Firstleaf Appoints Dr. Marinda Kruger as Director of Winemaking

NAPA VALLEY, Calif., September 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — first sheetAmerica’s Most Personalized Winery, today announced the appointment of Dr. Marine Kruger as director of winemaking for the company.

With over 20 years of winemaking experience and a Ph.D. in wine biotechnology, Dr. Kruger will apply his expertise to the development of Firstleaf’s award-winning wines, leveraging the company’s unique access to member feedback, data and technology to continue to offer its members the highest quality wines from around the world.

Previously based at South AfricaDr. Kruger received an O-1A Extraordinary Ability in Science visa (known colloquially as the “genius visa”) to join Firstleaf at his Napa Valley Headquarter.

Dr Kruger joins Firstleaf from Elgin Vintners, where she served as Commercial Director and Winemaker responsible for the winery’s production, sales, marketing and financial operations. Under Dr. Kruger’s leadership, the business achieved profitability after just two years.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kruger’s deep understanding of how chemistry and data analysis can be applied to the wine industry has resulted in award-winning wines for wineries around the world. Prior to Elgin Vintners, she held several business-critical winemaking positions at Walker Bay Wine Estate, Boutinot South Africa, Namaqua Wines, and more.

“As an expert winemaker and data scientist, Dr. Kruger has the rare combination of skill, passion and expertise that we were looking for,” said Philip James, founder and CEO of Firstleaf. “His understanding of the science and business of wine will bring a new level of innovation to our personalized approach to winemaking.”

The wines produced by Dr. Kruger have been recognized by the most prestigious wine and spirits competitions around the world, including:

World Sauvignon Competition (“Sauvignon World Competition”), 2022, 2021 and 2020

  • Gold Medal, Elgin Vintners Sandstone 2021, Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc
  • Gold Medal, Elgin Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2020
  • Gold Medal, Elgin Vintners Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Michelangelo International Wine Awards, 2020 and 2019

  • Grand D’Or – Double Gold, Ridgelands Pinot Noir 2018
  • Gold, Elgin Vintners Chardonnay 2019
  • Trophy, Best Pinot Noir, Elgin Vintners Pinot Noir 2019

International Wine Challenge, 2022, 2015 and 2013

  • Silver Medal, Elgin Vintners Sandstone Sauvignon Blanc 2021
  • Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc Trophy and South African Sauvignon Blanc Trophy for Mon Vieux Hell’s Height Sauvignon Blanc 2014
  • Outstanding Silver Medal, Mon Vieux Hell’s Heights Sauvignon Blanc 2012

“Firstleaf represents an accumulation of my passions – science and wine,” said Dr. Kruger. “I’m thrilled to join this forward-thinking team of wine experts to further change the way consumers buy and enjoy wine.”

Firstleaf brings together proprietary technology, expert winemakers and a WSET-certified concierge team, to create a unique wine profile for each member and curate each expedition individually. With no predefined packs or boxes, Firstleaf offers over 82 million possible wine combinations and 98% of its monthly boxes are unique. Its team of winegrowers taste more than 10,000 wines each year on 5 continents and 12 countries to select only the best bottles. With over 700,000 12-bottle cases sold last year, Firstleaf is the #1 trusted wine brand in consumer rankings. Nearly one million people have tried Firstleaf since the brand’s inception.

Its wines have won more than 2,800 awards, including more than 300 scores of more than 90 points, and 92% of its wines are award-winning. In 2022, for the second year in a row, Firstleaf appeared on the Inc. 5000 list, which honors America’s fastest-growing private companies. Firstleaf also received Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies award in the Data Science category and was recognized as one of Wine Business Monthly’s Top 50 Wineries. This follows being named Wine Company of the Year in the 2021 Winemaker Challenge International wine competition, one of the only US wine competitions judged exclusively by professional winemakers.

To learn more about Firstleaf, including career opportunities, visit www.premiè

SOURCE First sheet

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