Susan moved to California in 1986 to raise a family and began her career in the wine industry at Montevina Winery in 1990. She started on the bottling line and gradually worked her way up to production leading the lab, vineyard and developing her palate. Her passion for the industry reaffirmed her belief that she was destined to make wine. Since joining the Villa Toscano winemaking team in 2005, learning the ropes as an assistant winemaker before becoming the winery’s winemaker in 2006.
She has been working in the Shenandoah Valley for the past 25 years specializing in French and Italian varietals grown in the region. She is a highly respected winemaker in the industry with incredible senses and work-ethic. Susan has the same goal every day; to make the best wines she can with passion and pride.
Susan studied for six months tasting wines from all over the world and passing the intro sommelier course in 2017. She resides in Sutter Creek and loves to cook and travel.
“Winemaking is a constant learning experience with the elements mother nature gives us” says Susan.
Our Assitant Winemaker
Inspired by her family’s winery in Germany, Clare Kessler knew from the age of 12 that she would someday be working in the wine industry. Growing up in El Dorado county wine region, it did not take her long to develop a love for the vineyards and the grapes.
After completing her BS degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, Clare worked for several wineries in the area before bringing her impeccable winemaking skills here to Villa Toscano.
Already having a strong understanding and background in French wines, branching out and creating wines from different regions is her goal. When asked which wine she would like to master, her answer would be “the most perfect Tempranillo”, lucky for us.
Her love for music, playing her piano, appreciating the arts and long walks on the beach brings her to a place that all blends perfectly with her love for wine.