Walt Klenz Wine Business Speakers: Martha Stoumen

Martha Stoumen

Event Date


Handmade with Patience, the Business of Natural Wine

Sales trends of natural wine are notoriously hard to track because of its unclear definition. Still, these wines appear on more and more restaurant wine lists, specialty grocery stores, and wine bars devoted to popularizing low-intervention wines. Martha Stoumen, owner and winemaker at Martha Stoumen Wines, has dedicated herself to natural farming and winemaking with a culture of patience. Watch as she shares her experience and insights into the business of natural wine.


Martha Stoumen is a first-generation winemaker and the founder of Martha Stoumen Wines. She went to work in the vineyard, olive orchard, and winery of a small farm and learning center in Tuscany after studying traditional agricultural systems and Italian during her undergraduate degree. The majority of her farm work took place in the vineyard rather than the winery, so she entered the world of wine production through the lens of a vintner rather than a typical modern California winemaker who spends very little to no time in the vineyard. To learn her craft, Martha spent 8 years apprenticing under other winegrowers around the world and received a Master's Degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis. Martha wanted to work for a winery that centered on dry farming, organics, a wider spectrum of grape varieties, natural winemaking, and customer transparency, so in 2014 she gave herself the job she wanted and founded Martha Stoumen Wines.

Walt Klenz began his California wine industry career in 1973. In 1976, he was named Director of Marketing at Beringer Vineyards. Klenz held a number of senior marketing, financial, and operations positions at Beringer until his appointment in 1990 as President. After Beringer was sold to Foster's Group in 2000, he headed Foster's global wine business. Klenz served on the Advisory Board of ASC Fine Wines from 2008 to 2010 and also serves on the Board of Directors of J. Lohr Winery and Columbia Sportswear Company. He is a past President of Napa Valley Vintners and a past Chairman of the Wine Institute.


This event is part of the Walt Klenz Wine Business Speakers series, which brings leading figures in the domestic and international wine business to the institute for evenings of talks, insights, and unique perspectives about the wine industry.