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Assistant Winemaker Stephanie Reynolds: A Rock Ferry Close Up

A Ray of Californian Sunshine


When Stephanie’s father first suggested she should look at doing a degree in Oenology she had no idea what it was. She thought her dad wanted to turn her into some kind of mad scientist!

Growing up in Ojai, California, Stephanie was always an active, outside kid, raising animals, riding horses, and messing around in the dirt. When the time came for her to consider her future Stephanie knew she wanted to do something connected with agriculture and something that would satisfy her creatively. Wine making is often described as ‘part science and part art’ so off she went to study Oenology at California State University in Fresno. Stephanie knew immediately wine making was to be her future.

She returned to Ojai after graduating and had the opportunity to work under one of the top winemakers in California, Adam Tolmach, at the Ojai Vineyard. The boutique style operation of the winery kept her busy during the months July to December for the next five years.

Travelling to the southern hemisphere between USA vintages gave her a taste of winemaking ‘down under.’ She did her first harvest in Victoria, Australia and then hopped across the ditch to New Zealand to gain further experience.

Rock Ferry Wines offered Stephanie a position as Vintage Assistant Winemaker in January 2021. It was important for her to make environmentally ethical wines. Stephanie strongly believes that good wine starts in the vineyard and that we have a duty to farm in a way that gives back to the land. And she believes that organic wines taste better anyway!

The pandemic has kept Stephanie in New Zealand for the past couple of years (great for us) and she has only recently been able to travel back to visit her family. We agreed to let her go on the promise of her return.

Now well settled in Marlborough, Stephanie and her beloved canine companion, Leah, love exploring the countryside, hiking, and camping out. Fishing in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds is another favourite pastime. She enjoys visiting local farmer’s markets so she can get creative in the kitchen too. Stephanie also expresses her creative side as a part of the local Marlborough Community Potters Club.