Meet Gabriel Valenzuela, a talented winemaker from Langtry Estates and Vineyards
Gabriel grew up in the Bay Area splitting time between Hayward and Oakland, California. He spent much time exploring San Francisco and going to Oakland A’s games during his youth, but his best memories are spending summers in the Oakland hills with his grandparents.
After graduating high school, Gabriel joined the Marine Corps. He attributes his successes in life to the skills he acquired as a Marine. “I learned to work hard, be detailed oriented and to always put the team first.” After serving for four years, he then attended the University of California Davis to study Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. With less than two terms remaining until graduation, he took an introductory winemaking class and was instantly hooked. With his new found passion for winemaking, Gabriel spent two more years at UC Davis, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology.
“Winemaking just seemed to be so interesting and real. It seemed to combine both science and art.”
During his time at UC Davis, he interned at Domaine Carneros in the cellar. It was then that Gabriel decided he wanted to be in the winery as opposed to the vineyard. Next, he interned at R.H. Phillips staying on as an enologist and then winemaker for nearly six years. He then moved on to working at the Napa Wine Company as an Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Manager for about five years where he became more interested in the management and financial side of winemaking. To explore this end of the business, over the next few years Gabriel took a position at Geyser Peak as Cellar Master, Don Sebastiani & Sons as Assistant Operations Manager, and Hall Wines as Cellar Operations Manager all while attaining an MBA from Sonoma State.
In 2015, Gabriel decided to get back into winemaking and accepted the position as Winemaker at Langtry Estate. “I am excited to put together all of the different parts of my career into one role. I will have the opportunity to work with the wines from grape to bottle, building blends and having an impact on this historic brand while still being involved with the management of the team and helping the winery to be profitable.”
Gabriel lives in Calistoga with his wife Tina, and two children Kaitlyn and Sean. When he isn’t making wine, he likes to hike, cook, cycle and spend time with his family.