For more than 30 years, Celia Welch has been working as a winemaker. When she was growing up in Southern Oregon, Celia first got her hands on wine grapes while playing under a massive oak tree in the backyard where she and her siblings picked grapes with their dad, who was a serious wine collector and experimental at home winemaker. In the early 1960s, Celia and her family took trips through Napa and Sonoma where she was struck with the intoxicating beauty of the vast hillside and valley vines that covered California’s Wine Country.
In 1982, she earned a B.S. in Fermentation Science from UC Davis which is where she discovered that a career in professional winemaking was a perfect way to combine her interests of flavors and aromas, science, and true love of the land. At UC Davis, Professor Ann Noble, who is credited with being the creator of the Wine Aroma Wheel, would mentor Celia and help her forge the basis of her career. After earning her degree, Celia visited the many wine-growing regions specifically making her way through Northern California, Oregon and Washington and then a stretch of the East Coast, and finally heading down to the Southern Hemisphere in New Zealand to round out her experiences. While Celia was away, she also worked wine-grape harvest in Australia’s Barossa Valley before deciding to pack it up and return to Napa Valley where she would settle in to fine-tune her craft.
Celia spent many years in an assisting role of wine production in the Mt. Veeder area as well as logging winery hours in the slopes and valleys of Carneros. Her career would begin to take shape in 1987 when she was at Silverado Vineyards where she was hired to elevate and supervise a high-quality wine-making program which she would create and design with her vision in mind. A few years later, in 1991, Celia went on to become the assistant winemaker for Robert Pepi winery and she started consulting for prestigious Cab producer Staglin Family Vineyard the year after.
Celia’s consulting gigs during those years of the early 1990s would prove to be some of the most defining of her career path in the early 1990s, so much so that she decided to pursue the independent consulting path as her main focus. Celia resultantly left Robert Pepi in 1995 and set out on her quest as a consulting and independent winemaker which has been doing ever since. Over the decades, Celia’s resume would include making stellar wines highlighting the microclimates and hidden pockets of the Napa Valley’s best vineyards specifically located on Mt. Veeder, Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Carneros, St. Helena, and Napa. Celia’s work can be shown most notably in the wineries of Keever, Barbour, Signorello, Hess, J. Davies, and the cultishly followed and highly sought after Scarecrow.
In 2004, Celia took on the challenge of founding her own brand Corra which is in reference to the Celtic deity who represents prophecy in the form of a Crane taking flight and symbolizes her forward-looking perspective. Corra Wines is a realized last step of the cycle of winemaking for Celia who believes that it has offered her the opportunity to come full circle and complete her story.
Over the years, Celia has earned many honors as Food & Wine’s Winemaker of the Year 2008 and a spot on Forbes’s Top Ten Tastemakers of 2006, along with the Women for Winesense Rising Star Award and an induction into its Winemaker’s Hall of Fame.
Today, Celia continues to live in Napa and consults for REWA Vineyards located on a hillside property in the gorgeous Coombsville region. Make sure to check out REWA Vineyards wines they are absolutely stellar and available at AWB!