The 23rd Annual Nantucket Wine & Food Festival: May 15-19, 2019

Craig Becker

Director of Winemaking

Somerston Estate
Napa Valley, CA

Craig Becker, a Southern California native, is a founding member of Somerston Wine Company. A strong love of the outdoors attracted Becker to winemaking. This attraction, combined with innate talent, led him to the helm of Somerston – an expansive project focused on great wines and an appreciation of the natural world.

 

After spending much of his childhood in Long Beach, California, he moved north to attend Santa Rosa Junior College out of the desire to be surrounded by nature and, as he says, for the unlimited mountain biking opportunities. Within a few years, he transferred to the University of California at Davis to study plant physiology and soil science. It was in a class at UC Davis—Plant Physiology 112—that he met Courtney Siverson, who would later become his wife. Upon graduation in 1997, Becker accepted a position at Spring Mountain Vineyard to work under the direction of winemaker Craig MacClean. Once harvest finished, MacClean left to start his own brand. Less than 9 months out of college, Becker was promoted to winemaker and his career—as well as his reputation for working with mountain vineyards and being a winemaker deeply involved in both farming and the cellar —took off.

 

In 1999, Becker started his vineyard consulting business. A short time later, Craig and the Peacock family launched “Peacock”, a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from a 6-acre vineyard high above the town of Saint Helena in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. The success of Peacock launched a series of premium vineyard consulting projects for Becker.

 

Later in 2005, Somerston founder Allan Chapman contacted Becker about making his wines. Becker connected immediately with Chapman’s down-to-earth personality, and was impressed by the holistic, land-focused approached that Chapman wanted reflected in every element of the Somerston brand. In 2008, Becker’s Michael Austin and Highflyer brands were merged with Somerston’s Priest Ranch brand. Plans soon developed for an additional brand under the name “Somerston” and then Becker began building, block by block, a vision for a wine brand and wine country experience like no other.