Our Thumbnails

Andrew Nalle, Winemaker 

At the tender age of six, Andrew learned which end of the pitchfork to hold and now, as Winemaker, he hasn't forgotten. He studied Enology and Viticulture at Santa Rosa J.C. and U.C. Davis Extension and is a 2002 graduate in Philosophy from the University of Redlands.

He has traveled to other winegrowing regions of the world including France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. To say his palate is international is an understatement.

He enjoys time with his new daughter Lena and wife April, cooking for them, asking Doug questions, and crossfit. He is justifiably proud of his fifth generation presence in Dry Creek Valley. Andrew injects a healthy dose of enthusiasm and passion for wine and grapes; just exactly what his elders need at Nalle Winery.

Doug Nalle, Zin Master

Doug's first job in the wine industry was in 1973 as a cellar worker for Souverain. Everyone told Doug, "You have to know someone to get a winery job." Apparently not! Doug crushed the first grapes through the facility in Geyserville but wasn't asked to do the blessing since Father O'Whatshisname was present. Clearly smitten with the wine bug, Doug enrolled at Santa Rosa J.C. (His B.A. in History from the University of Redlands was not quite winemaking oriented. Who knew?) He took a winemaking class from Dick Arrowood and grape growing classes from Rich Thomas. Next, it was chemistry at Sonoma State U. Finally, he squeezed his way into the enology graduate program at U.C. Davis and earned a Masters degree in 1979 with Professor Roger Boulton as his research advisor. While at Davis, he worked harvests for Jordan and Arroyo Sonoma and made award winning amateur wines with buddy, Mike Hin. Doug considers Mike, who left the business in 1979, his mentor and the best winemaker he's ever known. Mike spent an auspicious five years at UCD and the University of Bordeaux as a student and researcher. His studies on Pinot Noir, both viticultural and enological, were ground breaking for California.

After graduating from UCD, Doug worked for Balverne Winery and Vineyards from 1979 to 1983, where he and co-winemaker, John Kongsgaard, produced numerous estate bottled wines. In 1984, Doug was hired to build a state-of-the art Dry Creek Valley winery for San Francisco venture capitalist Bill Hambrecht. After one harvest, the project was scuttled, which, in turn, spawned a Nalle-Hambrecht partnership and the Nalle label. The partnership ended amicably in 1990 at which point Doug and his wife, Lee, (see below) became equal partners.

In 1986, public relations expert, Jan Mettler, introduced Doug to Henry and Holly Wendt of Quivira Vineyards. What began as a consulting role, turned into full time winery design and winemaking at Quivira. In 1987, Doug moved his equipment from the red barn at 1040 Lytton Springs Road to Quivira which allowed Fred Peterson, Hambrecht's vineyard manager, to start Peterson Winery. In 1990, Doug left Quivira to focus on his Nalle brand and build an eccentric above-ground cave aka Nalle Winery. He, his wife Lee, and winemaker son Andrew are partners. Doug helps (?) Andrew, who insists there is a future in this wacky business.

Lee Nalle, Wise Mom

Lee met Doug on a lazy, warm spring Sunday in 1974. They were married that same year and their relationship is now over 35 years strong. She is the mother of their two sons, Andrew and Sam, a postdoctoral fellow in cancer research in San Francisco.

Lee graduated in Anthropology, Phi Beta Kappa, from U.C. Berkeley in 1971 and U.C. San Francisco's Nursing program in 1974. She worked as a Nurse Practitioner and taught child birth classes until her sons and husband demanded all of her time.

Some of her daily responsibilities as Co-Owner include banking, invoicing, customer relations, shipping, cellar work, quality control at the crusher ("no pink, no raisins, no rot") and head cook. Her meatloaf and crème caramel are almost world famous. She still takes time to write "thank you's".

Her family roots go back to the 1890's in Dry Creek Valley. Her great grandfather, John Henderlong, ran sheep in the valley on a ranch now underwater at Lake Sonoma. In 1927, her grandparents, Fred and Ruby Henderlong, bought the property on which Lee and Doug now live and operate Nalle Winery.

She and Doug have traveled to many winegrowing areas of the world including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Europe. Her "Don't bother", "It's OK", and "I'll Have Some More, Please" wine critiques have worked well for 3 decades. If only wines smelled and tasted like coffee.