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Kevin Casey


 

 

 

 

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Kevin Casey


 

 

 

 

Kevin Casey, Winemaker

Kevin Casey was born and raised in Northern California.  Growing up in Marin County, Kevin's family moved 30 minutes north to Santa Rosa during his first year of college.  Summers home were spent traveling back and forth between Sonoma County and the Napa Valley visiting friends and family.  Driving from the Russian River Valley, over the Mayacamas, down through Calistoga, South into the Napa Valley along Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, Kevin developed a deep appreciation for the beauty of these world renowned wine regions and the wines they produced. 

But it wasn't until later, after being introduced to the wine growing regions of the Sierra Foothills and Amador County, that Kevin began to develop a deeper connection to wine.  It wasn't just the wines being produced there that Kevin fell in love with, it was the whole viticultural ethos.  It was commonplace for the same person who grew the grapes and made the wine to be pouring the wine in the tasting room.  For Kevin, this was a wine culture based more on accessibility than exclusivity.  Living in Napa and Sonoma, Kevin always had a connection to the product, but never to the process.  Amador County bridged that gap.  And once he was on the other side, there was no going back. 

In 2012, Kevin moved to Amador County to dedicate himself full-time to winemaking.  This was not a decision that was taken lightly.  With only meager savings and no immediate job prospects, a career move like this was a risky one.  On top of that, Kevin and his fiancée, Laura, were expecting their first child.  So they downsized and moved into a small apartment in an old building located in the heart of downtown Amador City.  

Immediately, Kevin began to string together whatever part time work he could find.  He pruned vineyards, worked on mobile bottling lines, poured wine at local events and educated guests in tasting rooms.  The part-time work was welcome, and Kevin enjoyed every job.  But it still wasn't enough to fill his days.  So one day, he approached well known winemaker, Rusty Folena and offered to work for free during his days off.  Rusty told Kevin to take a seat at an old picnic bench just outside the cellar.  They spoke for a few minutes.  Then, Rusty got up and came back moments later with two thick textbooks, "Wine - Microbiology and Biotechnology" and "Methods For Analysis of Musts and Wines".  He plopped both books down in front of Kevin and said, "That's Winemaking.  If you're still interested, you can come in on Wednesdays".  

But before that first Wednesday rolled around, Kevin received a call from the owner and winemaker at Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Bill Easton.  Bill was looking for some full-time help in the cellar, and thanks to a kind recommendation from Rusty Folena, offered Kevin the position.  It was the opportunity Kevin could only dream of.  Working for a pioneering winemaker like Bill Easton was an experience that he will always appreciate beyond words.  Kevin spent the next 2 years working hands on with varietals like Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, performing laboratory analysis, helping maintain the estate vineyards and assisting in the production of several 90+ point wines from the 2012 and 2013 vintages.

In 2014, Kevin was offered a job with a large privately owned winery in Sonoma California.  The position and the lure of moving back home were too much to pass up.  So with child #2 on the way, Kevin and Laura packed up their home in Amador City and headed west.  Driving through the Napa Valley, along highway 29, over the Mayacamas and back down into the Russian River Valley.

Today, Kevin and Laura live in Sonoma County with their 2 children.  Kevin continues to work full-time for the winery that brought him back home, as he heads into his 3rd harvest there.  Finnella Cellars began in 2013 in Amador County as a personal project that has steadily grown.  Since then, the operations for Finnella Cellars have relocated to Healdsburg, CA where Kevin continues to dedicate himself to handcrafting these limited production wines.