This Master of Wine knows it's New York's time to shine
- Nova’s a bicoastal Director of Winemaking, the first female winemaker in the US to become a Master of Wine, the proud owner of a small wine operation... and Naked's FIRST winemaker out of New York!
- Her specialty? The Finger Lakes – where the air is brisk, the views are surreal, and hillside vines make expressive wines like Riesling really sparkle.
- It's her big dream to plant her own vineyard estate on the shore of Seneca Lake one day to help grow this amazing region. Big dreams happen around here, and you're the reason why.
Angels, you asked for New York wines, so we did our homework, and we’re proud to say we found you the perfect winemaker: Nova Cadamatre. She’s a woman of many firsts -- one of the first to graduate from Cornell’s viticulture program in 2006 and the first female winemaker to earn the title Master of Wine in 2017, to name a few--so it only felt right that we help her by tacking “First New York Naked Wines Winemaker” onto that list.
Her story started when she got bit by the wine bug and enrolled in Cornell’s nascent Enology and Viticulture department; developed as she had an impressive sixteen year career in Washington, New York, and California; and landed her with roots firmly planted on either side of the country, functioning as Senior Director of Winemaking in Napa, CA, and running her own winery with her husband, Brian, in the Finger Lakes Region (that’s FLX for anyone cool or busy) of New York.
Nova’s winemaking career started when she worked with Shawn Kime of Thirsty Owl Wine Company during her time at Cornell. That’s foreshadowing at its finest! Thirsty Owl Wine Company makes wines from some of the oldest vines in the Finger Lakes Region, with a large array of aromatic whites and cooler climate reds. The region gave her the skills she needed to travel to other regions and succeed at whatever was thrown her way, but it kept her heart.
“The Finger Lakes are an up and coming region which not everyone has heard of yet or if they have, they assume it's either sweet or all made from hybrids. The Rieslings from this area are really special.”
After graduating, she honed her winemaking skills while working with established and talented winemakers such as Margo Van Staavern at Château St. Jean, Laurie Hook at Beringer Winery, and Scott McLeod, consulting winemaker and former winemaker for the iconic Inglenook. At the same time, she was studying to become a Master of Wine, an incredibly difficult certificate that few people choose to take on. In 2014, Wine Spectator took notice of her impressive pedigree and dedication to the art and named her as one of the Top 40 Under 40. She found that hoarding all of this knowledge wasn’t as fun as sharing it, so she began guest lecturing and writing on her blog, the Personalities of Wine, to spread her wealth of information and experience, inspiring the current and future generations of winemakers and wine drinkers.
As she garnered more of a reputation in the wine industry, she was given the opportunity to return to the Finger Lakes Region, this time as a Director of Winemaking (as if the Luxury Winemaker title she previously held needed to be topped). She jumped at the chance to bring her wine experience full-circle. While in the FLX region, she and her husband began their own winery: Trestle Thirty One, which specializes in producing award-winning Riesling.
“I love dry Rieslings. Maybe it is because they are so misunderstood by so many people but I really believe that of the noble white varieties Riesling really translates terrior the best. It can be made in so many styles but I think this contributes to the confusion of what it can be. It's very similar to Pinot Noir in that way.”
With all of this success, why join Naked Wines?
When prompted, she said “I thought this was a great opportunity to spread the word about the Finger Lakes and our beautiful wines there.” We couldn’t agree more. The way the wine industry currently operates, bringing wine from a small-production winery in a lesser-known region to a large consumer base is an uphill battle. Nova wants to be a voice for the Finger Lakes Region of New York, and New York wines in general.
What’s next for Nova?
With what sounds like another impossible promotion, Nova was offered the title of Senior Director of Winemaking for Constellation Brands in 2018, which meant that she had to move back to Napa for work. She currently splits her time between the coasts, but dreams of living in the Finger Lakes full-time and dedicating herself to producing the best cool-climate Riesling she can make. Since she currently spends more time on the west coast, her 12 acre ranch remains unplanted, but with Angel funding she hopes to fill it with Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot noir so she can produce single vineyard wines from vineyards she meticulously cares for and really show Angels what New York can do.
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