2016 WineMaker of the Year Nominee's

Please review each nominee's biography and comments from their nominators. Each LWA member winery can place their vote for the 2016 WineMaker of the Year award to be presented at the Loudoun Wine Awards this year on Friday, October 14th. Voting can be completed at the bottom of this page.

Carl DiManno, President & Winemaker at 868 Vineayrds

Carl Dimanno, President & Winemaker at 868 Vineyards

Biography: Longing to one day own a vineyard, Carl began his journey into winemaking by pursuing a degree in Enology at University of California Davis. Discovering that vineyards are, in fact, expensive, Carl honed his skills by consulting for various labels in California and on the East Coast, until the promise of a burgeoning wine industry with tremendous potential lured him back to the eastern United States, where he ultimately planted his own roots in Loudoun County, Virginia. 

Nominator's Comments: Carl was nominated for his winemaking but also for being an ambassador to the region and an exemplary member of his community. 

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Doug Fabbioli, Co-Founder & Winemaker at Fabbioli cellars

Biography: Doug started his winemaking journey in the wine cellar at Buena Vista Winery in the Carneros district. Over the ten years of his employment, Doug had a chance to work with many fine winemakers including the legendary Andre Tchelicheff. He continued his education in both enology and viticulture at U.C. Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. Doug accepted the winemaker position at Tarara WInery in 1997 and in 2001, he became the Vintner for Windham. Not long after, Doug’s passion for wine brought him to his latest endeavor of owning his own winery and operating Fabbioli Cellars.

Nominator's Comments: Doug has been intensely dedicated for many years to furthering the Loudoun wine industry through his leadership, education, and his vibrant approach to winemaking. Stylistically, Doug combines the perfect mix of old-world finesse and new-world exuberance. He believes that excellent wines start with excellent terroir, transforming fantastic fruit into fantastic wines, and Loudoun County is the perfect region to produce exceptional single varieties and blends that deserve recognition.  Doug combines his mastery of multiple grape varieties, his keen instinct and extensive winemaking experience and a love of blending to make award winning wines acclaimed for their stature and sophistication. His wines capture the essence of the terroir - wines that are inherently ripe, robust and compelling, but that are also impeccably balanced, with depth, complexity and acidity.  Doug’s talent in honing in on and faithfully expressing the signature qualities of great vineyards will continue to help the Northern Virginia wine industry gain the recognition it deserves.

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Clyde Housel, Owner & Winemaker at Hiddencroft Vineyards

Biographyhis charming winery was founded in May 2008 by husband and wife Clyde and Terry Housel.  The couple, who came from long careers with the Federal Government, began planting their vineyard in 2001 and were grape-growers first.  The Housel’s decided from the beginning that they would focus on producing grapes, and then wines, of superior quality.  Clyde, who is the winemaker and largely self-taught, is doing just that.  

Nominator's Comments: One of the few vineyards I have been to that has more than just one or two wines you like. The quality and personal touch that goes Into it is undeniable. 

Sebastien marquet, owner & winemaker at Burgundy style consulting

Biography: Sébastien's background includes 27 years of vintages from across the world, and studies in œnology and viticulture in his native Burgundy. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the world renown Lycée Viti-œnologie de Beaune and a CFPPA business certificate in wine sales from the Lycée Viti-oenologie Macon Davaye. A long career as winemaker in various wine regions worldwide has given Marquet the opportunity to produce award-winning wines from each of these localities. In addition, through this extensive experience, Marquet has developed the skills required to produce quality wines in distinct climates, and terroirs, such as wines produced in Burgundy, Languedoc-Roussillon, Martinique, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Virginia. Sébastien currently consults for multiple wineries within Loudoun County.

Nominator's Comments: Sébastien has a true inner sense of what should and must be a part of creating great wine with integrity and flare. His wines are not only complex and delicious; they are passionate. He puts so much of himself and his impressive philosophy into each wine he makes that it sets a standard that compares with few. Sébastien is gracious and quick to share his knowledge in an enthusiastic and passionate way. He expresses all that is exciting about Virginia wines. He brings out the best of each grape varietal knowing instinctively what to do with it. I believe this comes from his connection to the grape and terroir for the region.  Sebastien is one of the first winemakers in Virginia to gain recognition for the Virginia Wine Industry, and help put Virginia on the map. He loves farming, harvesting and producing wine. He can often be seen interacting with guests and providing educational classes to help educate new and current wine enthusiasts. His wines are fantastic and he truly believes in Virginia becoming a wine destination. Sébastien is a "terroir" purest whom consistently produces award winning wines, year after year, is active in viticulture, winemaking, and marketing of the Virginia brand!

Nate walsh, WINEMAKER AT sunset hills vineyards

Biography: Nate oversees all winegrowing and wine production at Sunset Hills. He has worked for vineyards and wineries in Central Virginia, the Willamette Valley, Oregon, Central Otago, New Zealand, and now Loudoun County, Virginia. At Sunset Hills he handcrafts a variety of wines made in different styles and has quickly established a reputation for quality and excellence, winning major awards in local, national and international wine competitions.

Nominator's Comments: Nate makes high quality wine here in Loudoun County and his wines have earned multiple gold medals at the Virginia Governors Cup. He readily shares information and expertise graciously with peers in the Virginia wine industry. He is also extremely passionate about education and working with other winemakers to further improve wines across Loudoun County. He has coordinated winemaker's round tables which have directly improved wine quality across the state. Nate has been instrumental in helping build the Loudoun wine scene over the past seven years. Making wine and managing over 75 acres of vineyard for Sunset Hills has been challenging and Nate has done it while winning awards for his outstanding wine year after year. Everything Nate does from winemaking to working with Virginia Tech and helping other vineyards is dedicated to making Loudoun wine the best it can be.

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