Most wine lovers have probably wondered about, and possibly envied, a winemaker’s job. It sounds glamorous but in fact, it takes talent, time, luck and A LOT of heavy lifting to become a winemaker. Also, it almost always involves some not-so-glamorous jobs along the way including : Assistant Winemaker.
Assistant winemakers are the unsung heroes of the wine world and are the invisible force behind a great winemaker and winery. The assistant winemaker often performs several critical functions in a winery including topping barrels, racking, and cleaning. Recognizing the vital role they play, we would be remised if we didn’t also promote their accomplishments here in The Vintner Project.
With that said, I’m so pumped to introduce you to Assistant Winemaker: Krista Scruggs. Krista was born and raised in California and has worked for Constellation Brands and also ventured to Washington, Italy and Texas to work with various growers. But it was her experience working a harvest season in Cahors where Krista found her calling: to be a vigneron rather than a winemaker. After some time back in California, Krista crossed paths with visionary Deirdre Heekin and almost instantly followed her out east to a small biodynamic farm in Vermont: La Gargista. La Gargista is considered by many to be the best winery in the state. They employ wild-growing gently letting nature run its course. The end result is deliciously unique, terroir driven wines. Krista works alongside Deirdre as assistant winemaker but considers the role not just a job but a lifestyle. Learning from Deirdre, she has realized its less about computer analysis and more about trusting her palate and listening to the land. She values having a woman mentor and as a woman, a person of color and queer, she is proud to be diversifying the wine industry.
Krista is currently producing wine under her own label, Zafa Wines, in both Vermont & Texas. To learn more about Krista and Zafa Wines, follow her @kristakscruggs
Cheers to you Krista!