After 35 years of winemaking at Conn Creek and sister winery Villa Mt. Eden, Mike McGrath has announced he will retire in August.
McGrath, 62, joined Villa Mt. Eden in 1982 and was appointed winemaker in 1983. In 1986, he joined Conn Creek and was promoted to head winemaker in 2007. He graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in fermentation science in 1978 and had early stints with Grgich Hills Estate, William Hill Estate Winery and Charles Krug.
McGrath helped to bring about investments in cutting-edge winemaking technologies at Conn Creek, including the addition of a Pellenc Selectiv optical sorter in 2013—the same year the winery celebrated its 40th anniversary.
“It’s been a rewarding and joyful journey crafting wines for Villa Mt. Eden and Conn Creek,” McGrath said, adding that he intends to spend the next few months hiking the 2,680-mile Pacific Crest Trail.
Conn Creek said Elizabeth DeLouise-Gant will be its new head winemaker. Most recently, DeLouise-Gant was the assistant winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Prior to that, she was the assistant winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard. DeLouise-Gant was raised in Napa Valley and gained her first taste of the wine industry in her parent’s vineyard.
The two winemakers will work in tandem until McGrath steps down in August.