Although he toyed with the idea of becoming a pilot or firefighter, Nate Weis’ decision to pursue winemaking seemed almost inevitable. A Napa Valley native whose father is also a winemaker, Nate grew up with wine on the table and a drawer full of t‐shirts emblazoned with winery logos. His first job after graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Biopsychology/Neuroscience was as a “cellar rat” at Groth Vineyards & Winery. “My dad suggested I make sure I actually liked winemaking before heading down that career path. I loved that first harvest, so I packed my bags, dropped my application for UC Davis grad school in the mail and went off to Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.”
Nate spent the 2003 harvest at two New Zealand wineries – Craggy Range Winery and Sacred Hill Wines – and when he returned home he worked a harvest for Etude Wines before starting grad school. After earning his MS in Viticulture and Enology, he was hired as cellar master at Etude, a producer of Carneros Pinot Noir and Napa Valley Cabernet, and then spent two years as assistant winemaker for Patz & Hall Wine Company, another well-known Pinot Noir producer. In 2008 Nate was hired by Marchese Piero Antinori as winemaker for Antica Napa Valley, where he made Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. He also served as winemaker for Aril Wines in Napa, a small ultra‐premium producer of Cabernet and Syrah.
Nate, who joined Silver Oak in 2014, trained under previous Director of Winemaking Daniel Baron, much like Daniel trained under Justin Meyer before him. Nate’s varied winemaking background offers him a unique blend of experience to craft exceptional Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon and oversee Twomey’s production of food-friendly, site-driven Pinot Noir, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. “Having grown up and worked in Napa Valley where Cabernet is king, I’m excited to be working with a variety that is often on our table,” reflects Nate. “Twomey’s site-driven exploration of other varieties gives me the opportunity to be creative, to challenge myself and the winemaking team. I’ve spent many an evening tasting Sauvignon blancs from around the world with my father, as the variety is one of his passions. The late Doug Wisor, of Craggy Range, had a gigantic influence on me in a short time, and it was in him that I first saw the fire that burns within so many winemakers about Pinot noir. Due to his influence, I’ve spent my entire career learning about and making Pinot noir in some quantity.”
Nate has a long list of things he likes about winemaking: “I love the uniform – jeans and boots. I love the physical nature of the work, coming home covered in muck and tired out from working hard. I love the setting and getting to play with heavy equipment; one of my career epiphanies was a harvest evening spent on a tractor spreading pomace in the vineyard and watching the sunset when I realized I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve grown to love the plant biology part of it – figuring out how to get the vine to do what we want it to do. It’s like unraveling a mystery. And of course I love the end product. I often see people when they’re happiest – at a great meal with a glass of Silver Oak or Twomey in their hand.”
Nate earned his Executive MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University in 2014. He is married and has four children. What little free time he has is spent playing rugby, running and reading.