Ser is an artisanal winery based out of Santa Cruz, CA, specializing in varietal, vineyard designate, old world style wines, produced in a natural way to allow the expression of their varietal character and the vineyards from which they are sourced.
Nicole was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1975 and graduated with honors from Michigan State University in 1998. She studied Viticulture and Enology when the undergraduate department there was comprised of two students. This provided an extraordinary opportunity to be guided by graduate professors to receive an education in Horticulture with an incredible focus on growing grapes and making wine. During her last semester at MSU, she attended a sustainable agriculture University, EARTH, in Costa Rica. It was there Nicole was able to become proficient in the Spanish language as well as to solidify her commitment to sustainable agriculture.
Upon graduation, Nicole worked for 4 years in the Michigan wine industry on the Leelanau peninsula. where she managed vineyards and made wine. In 2001, she married the love of her life, Kevin Walsh, and together they moved to Santa Cruz, CA. In February of 2001 she started working with Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon Vineyard.
For the past 19 years, Nicole has held every position in wine production including associate winemaker, vineyard manager, and grower relations manager. There was a brief interruption in her tenure at Bonny Doon in 2008 when she moved with her husband and young son to Marlborough, New Zealand. After a year there, she was brought back to Santa Cruz to develop Bonny Doon’s newest property in San Juan Bautista. She continues to manage that property as well as make wine at Bonny Doon's Santa Cruz winery. In 2013, Nicole received her level 4 diploma from WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust), universally considered the stepping stone to the Master of Wine qualification.
In 2012, Nicole was inspired from her New Zealand experience, especially with Pinot Noir, to start her own wine brand, Ser. She began working with local Santa Cruz Mountain growers to purchase fruit from distinct microclimates in the appellation to gain the valuable knowledge of the area. With her grower contacts in California, she was able to start experimenting with several varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Syrah, Mourvedre, and a more unknown variety, Cabernet Pfeffer. Selecting interesting vineyards with special soils and microclimates, she is committed to preserving the unique character of varieties and sources in her wine.
Nicole lives at the ocean’s edge with her husband and two sons.
(spanish) expressing identity or origin; having the intrinsic quality of
"I was inspired for the name after reading an article by Andrew Jefford, 'Wine and Astonishment'. It was in that writing that the notion of the 'Being' of wine truly resonated with me. Being is different than existing. It is true, wine exists; you can touch it, smell it, drink it. To quote Jefford, "Being, by contrast, is the 'isness' inside"; in other words, the natural essence of the grapes unique to each specific growing area. I am dedicated to preserving the isness of wine, to allow its true varietal expression and the place and time of its origins.
Jefford also talks of that first moment of insight, that moment when some people decide to devote their professional life to wine. He says,"it gives the lucky few who choose to 'grow wine' the chance to use craft to embody, reflect, and echo nature itself." I am privileged to be one of those "lucky few".
- Nicole Walsh, Owner & Winemaker, Ser Winery
Nicole's label*, inspired by an ocean wave and her love of surfing, reflects the unifying thread between the differences of place from which she sources.
* designed by Jenny Angelacos http://www.jennyadesign.com/