Team - Steve Fennell

Team - Steve Fennell

Steve Fennell 

Winemaker and General Manager 

Steve Fennell joined Sanford in February 2006 in a return to his wine roots. As an undergraduate at the University of California Santa Barbara, Steve pedaled his bicycle through the area's vineyards.

After studying enology at the University of California Davis, he began his career as an assistant winemaker at Trefethen Vineyards. From 1999 to 2006, Steve was at Voss Vineyards as head winemaker and vineyard manager. Steve also worked two vintages with Yalumba in the Barossa Valley.

Steve’s integrated approach in the both the vineyards and the winery has led to the identification of variations in soil, aspect, and clonal type within Sanford’s estate vineyards. Small lot vinification has helped to highlight the subtle differences in microclimate and clonal selection throughout the estate. This gave birth to the block designated wines that truly capture the unique terroir of the estate.

Team - Laura Roach

Team - Laura Roach

Laura Roach

Assistant Winemaker

Laura’s winemaking career began at Schramsberg Vineyards of Napa Valley, CA in 2008 as a Laboratory Intern. Two years later, she gained her Bachelors of Science in Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis and was awarded the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Scholarship to work abroad in Burgundy, France in 2010. In the following years, Laura continued to work harvest internships abroad and at home. Through this exposure, Laura gained an appreciation for “terroir” and a passion for producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

This passion led Laura to Sanford Winery in 2012, where she started as the Enologist and was promoted to Assistant Winemaker in April, 2015.

Team - Auggie Rodriguez

Team - Auggie Rodriguez

Auggie Rodriguez

Cellar Master

Cellar Master Auggie Rodriguez has been a part of Sanford Winery from the very beginning. Auggie’s father was one of Sanford Winery's first employees hired to help plant the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in 1971. He worked on the estate for the next 20 years, retiring in 1991.

Auggie started working for Sanford in 1986 at the age of 16. Still in high school, he worked summers and weekends at the winery. Auggie attended the Culinary & Hotel School at Santa Barbara City College, while continuing to be part of the production team and managing the cellar for Sanford.

Since graduating from SBCC, he has continued to work in the cellar at Sanford in addition to working independently as a chef. After 30 years of working with Sanford, he still brings an incredible passion and energy for making wine from the vineyards that he grew up on.     

Team - Erik Mallea

Team - Erik Mallea

Erik Mallea  

Vineyard Manager

Erik comes from a farming family, originally from northwestern Minnesota. He majored in Biology and Geology at Oberlin College before heading west to start working in vineyards and wineries. Erik worked for producers in Oregon, New Zealand, and California's Central Valley before coming to Santa Barbara County.

Erik started working with the Sanford estate vineyards in 2009 while also working towards his M.S. in Viticulture and Enology from Fresno State. He lives in Gaviota with his wife on her family's historic farm.