About Tondi Bolkan
Winemaking is Tondi Bolkan’s passion, but she fell, quite literally, into that career by unusual circumstances. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, she left the cold winters to pursue an education and career in California. Determined to join her family’s legacy of medical professionals, Tondi Bolkan enrolled in the University of California, Davis in 1993. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, she took a medical internship in Sacramento. It was while watching her first procedure that Tondi passed out cold on the operating room floor.
After recovering, she knew she needed to turn her enthusiasm for the medical and scientific field into something that would capture some of her own interests as well, not just that of her family’s. She turned her attention to winegrowing - a profession that allowed her to express her creative side through science and craftsmanship, keeping her in the vineyard instead of the ER.
Launching into her career in the winemaking industry, Bolkan set her sights on Napa Valley and joined what was then called Niebaum-Coppola Winery (what would become known in later years as Rubicon Estate, followed by the current name Inglenook) as an enologist, helping craft the estate’s famed Rutherford grapes into critically acclaimed wines.
In 2006, owner Francis Ford Coppola started his eponymous Sonoma County winery in Geyserville, providing a distinct home for some of the popular, flourishing brands. Recognizing her skills would be a valuable asset to the new winery, CEO Corey Beck again promoted Bolkan to Associate Winemaker and she joined her colleagues at the Sonoma County destination winery in 2008.
A valuable member of the wine industry, Bolkan is a regular speaker at some of the area’s most groundbreaking conventions including Napa Valley Grapegrowers Symposium and Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, and she often lends her expertise as a guest instructor for the renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust examination. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.