J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has announced the promotion of Brenden Wood from assistant winemaker to red winemaker, the position formerly held by Steve Peck, who was promoted in September 2018 to director of winemaking.
Celebrating his 15th anniversary with J. Lohr this year, Wood is now responsible for all tiers of red wine in the winery’s portfolio. He will continue to work alongside the winemaking leadership group that includes Peck, Winemaker White Wines Kristen Barnhisel, Production Winemaker Karl Antink, and President/COO Jeff Meier.
“Our team has never been in a better position to deliver the exceptional quality and consistency that J. Lohr is known for,” says Peck. “Brenden has long been relied upon for his thoughtful design and delivery of the winemaking plan that leads to the successful house style found in all of our red wines. This well-deserved promotion represents a natural evolution of his responsibilities.”
Wood cultivated an interest in wine and beer as a student at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) while pursuing his B.S. degree in biochemistry. Armed with scientific knowledge and an appreciation of fermentation science, he began crafting his own small lots of wine as a student.
As his passion for wine grew, so did his travels, which led him to explore the winegrowing regions of France and Italy. After working two harvests in Paso Robles to gain practical winemaking experience, Wood joined J. Lohr in 2004 as a lab technician, where he ran daily quality control analyses while helping develop several modern tools for color and tannin analysis.
In 2007, Wood was promoted to enologist and began working closely with Peck and Meier to further enhance quality in J. Lohr’s red winemaking program.
Recognized for his foundation in the technical aspects of winemaking — coupled with his appreciation for the artistry of the blend — Wood was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2010, the company reports.
“Brenden has keen sensory skills and a very friendly, authentic demeanor in addition to his winemaking acumen.” says Meier. “With the importance of the red winemaking program to J. Lohr’s portfolio, we couldn’t be more pleased to elevate Brenden to this pivotal position, and look forward to his continued leadership and winemaking contributions.”