Brooks Painter, director of winemaking for V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa, has announced that associate winemakers Laura Orozco at V.Sattui and Peter Velleno at Castello di Amorosa have been promoted to the position of winemaker. Orozco and Velleno will have equal responsibilities for winemaking at each winery.
“Laura and Peter show tremendous leadership in all aspects of our winemaking,” said Painter. “The recent success in competition and with the wine critic community is a testament to their increasing winemaking skill.”
Orozco is the first generation in her family to graduate from college. She grew up in Yountville and graduated in 1998 from UC Santa Cruz with a molecular biology degree. She returned to Napa and began her career as a harvest lab assistant at Franciscan Winery, all while taking winemaking and viticulture classes at Napa Valley College. She was promoted to lab supervisor, and after seven years at Franciscan she was offered a position in the lab at V. Sattui.
“I love working with the many different types of wines we make here,” she said. “I love the dynamics and scope of what we do, from walking the vineyards, running the crushers and presses, pumping tanks over and seeing how the new wines develop. I feel very fortunate to be able wake up every day and come to work to do what I love to do.”
Velleno was born and raised in San Francisco, where he and his two older brothers were the fifth generation of their family to be born in the city. He attended the UC Davis, where he took one class in the university’s renowned food science department, and then quickly changed his major from chemical engineering to fermentation science. After intensive study in winemaking, brewing science, microbiology and food engineering, he earned a bachelor of science degree, the only student in the 2003 UC Davis graduation ceremony to receive a degree in fermentation science.
After graduation, Velleno worked for William Hill Winery in their laboratory. He quickly worked his way up to assistant winemaker specializing in chardonnay production. He then worked for Hartwell Vineyards.
“Dario Sattui has a long history of recognizing and rewarding those employees who work with passion,” Velleno said. “Certainly becoming winemaker was my aspiration for years, so my new role brings a sense of personal achievement.”