Michael Carr - Winemaker

Michael Carr

Winemaker

If you were to ask our winemaker, Michael Carr, what his secrets are to making such fantastic wine here at Roche, one answer he would provide is “knowing the family’s lands, our unique growing conditions and changing weather patterns…all of these are fundamental.” Michael has gained that experience due to a long history with our winery and working with our vineyards. In fact, he served as our Assistant Winemaker for eight years from 1991 until 1998, before becoming our full-time Winemaker in the Fall of 2002. During his five-year stint away from Carneros, he gained valuable knowledge on how to establish winery operations from the “ground up” while with MacRostie Winery in Sonoma, California. He also perfected his winemaking and vineyard management skills while producing Gold Medal award-winning wines with San Juan Vineyards on San Juan Island in Washington.

No small task, Michael oversees all aspects of winemaking at Roche. From picking to bottling, his influence can be seen in every glass of Roche wine poured. His skills and knowledge allow us to continue to deliver the highest of quality wines.

Michael brings with him a positive, relaxed attitude. When not thrown into the chaos of harvest, he often can be found touring our vineyards or inspecting our production equipment with his trusted canine sidekick, Jacie. During baseball season, you’re always sure to hear the Giants games on full volume inside our barrel room, which is why we think Michael’s wines are always a grand slam for your dinner table.

Michael has won numerous awards and medals while at Roche Winery. 

Michael has a Bachelor’s degree in enology from U.C. Davis and resides in nearby Marin County with his wife, Terra, and children, Jack and Daniella.

 
Steve Bowen, Assistant Winemaker

Rachael Froehlich

Assistant Winemaker

Rachael got her first taste of the wine industry while working and traveling overseas in New Zealand. She started as a Vintage Cellar Hand with Kim Crawford Winery, and was asked to stay on for as long as she could. Having studied Biology at Purdue University, Rachael gained an interest in the scientific aspects of winemaking, and was eager to learn about the various processes and analysis done in the lab. The same winery in New Zealand asked her to return the following vintage and run the lab during the harvest night shift. Between working and exploring New Zealand, she landed a job as the Harvest Enologist at Inglenook Winery in Napa.  She spent her days monitoring the fruit maturation in the vineyards and analyzing the ferments in the lab. Knowing she wanted to continue traveling and working in the industry, she looked to Australia. She spent two months in the Hunter Valley, making heaps of Semillon and watching Kangaroos graze outside her log cabin. After her stint on the mainland, she headed down to Tassie. Eager to learn more about sparkling wine and cooler climate stills, as well as the cider the winery produced. After six months of working, hiking, camping, and enjoying all the natural beauty Tasmania has to offer, she decided to return to Inglenook as their Harvest Enologist, for the second year in a row.

Although she was born and raised (mostly) in the Midwest, she is a Northern Californian at heart. Interested in pursuing her career in the wine industry she joined Roche Winery as Winemaker Michael Carr’s assistant. She can be found topping barrels in the barrel hall or running analysis on the wines in the lab. She completed her WSET level 3 course in December and is excited to learn as much as possible from Michael. When not at work she can be found hiking, camping, or dancing at concerts.

 
Ned Hill - Vineyard Manager

Ned Hill

Vineyard Manager

Having been immersed in Sonoma Valley grape growing since his father planted his fist vineyard in 1979, Ned brings to Roche Winery a lifetime knowledge of Carneros and its world-famous Sonoma Valley terroir. Ned and his wife Erika’s vineyard management company, La Prenda Vineyard Management, oversees the farming of 900 acres of vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Carneros, including Roche Winery’s 50-acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Ned was instrumental in the planting of these vineyards and he works closely with Roche winemaker Michael Carr and Brendan Roche to ensure the quality of this vineyard’s fruit to achieve the same year-after-year consistency of Roche Wines. This comes easy for Ned, as Brendan Roche and Ned grew up together in Sonoma Valley, and Michael has worked with Ned for many years in sourcing fruit beyond the Roche estate. While this team works extremely hard each year to maintain the quality of Roche wines, it is Ned’s great sense of humor out in the vineyards that makes this more “fun” than work for Brendan and Michael.