wines are made in a positive environment.
Currently, her “unyielding desire to make a contribution to the wine industry” is obvious. Starting at Burgess Cellars in January of 2013, there are some changes to this venerable winery that have already manifested. For example, organization of the wine lots in “the cloud” was something this 130-year old facility didn’t even conceptualize before her. Kelly will perform most lab work herself, saving precious time and money. Knowing how much of wine-making happens in the vineyards, she also gets out there to determine picking order, when and where to pick, etc. Organization, detail, and QA then continue through the bottling process. Her strong sensory analysis skills and broad knowledge of wine styles allow for objective and precision wine-making.