Our Team



Brought up in the pastoral community of Santa Maria on California’s Central Coast, Kelly Woods chose to build upon her agricultural roots and follow a career in viticulture through the world famous UC Davis School of Viticulture and Enology.

Kelly’s winemaking career has seen her at the likes of Seavey, Bryant Family, and Sequoia Grove Winery in the Napa Valley as well as further afield in New Zealand. She manages all aspects of winemaking - be it in the cellar, lab, or out in the field. Kelly’s strong sensory skills and broad knowledge of wine styles have brought Burgess an enhanced focus on objective and precision in our wine-making.



Steven Burgess was actually born during the winery’s first harvest!

Steven Burgess did not always work in the family business. He earned degrees in Agricultural Systems Management and Agricultural Business as well as a Wine-Marketing Certificate. Steven was a high school physics teacher, wine representative, night barman and restorer of vintage trailers. In 2004 his father, Tom, persuaded him to return to Burgess Cellars. In 2013, Steven was promoted to President of Burgess Cellars making it a true Second Generation family business.

In addition to many aspects of managing the vineyards, winery and travelling throughout the United States promoting Burgess Cellars’ wine, he can often be seen doing some carpentry, welding, repairing a vehicle, mending stone walls from the 1800s or helping with the harvest. Steven fills his rare spare time cycling, camping, tinkering and cleaning up after his kids. He serves on the Wine Service Co-op Board of Directors and is a Volunteer Fire Fighter for the local station.



James Burgess consults and directs the vineyard operations. He is one of the brightest, most resourceful, and dedicated vineyard managers in the valley. In this role at Burgess Cellars since 2013, he has made incredible progress in the vineyards using different trellising methods and selecting new rootstocks and varietals for the replanting of vineyard blocks.

James often participates in the “tasting panel” for blending along with Kelly Woods and Steve Burgess. The Haymaker Vineyard has been part of the Burgess Cellars estate since 1987 when Tom purchased it and developed into a vineyard. James purchased it from his father in 2012 and continues the Burgess tradition of constantly trying to improve the land, the vineyards and thus, the wine. He is also carrying on another tradition – James is currently in the process of obtaining his pilot’s license.