Matt Murphy, Cofounder and President
As the visionary president of Presqu’ile Winery, Matt Murphy has guided his family’s efforts to establish Presqu’ile as one of the Santa Maria Valley’s defining wineries, recognized for making balanced and sophisticated cool-climate wines. From his earliest work directing the planting of the Presqu’ile Vineyard to his role overseeing the design and construction of Presqu’ile’s state-of-the-art gravity-flow winery to shaping the elegant stylistic identity of the winery’s Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, Matt’s leadership has established Presqu’ile as one of California’s most exciting new wineries.
Matt grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas. The eldest son in a family of wine lovers, he was exposed to fine wine at a relatively early age, including many of the great wines of Burgundy. Matt also often spent harvest season at the family’s farm in neighboring Louisiana, where four generations of the Murphys have been growing corn, soy and rice since the 1930s. While studying molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Matt followed his emerging appreciation of fine wine, and his love of the land, and worked a summer at Signorello Estate in Napa Valley. At Signorello, Matt found that he loved working in the vineyard, and the collaborative nature of making wine.
After university, Matt headed west, and took a position in the cellar at Santa Maria Valley’s Ambullneo Winery. There, Matt spent three years learning viticulture and winemaking from the ground up—experience that planted the seed for what would become Presqu’ile. Matt also became good friends with Ambullneo’s talented assistant winemaker, Dieter Cronje. The two found that they shared strikingly similar philosophies about winegrowing, winemaking, and the relatively untapped potential of the Santa Maria Valley to make some of California’s finest cool-climate wines.
In 2006, building on his family’s shared love of wine and agriculture, Matt and his parents, Madison and Suzanne, began an extensive search for the finest vineyard land on which to found Presqu’ile. Though this search spanned the entire West Coast, they were thrilled when it ultimately led them back to Santa Maria Valley—an area whose wines the Murphy family had fallen in love with. In 2007, Matt and his family acquired 200 acres of highly prized land on the cool, sandy-soiled south side of the valley, where the region’s most elegant wines come from.
In the years since, Matt has guided Presqu’ile, developing the vineyard, building the winery and creating a small portfolio of acclaimed wines in collaboration with his parents and siblings. “Around the world, the greatest wineries are multigenerational family endeavors,” says Matt. “This is the model we are following. We are a very close family that loves doing things together. Presqu’ile is an extension of this. We are building Presqu’ile together. We all share the same vision for quality, and the same desire to establish something special and enduring.”