Raised in Palos Verdes with plenty of horses and surfing, Alison Green Doran was drawn into winemaking in 1973 and to this day drawn to Napa wineries. Her father, oil man and long time Alexander Valley vineyard owner, Russell Green, had bought Simi Winery in 1969, and brought in Andre Tchelistcheff as a consultant soon thereafter. By working as a harvest intern beside Andre for six months at Simi in 1973, Alison found both her life’s work and her mentor. Andre found her a five-month Stagiaire position in Alsace for the crush of 1975, and then an enologist position with start-up Hoffman Mountain Ranch in Paso Robles.

After finishing her Fermentation Science degree at UC Davis, she began working for Firestone Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1976. Starting as lab tech, she worked her way to bottling supervisor, cellar master, and then in 1981, to winemaker. She continued to work with Andre Tchelistcheff at Firestone for another 12 years until Andre’s death in 1994. The Firestones’ generosity and balanced lifestyle made for a special and stable platform for understanding the long-term influences of vineyard management on winemaking. Alison became well acquainted with how to pull maximum potential for wine quality from a vineyard site, as well as singing in the church choir, joining the local “fox” hunt club and playing polo.

Alison married Mark Doran in 1994 and now has two sons: Patrick, age 21, and Matthew, age 25. She left the Firestone Vineyard in 2000 and moved back to the family ranch and vineyard in Alexander Valley. Building her winemaker/consultant business for 20 years, she works with several select clients in Napa Valley who want to approach site-specific winemaking with exuberance and intensity. She is particularly interested in working with Napa Valley vineyards and vineyards in general over the long term, to make the wines as reflective as possible of their origins. She and her brother Clay Green began in 2007 to make a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon as Hoot Owl Creek Vineyards, with grapes from the family ranch.

Alison was first introduced to Doug Hill in 2001 at Lewis Cellars, where she was making wine and he was growing grapes. Doug was immediately drawn to Alison’s style, personality, endless curiosity for knowledge and determination to produce the finest wines possible. She was brought on as Hill Family Estate’s winemaker and the rest is history!

At home in Alexander Valley, Alison enjoys gardening and cooking, taking daily brisk walks and hikes in the hills, listening to opera, and serving on the Alexander Valley School Board. Post pandemic, she will resume travels with her family and singing in the choir, but it always seems that there is not enough time to learn about all the important things Alison is curious about!

Join us in the month of February for a chocolate and wine pairing!

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