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Anna Murphy, Enologist 

Anna Murphy worked her first harvest at Presqu’ile in 2011. In the years since, she has established herself as an integral member of the Presqu’ile winemaking team, and an emerging winemaking talent in her own right. As Presqu’ile’s enologist, Anna works closely alongside Winemaker Dieter Cronje at every stage of the winemaking process, from the growing season through harvest to final blending. Anna also collaborates with her parents and siblings to guide the overall direction of the winery.

Growing up in El Dorado, Arkansas, Anna spent time at her family’s farm in neighboring Louisiana, where she began to learn the intricacies of managing an agricultural-based business. Anna attended Hendrix College in Arkansas, where she earned a degree in psychology. After graduation, Anna took a position at Hendrix working in the International Programs department, where she helped to manage the college’s Rwandan scholarship program, as well as the study abroad programs.

In 2011, excited by her family’s work at Presqu’ile, and eager to learn more about the winery, Anna joined her siblings Matt and Jonathan in the Santa Maria Valley to work her first harvest. Though the hours were long, and the work sorting grapes and shoveling tanks was difficult, Anna found that she loved the energy and camaraderie of winemaking, as well as the opportunity to work alongside her family. After immersing herself in several areas of the winery’s operations, including managing the wine club, marketing, and helping to open Presqu’ile’s original Los Olivos tasting room, Anna’s enthusiasm and interest for viticulture and enology drew her back to winemaking. In addition to being mentored by Dieter, Anna augmented her technical understanding by taking classes at Allan Hancock College before running Presqu’ile’s state-of-the-art laboratory.

Since becoming Presqu’ile’s enologist, Anna has continually strived to expand her knowledge, including working a harvest at Tuscany’s acclaimed Tenuta Dei Sette Cieli winery, where she gained extensive experience in the vineyard. “Because my family has been farming for generations, I view our vineyard as a working farm,” says Anna. “This perspective has taught me that achieving quality requires experience, dedication and attention to detail. I also see us as part of a wider agricultural community here in Santa Maria Valley. There are so many welcoming, hard working and dedicated people here—it’s a wonderful environment in which to grow grapes and make wine.”

As Anna’s skill and knowledge have grown, so has her desire to one day become a winemaker. “If you don’t have that passion for making wine, you’re wasting your time,” says Dieter. “Anna has this passion. She is also smart, thoughtful and has an excellent palate. She has the potential to be a great winemaker.”