Story By: Laurie Jo Miller Farr // Photos Courtesy of Lobo Wines
[Coleman] Is “A Perfectionist”
Fifteen vintages ago, Lobo Wines Proprietor Randy Wulff interviewed Victoria Coleman for a winemaker position. Already impressed with her resume and the complimentary reports that preceded her, Wulff recalled, “After five minutes, I offered her the job on the spot, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
When they first met, Coleman was already a rising star following her production role with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars under the tutelage of owner Warren Winiarski and head winemaker Michael Silacci of Opus One repute. In addition to her U.C. Davis degree in viticulture and enology, Coleman had benefited from a season at Château Mouton Rothschild working with Technical Director Erick Tourbier.
In high praise of Victoria Coleman, Wulff says, “She’s as active in the vineyard as in the winery — a perfectionist, which we really appreciate. Victoria is the complete package. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, devoted to the wine, and perhaps the best palate I’ve ever encountered. Her skills are matched by her loyalty and dedication to the brand and the family. As far as we’re concerned, Victoria is family.”
As the first Black female winemaker in Napa Valley, Coleman is hopeful about the future as we see more diversity developing at many levels throughout the industry. “I am working with a small team to fund scholarships for industry training and education for people of color. We want to bridge the gap between desire and opportunity.”
The wines in Coleman’s portfolio include rosé of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Merlot, a Syrah blend, and two Cabernets. She recently added to her experience by taking the reins as Director of Winemaking at The Caves at Soda Canyon.
Coleman’s talent is widely admired throughout the valley. Lobo sells 65 percent of its fruit to top brands such as The Prisoner, Mumm Napa, and Lewis Cellars. The remainder of the grapes sourced from family vineyards in the Oak Knoll District and Atlas Peak AVA are destined for their own label wines consistently awarded above 90-points. Indeed, the 2015 Lobo, Wulff Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley was featured on the December 2019 cover of Decanter after being selected in a blind tasting as the highest-rated (96 points) among nearly 200 California Cabs.
The Caves At Soda Canyon are the centerpiece for the production of Lobo reds. Now complete after several years in development, a 20,000-square-foot underground network is set into a mountaintop. What’s more, the winery is open to visitors by appointment, where views of Stag’s Leap and the valley are “dramatic,” says Wulff, a real “showstopper,” even by Napa standards.
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