Our Winemaker Daniel Negueruela

Daniel, hailing from the small Village of Lardero in Rioja, Spain, acquired his winemaking skills from his grandfather. Immersed in the art from a young age, he spent countless hours in his grandfather’s basement, observing, learning, and conversing with him.

Their winemaking process involved harvesting grapes from aged Tempranillo vines in their modest family garden. These grapes were then crushed using the traditional method of foot stomping and pressed using an antiquated screw top wooden press. Minimizing waste, they repurposed the grape residue, known as pomace, for his grandfather’s orujo distillation. Annually, they produced enough wine to fill two oak barrels. Once ready, they would serve wine directly from the barrels, hosting joyous feasts for friends and family. To Daniel, wine symbolized love, family, and good food.

Determined to pursue winemaking as a career, at the age of 16 in 2004, Daniel began working part-time at a large local winery in Rioja, which boasted an annual production of approximately 500,000 cases of wine. Starting on the bottling line, his enthusiasm and hard work caught the owner’s attention, leading to a swift promotion to the winery lab. It was in the lab that Daniel honed the skills inherited from his grandfather, refining the art and science of winemaking. While his peers enjoyed sports and socializing, Daniel dedicated himself tirelessly to his passion. Eventually, he fell in love and married his childhood sweetheart.

Simultaneously, Daniel pursued winemaking education at a secondary school while maintaining his position at the winery. His dedication paid off, as he was invited to join the esteemed Denominacion de Origen Calificada Rioja at the age of 25. Becoming a member of this exclusive group of winetasters meant participating in the selection process for wines entering the Rioja DOCa, equivalent to the AVA in the United States. Notably, Daniel remains the youngest member ever inducted into the board. In 2020, his wife received an opportunity to complete her doctorate in California’s wine country. Despite the prospect of leaving their beloved hometown, friends, and family, they embraced the chance and relocated to the United States, specifically to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Upon arrival, Daniel wasted no time and began searching for a job at a winery. Serendipitously, he crossed paths with the winemaker at Byington Winery, a family-owned vineyard situated 2,000 feet above sea level in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Impressed by his skills, they immediately hired him to assist in the wine cellar, where he quickly rose to the position of cellar lead within a year. In the autumn of 2022, when the current winemaker departed, Daniel stepped up to fill the role of head winemaker.

We are delighted to announce that Daniel has officially assumed the title of Head Winemaker at Byington Winery! His expertise in both traditional old-world winemaking and large-scale production will enrich Byington Winery’s offerings.

“I remain humble and grateful to those who came before me and those I currently rely on in our vineyard, cellar, and lab. It is from these talented individuals that I continue to refine my craft.” – Daniel Negeuruela

What does this mean for Byington Winery, our members, and clients? It signifies that exceptional wines and vintages are on the horizon. With his upbringing centered around Rioja varietals such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Mazuelo, Daniel eagerly anticipates mastering red wines, particularly the delicate Pinot Noirs that the Santa Cruz Mountains are renowned for.