Our Winemaker

Nathan Vader

Born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Nathan was raised in a ranching family, learning the ways of agriculture.

Nathan's first inspiration in the wine industry came when his parents moved to Northern California, often passing through Calistoga.  As they passed outside the moving car, he was fascinated with the beauty of the vines.  A full life circle in just a summer growing cycle, the vines start from dormant stumps...then life appears.  Florescent green shoots grow quickly to lush canopies, tiny orbs change to plump clusters, green canopies become auburn fall colors.  At last, the ripened grapes are ready to morph into the sacred nectar we know as “wine.”

Very seldomly do people get to experience a life that is so balanced with nature.  There is an energy that flows through everything.  It takes a person who is truly in touch with nature to actually feel and hear that energy.  Nathan doesn’t consider himself a creator, but a caretaker and good listener. 

Grapes are a living entity, they evolve into living wines.  They are very vocal and all have different personalities.  Nathan feels that the more his hands are on the grapes, the closer the bond becomes.  So much of this intimate relationship, and of the quality of the wines, is lost with the use of big machine dumpers and tank pump-overs.  Nathan pitch forks every cluster onto a sorting table where he can observe each grape that enters the winery. 

The fermentation phase represents the most important bonding experience.  Fermentation takes place in open top bins.  Three times each day Nathan punches the skins back into their juices, and fills the room with the blues-y sounds of his harmonica.  The grapes are more expressive at this stage than at any other point in their life.  This is when Nathan forms his deep connection with each varietal. In Nathan’s own words, “I listen when the wines need special attention and care.”

After fermentation, Nathan presses Vina Moda’s wines into fine oak barrels, where they rest comfortably, under his close supervision.  They calmly age from simple adolescents into complex, mature adults, destined to be enjoyed by all who know them.  Nathan stands beside every bin, barrel and bottle until each reaches its final resting place.