Rock Star WINEMAKERS WINEMAKER
Shannon Gustafson Making Rangeland Wines in the vineyard
Photo by Juice Media
Rangeland winemaker Shannon Gustafson takes in the aroma of a wine at Meritage in Paso Robles.
Heather Young VINO
hannon Gustafson, the winemaker for Rangeland Wines, knew she wanted to be an enologist — a winemaker — since she was 13 years old when she attended a women’s conference in Fresno. She doesn’t come from a family of winemakers, or even a family of wine drinkers, but after that conference at 13, she stayed with a family in France for three weeks when she was 16. At 17 she headed Page 10 | May 2011
off to California State University, Fresno and majored in food science and nutrition with an emphasis in winery production with minors in chemistry and French. She graduated in 2003 and started making wine. She spent time working at a winery in the Bordeaux region of France in 2001 and the Burgundy region in 2007. She has also worked in the wine industry in South Africa and Australia. She met Laird and Lisa Foshay, Rangeland owners, when she worked at Zoller Wine Styling making custom wine for customers.
“I really wanted to learn more about the vineyard,” Gustafson said and added that Laird was looking for a winemaker. She went fulltime with Rangeland in 2009. “One of the things I’ve learned is you make wine out in the vineyard,” Gustafson said. “We want to get the purest wine from the vineyard. We’re looking to make the purist expression of our vineyard.” Gustafson spends every day of harvest out in the vineyard for better quality control. “It’s fun. I like it,” Gustafson said. “I