Craig McAllister

Head Winemaker

Craig McAllister

From the rush and intensity of harvest, to bottling the wines and taking them to market, he continually strives to improve quality.

A New-Zealand native, Craig McAllister spent his first 20 years in Christchurch, New Zealand, then lived in London for six years. He has travelled extensively throughout the world. He found himself drawn not just to the wine industry, but to the wine lifestyle due to his love of cooking, traveling and being outdoors. This led him to Lincoln University in New Zealand, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in viticulture and enology.

Craig’s deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Craig first joined the La Crema team in 2007 as the Harvest Enologist. After gaining additional experience abroad, he joined the La Crema team full-time in 2009. He has been a steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and worked extensively on the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. He also helped to further develop La Crema’s esteemed collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. He was promoted to head winemaker in 2017.

For Craig, there is never a dull moment in winemaking. From the rush and intensity of harvest, to bottling the wines and taking them to market, he continually strives to improve quality.

Craig believes that the best wines are those shared with family and friends over a delicious meal. He resides in Healdsburg with his family.

Jen Walsh

Winemaker

Jen Walsh

Her passion has always led her to wineries that focus on expressive, cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Jen Walsh grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and worked in restaurants during her time in high school, as well as while she attended college at the University of Pittsburg. As she began sampling incredible wines while working in restaurants, she developed a strong interest for wine and started learning more about it in her spare time. Before moving west to receive her Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California Davis, she worked at Elk Run, a small estate winery in Maryland. Elk Run was a true family operation where she had the opportunity to work in the vineyard in the morning and in the winery in the afternoon. While there, Jen learned how much hard work and dedication it takes to bring grapes from vine to bottle.

Before joining the La Crema team in 2017, Jen was the Associate Winemaker at Benovia Winery in the Russian River Valley, where she worked with myriad heritage Pinot Noir clones from different terroirs to craft distinctive single vineyard wines. Prior to that, she worked for several other wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma. Her passion has always led her to wineries that focus on expressive, cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Jen’s favorite aspect of her job is harvest, when winemakers have a chance to leave their personal artistic expression on the wine. Her most transformative experience was working at Domaine Marquis d’Angerville in Volnay, Burgundy, where she was awarded a Tastevin scholarship. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, it will always fuel her winemaking soul.

Tracey Shepos Cenami

Chef and Cheese Specialist

Tracey Shepos Cenami

She loved the prospect of living in wine country and having the opportunity to create food to pair with specific wines.

Tracey Shepos Cenami grew up in a family that was always cooking. Her Italian Nana and mother put considerable thought into everyday meals, treating each as a special occasion. She held her first job as a dishwasher at a summer camp and was immediately hooked on the camaraderie, artistic expression, and satisfaction of the kitchen. She knew she had found her calling. Throughout high school, she continued to pursue jobs in the culinary industry before attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

After years in the culinary world, Tracey was drawn to the wine industry, which she found to be a natural transition. She loved the prospect of living in wine country and having the opportunity to create food to pair with specific wines. Before joining the La Crema team, she worked for eight years as the executive chef for Stark Reality restaurants, a Sonoma County restaurant group. During her tenure there, she helped to open five different restaurants and create a catering department. She also worked under Chef Michael Romano at Union Square Café for two years.

Tracey played a pivotal role in developing the culinary program at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, including introducing a VIP wine and cheese pairing experience – a lesson in the fundamentals of wine and cheese pairing which expertly pairs local artisan cheeses with La Crema wines. Her recipes have been published in magazines and newspapers, and she is a three-time winner of Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games.

When Tracey is not creating perfect pairings, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and son barbecuing in the backyard or eating oysters on the Sonoma Coast. Her personal favorite pairing is La Crema Pinot Noir with bacon, almonds and Valley Ford Estero Gold cheese.