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From the vineyards of Bordeaux to the vineyards of Napa Valley, I have been fortunate to study and work with some of the most heralded winemakers in the world. My journey began at the University of California Davis, where I earned a degree in viticulture and enology, then continued in France where I studied at the Sorbonne. During that period, I developed a love for French wine and wanted to return and experience an old-world harvest. I did that in the fall of 2000, working in the cellar of the famed Château Cheval-Blanc.
I returned to Napa in 2000 and spent two years as the assistant winemaker at Seavey Vineyard before working for four years as the assistant winemaker at Bryant Family Vineyard. In the spring of 2007, I became the winemaker at Piña Napa Valley, where we produce single-vineyard designate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines and where I produce my Ilaria wines.
Winemaking is a family affair in the Monticelli home. My husband, Mario, was born into a family whose roots as winemakers span four generations. His father emigrated here from Italy where he has worked for 40 years making wine for Gallo. He introduced Mario to the family business when Mario was still a child, instilling in him a passion that defines both our lives. Mario honed his craft working a harvest in Tuscany at Antinori, then spending four years working as assistant winemaker under Philippe Melka for numerous Napa Valley producers. He spent three years as the winemaker for Quixote Winery before assuming the role of winemaker for Trinchero Napa Reserve in 2007. Mario’s brother, Massimo, is also a winemaker and consults for projects in Napa and Sonoma.

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