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Meet the Winemaker

Alison Doran’s journey to becoming Levendi Winery’s winemaker is a story of passion, hard work, and a deep love for winemaking. Her journey began in 1973, where she discovered her love for wine while working as a harvest intern at her father’s Simi Winery. During her time there, she met Andre Tchelistcheff, Simi’s consultant winemaker, who became her mentor and friend.

Tchelistcheff recognized Alison’s potential and arranged internships for her in Alsace and Hoffman Mountain Ranch, which led to a Fermentation Science degree at UC Davis. This was the beginning of her journey toward becoming a winemaker.

Alison’s first winemaking job was at Firestone Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, where she worked her way up from lab tech to winemaker. She held this position for 13 years, honing her skills and building her reputation as a consulting winemaker.

In 2000, Alison and her family moved to Alexander Valley’s Hoot Owl Creek Ranch, where she tended the vineyard that now produces a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Her love for Napa Valley’s complexity, variability, and family-owned wineries, as well as her focus on site-specific winemaking, has been a driving force in her winemaking career.

Alison’s expertise in winemaking caught the attention of David Gianulias, who was starting up Levendi Winery. After a quick meeting, Alison became the winery’s first employee, and her knowledge and experience of Napa Valley, as well as her unique winemaking style, set the course for every Levendi Winery wine.

Aside from winemaking, Alison enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, singing in a choir, and hiking in Alexander Valley. She also serves as a trustee on the Alexander Valley School Board, where she plays a vital role in facilitating a love of learning in the youth of her community.