As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Matt studied Language Arts while also playing football for the Washington Huskies. Then living and studying in Spain (Cádiz) for almost 2 years he managed to travel throughout Europe and Africa. He did cellar work for a sherry producer in Xerez. He learned of biodynamic farming during an ardent, all night discussion with a relative in Switzerland. In Burgundy, the history, land, and wine of Le Montrachet opened suddenly for Matt during a tasting at Domaine Leflaive, where it was explained "one can't have terroir without women and men of terroir."
Upon returning to the vines of his birthplace in the Russian River Valley, Matt worked as Assistant Winemaker to Rod Berglund of Joseph Swan Vineyards – and applied to graduate school.
In 2004 Matt graduated with a degree in Viticulture & Enology from Fresno State, with emphasis in enology and a minor in chemistry. During that time, Matt became frustrated with the bias for chemical remediation of vineyard and winery issues – with fervent conviction that soil health alone could best ensure vineyard productivity.
Determined to develop the broadest possible perspective on the wine industry, Matt took a job in wine sales while attending graduate school, teaching about the wines he represented, and saving his pay for travel throughout Burgundy, the Rhône Valley, Alsace, and Champagne after a harvest internship with Domaine Dujac.
When he returned, Matt reached out to Biodynamic producers Bart & Daphne Araujo. Hired initially as Vineyard Manager for their Eisele Vineyard, Matt assumed the mantle of Winemaker in 2007. His broad experiences with Araujo Estate Wines included a harvest internship in Argentina (Clos de los Siete) and a consulting winemaking position in New Zealand (Blake Family Vineyard).
In 2010 Matt left Araujo to consult on 2 amazing projects;
REULING VINEYARD was launched with the inaugural 2011 vintage, however Tim & Jackie Reuling’s fruit had been the source for some of the most sought after and highly critiqued Chardonnay & Pinot Noirs in California. Now the wines are being crafted by Matt and the first release of 2011 Pinot Noir is one of the best Pinot Noirs he feel he has ever made or been a part of.
FRONT PORCH FARM began in 2010 after ripping out 55 acres of grapevines to make room for raising and farming organic and biodynamic vegetables, fruit trees, olives, livestock, bees, grains, hay crops, vineyards (left on the hillsides), berries and so much more. The diversity is endless and the vision of owners Peter & Mimi Buckley to keep diversity the focus is beyond admirable to say the least.
Matt resides in Windsor with his wife Mikaela, their daughters Marley & Naia and son Devon.
Photo credit: SFGate.com