About Emma Kudritzki Hall
Leading the crew in the cellar, Emma’s intensity is apparent. It’s the same drive that propelled her as an All-American college athlete (she played water polo at U.C. San Diego, where she earned a B.S. in Biology).
But she says that cultivating the ability to be deeply focused may be the key reason she’s been successful as winemaker at Mauritson.
“You fall in love with the process,” says the Marin County, CA, native who spent college summers working in her uncle’s pear orchard and vineyard. After her first grape harvest -- in 2001, at a boutique winery in the Sonoma Mayacamas Mountains – Emma was hooked.
Next came five years of hands-on experience at other wineries close to home and as far-flung as New Zealand. After returning to California and receiving her Enology and Viticulture degree from Fresno State University in 2005, she became the Assistant Winemaker and Viticulturist at MacRostie Winery, where she worked for four years.
She joined Mauritson in 2011, was promoted to Winemaker in January 2019, and shares founder Clay Mauritson’s philosophy that the best wines capture a specific sense of place, as well as express the unique conditions of each vintage. It's an approach that requires rigorous attention to detail, as well as an openness to discovering what each year’s grapes need to reach their full potential. The most satisfying part? "Figuring out the puzzle" to craft the most harmonious wines, Emma says. "It's [taking] that science and expressing it in artistic ways."
The foundation is understanding the land, and Emma often is found walking the rows of vines in our estate vineyards. Continuing to add fresh perspective is also vital, so Emma travels to other world-class growing regions, including Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy and Tuscany.
Because successful winemaking is all-consuming, renewal is essential. For this, Emma relies on her running regimen. "It makes me slow down," she says, "and naturally digest...my thoughts and reflect." She also makes time to teach Enology in the much-respected Wine Studies program at Santa Rosa Junior College in Sonoma County.
Pursuing a career that combines passion and purpose is extremely fulfilling for Emma, and it’s something that she and her husband, Jesse, hope to instill in their young daughter, Marina (the family lives in Healdsburg with their two dogs, Tomales and Zydeco). "You live and breathe what you do," she says, "because you enjoy it so much.”