People of Napa Valley: Meet Andy Erickson

Andy Erickson, the winemaker, is one of the most important names to know in Napa Valley. Erickson is a winemaker and wine consultor for the Arietta, Seven Apart, Dalla Valle, and many other vineyards. With 23 harvests under his belt, he has worked on some of the most important projects in the Napa Valley including the highly coveted Screaming Eagle label. 

He got his big break with his first harvest at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. From there, he became an enology student at the University of California, Davis. Ten years from there saw him working at three extremely prestigious Napa Valley wine estates.

Inspiration for His Craft

When some claim that Erickson makes magic with his wine, it’s a fact. There’s something about how he uses all of his talents to produce only the finest harvests that is exciting and inspiring.

Considering the first wine that inspired him was the Dalla Valle’s 1991 “Maya” wine, it’s unsurprising that he’s such a phenomenal winemaker. To Erickson, the Maya wine was eye-opening, and it changed how he looked at the industry as a whole. To this day, he’s not sure what it was about that wine that touched him so, but it made “Maya” stand out to him more than other wines in the Napa region. 

He claims that “Maya” put him on the path to finding a great Cabernet Franc.

His Teachers

All great masters started somewhere, and Erickson is no different. He labels three mentors as the teachers of his craft, all of whom are famous in winemaking as well. He credits John Kongsgaard, David Abreu, and Michel Rolland with helping him learn how to balance precision and balance, fine-tune his palate, and refuse to use non-interventionist methods to grow the best harvests.

The Life of a Winemaker

When it comes to winemaking, every element of the harvest can impact how the wine comes out. As such, Erickson performs specific tasks during his average day to give each harvest its best chance of being a winner. However, there are different tasks performed at different times of the year, and he also has different methods for the properties he owns. If it’s growing season, he might meet with his team in the morning to figure out the blends for distillation and bottling, and their afternoons might be filled with taste-testing. He says that in winter, however, he spends his time in nature and enjoys skiing in Tahoe.

Experiencing His Magic

When it comes to his wine, Erickson has to taste it as part of his craft. He claims that they drink their own wine often, and because wine is meant to be shared (when presented correctly), he has a lot of experience with wine tasting. Luckily, he says he’s able to switch between being a wine critic and being a wine enjoyer without issue.

His story is a classic case of being able to separate business and pleasure.


Andy Erickson is a premier winemaker in the Napa Valley area, and as a master, it’s good to know how he got to where he is. Knowing where to start is a great way to proceed, especially if you’re interested in wine. Now that you know about Andy Erickson winemaker, you can learn about ELLMAN wine - we work with Andy Erickson directly to give our wines and our estate the opportunity to grow into the family endeavor we dream of. ELLMAN wine is all about family values and elegant wines - you can try some for yourself at one of our Downtown Napa tasting rooms or Napa tasting rooms. As one of the top wineries in Napa and one of the most beautiful wineries in Napa, we offer it all. Check out our website to learn more about us here, or check out our current selection of wine that is available on this page

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