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Sugarloaf Crush Welcomes New Director of Winemaking & Operations

Jeff Restel has joined the Sugarloaf Crush’s Winemaking team as the new Director of Winemaking & Operations. Prior Director of Winemaking Operations, Mike Lucia, will be assisting us over the next couple of months as Jeff transitioning into his new role. Beyond that, Mike will be focusing on his brand Rootdown Wines and his new winemaking consultation business, but Sugarloaf Crush will still be seeing a lot of Mike, as his brand Rootdown Wines will be staying on as Client at Sugarloaf.

After moving to Tahoe in the mid 1990’s to pursue his dream of Olympic Freestyle Skiing, Jeff inevitably landed in the perfect “work nights and play days” industry of restaurants. This is where wine was first introduced to the future winemaker. Fast-forward through a non-Olympic ski but exciting career, thirteen years in restaurants, a narrow escape from opening a brick-and-mortar wine shop in New York, and, Jeff found himself as a “mature” student in the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program. 

During school and following graduation, Jeff worked internships at Schramsberg and Merry Edwards before taking over as cellar master for white wine at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, CA. With one Napa harvest under his belt, Jeff accepted a position at Dutton-Goldfield Winery making his true varietal passion; Pinot Noir. Five harvests later, Jeff left Dutton-Goldfield Winery as the Associate Winemaker to join our team.  

Ancillary to the normal work responsibilities as Associate Winemaker, Jeff has dabbled in the consulting world, offering up wisdom and knowledge to bright-eyed winery startups. In a similar vein, he has handed out constructive criticism in the form of medals as a wine judge to those brave enough to be scrutinized. 

Outside of work, Jeff fills all his remaining time with his wife, raising their two-year-old daughter and exposing her to all of their passions: including surfing, biking, skiing and “leisuring.” 

Jeff was formerly stationed at a high-end custom crush facility in West Sonoma County where he crafted all the wines for Dutton-Goldfield. Thus, he is intimately aware of the exemplary level of service that is required to craft high-caliber wines in a custom crush winery.

We are excited to have Jeff join our operational cadre.


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