Elizabeth Vianna -
General Manager/Winemaker, Chimney Rock Winery
Elizabeth Vianna attributes her career in winemaking to a glass of 1985 Sociando Mallet, which she enjoyed at a pre-auction tasting at Christie’s in New York. A biology major at Vassar College, Elizabeth was originally on the pre-medical school track. She fell in love with wine as a consumer while living in New York City, working as a clinical toxicologist at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Her strong science background and sudden infatuation with wine propelled her to apply to the University of California – Davis, and its renowned winemaking program instead of medical school.
Vianna first came to Chimney Rock as a harvest intern in 1999, while completing her Master’s degree in enology at U.C. Davis. Upon graduation, she became an enologist at Napa Wine Company and was soon named assistant winemaker there, where she worked directly with many of the region’s top winemakers including Heidi Barrett, Erin Green, Pam Starr and Celia Masyczek. Vianna was named to the position of assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock in January 2002, and advanced to the position of winemaker in April 2005.
In 2011 Vianna was promoted to the position of General Manager of the famed Stags Leap District winery. Vianna will continue in her role as Chimney Rock's head winemaker and is excited to be building on the unique history and reputation of the winery. Vianna approaches her craft with an artistic sensibility creating wines praised by critics and highly sought after by collectors.
In 2009 Vianna was honored by the University of California-Davis School of Graduate Studies when she was invited by the Dean of Graduate Studies to deliver the commencement speech to the class of 2009. She is frequently selected for tasting panels and judging wine competitions. She currently serves as the vice president for the Stags Leap Winegrower’s Association executive board.