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Director of Winemaking
HQ Phone:  (585) 678-7100
Direct Phone: (707) ***-****
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207 High Point Dr. Building 100
Victor, New York,14564
Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B), a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Italy. Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.... more.
Having grown up in a farming family, as a teenager Susan was certain that she did not want a career in agriculture. However, after much soul searching and reminiscing about her days as a young girl making dandelion wine with her father, Susan decided to transfer to UC Davis to pursue a degree in viticulture. Upon completion of her studies, Susan started her career as a winemaker at Hacienda Winery, a 20,000 case family winery in the Sonoma Valley, Susan learned invaluable hands-on experience. As she explains, "Working at a small winery, you get to do everything: vineyard thinning, sampling, experimentation, pump maintenance, winemaking, problem solving, sensory analysis, blending and bottling line production. Susan carried this experience to Kendall Jackson and then to Dry Creek Vineyard where she worked for eight years, developing her intense love of Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. In the fall of 2000, attracted by SIMI's reputation as an industry leader in winemaking technology, Susan joined the SIMI team. In 2011, Susan was promoted to Director of Winemaking. At SIMI, Susan directs the day-to-day winemaking processes and oversees a talented team who collectively strive to showcase the best that Sonoma County's fruit has to offer. She also works hand-in-hand with SIMI grower and vineyard management partners to source the highest quality Sonoma County grapes, and assists the marketing and sales departments in promoting the unique nature of Sonoma County wines.
Director of Winemaking Susan Lueker, who as a young girl made dandelion wine with her father on the family farm, says she always wanted to be a scientist. At the University of Missouri she studied chemistry and medical child development then went to graduate school. Partway through, she transferred to the University of California, Davis to pursue a degree in viticulture. When her enology class visited vineyards for the first time, she knew she wanted to be a winemaker. She started her career at Hacienda Winery, took the experience she gained there to Kendall-Jackson and then went to Dry Creek Vineyard where she worked for eight years. Susan joined Simi in 2000. In her new position, Lisa works alongside Director of Winemaking, Susan Lueker, and the SIMI winemaking team.
In celebration of Women's History Month, Wine Enthusiast caught up with Susan Lueker, Simi Winery's Director of Winemaking, to talk about the life and times of the dynamic Isabelle.
Shouldn't it be as delicious as possible?) We chatted with Susan Lueker, director of winemaking at Simi Winery, to get the deets on all the ways you're probably doing this whole wine thing wrong. (Though really, no judgment.
I mean, I pair mine with french fries.) Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Stop Serving Your White Wine So Damn Cold "Over-chilling whites is the mistake I come across most often," says Lueker. "Lighter bodied reds including Pinot, Zinfandels, and Port wines show (AKA taste) better with a slight chill around 57 to 61°F," says Lueker. Sometimes this can kill a fragile older wine," says Lueker. "Letting all wines breathe just a bit after opening will help them show their best," says Lueker. "One thing I learned from a master of wine is that white wines can really benefit from breathing. Experiment with it and see what happens. " You Don't Need to Rinse Your Wine Glass if Switching from White to Red or Vice Versa "Rinsing the glass with water will dilute the wine, which will impact the flavor in a negative way-much more than few drops of wine would," says Lueker. Don't Try to Be Fancy When Describing Your Wine "Wines are like people and can be described the same way you describe your friends," says Lueker. It's disappointing not to drink a wine when it's showing its best," says Lueker. Lueker isn't playing around: "If you're drinking wine from stemware, make sure you use the stem! "It's fully American-a combo of merit and heritage-so it's not meant to be pronounced with a French accent," says Lueker.
Susan Lueker and Ralph Tingle
"But in following Susan, I've learned that her techniques of blending wines are off the charts." A science whiz from Missouri, Susan worked harvests at Hacienda Wine Cellars and Simi Winery, where she has been the director of winemaking since 2011. Susan says she appreciates her husband's palate, his honest opinion, and the fantastic food he makes for her. "I like his job," she says.