Although he toyed with the idea of becoming a pilot or firefighter, Nate Weis’ decision to pursue winemaking seemed almost inevitable. A Napa Valley native whose father is also a Winemaker, Nate grew up with wine on the table and a drawer full of t-shirts emblazoned with winery logos. His first job after graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Biopsychology/Neuroscience was as a “cellar rat.” Nate remembers, “My dad suggested I make sure I actually liked winemaking before heading down that career path. I loved that first harvest, so I packed my bags, dropped my application for UC Davis grad school in the mail and went off to Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.”
Nate spent the 2003 harvest at two New Zealand wineries, and when he returned home he worked one harvest before starting grad school. After earning his MS in Viticulture and Enology, he was hired as a Cellar Master, and then spent two years as an Assistant Winemaker. In 2008, Nate was hired by Marchese Piero Antinori to be Winemaker for Antica Napa Valley, where he made Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. He also served as Winemaker for Aril Wines in Napa, a small ultra-premium producer of Cabernet and Syrah.
Nate joins us as only the third Winemaker in our 43-year history. He will work together with Daniel Baron, Director of Winemaking, until Daniel retires, a tradition that began when Daniel worked with Justin Meyer in his transition. When asked what he likes about winemaking, Nate couldn’t give just one like. “I love the uniform – jeans and boots. I love the physical nature of the work, coming home covered in muck and tired out from working hard. I love the setting and getting to play with heavy equipment; one of my best memories is a harvest spent on a tractor spreading grape pomace in the vineyard and watching the sunset. And I’ve grown to love plant biology too – figuring out how to get the vine to do what we want it to do. It’s like unraveling a mystery. And of course I love the end product. I often see people when they’re happiest – at a great meal with a glass of Silver Oak in their hand.”
Nate is responsible for managing our Napa Valley and Alexander Valley wine production from grape to bottle and also serving as an ambassador for the brand. He is honored to work with Daniel, whom he admires as an intelligent, articulate and excellent leader with an active mind and wise persona.
“Daniel has been a great steward of Silver Oak, much like Justin Meyer before him. I hope to continue this tradition, while also putting my stamp on the winery,” reflects Nate. “At Silver Oak we all think that wine tends to reflect the people and personalities behind it, even in the smallest of ways. I’m excited to find out what part of me the wines of Silver Oak will ultimately reflect while also maintaining the rigorously high quality standards established here over the last 43 years.”
Nate earned his Executive MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University in 2013. He is married, and with four children, the little free time he has is spent playing rugby, running and reading.