Martha Stoumen was raised in Sonoma County, California, one of the nation’s leading wine regions –
but she didn't find her passion for winemaking until after her undergraduate degree, living on a farm outside of Siena,
Italy. There, working alongside an Italian farmhand, she managed the vineyards and the olive orchards, making wine and olive
oil for the small surrounding community. Deciding on a career in winemaking, she returned to school at UC Davis’ Department
of Viticulture & Enology. Martha’s experience includes winemaking jobs in Napa, Sonoma, Margaret River, West Australia
and in the Mosel, Germany.
For her Master's thesis Martha
is teaming up with her colleague, Fernando Buscema, to conduct a comparative study on wines made from Malbec, grown in Argentina,
California, and Washington State. Argentine Malbec enjoys a strong identity, but the varietal is also well suited to many
sites in the United States. Martha is involved in Sensory Science and will be exploring the link between vineyard site and
characteristic flavor and aroma profiles using the Descriptive Analysis method. She will integrate the information Fernando
gathers on phenolics into her sensory analysis to determine if these compounds can be linked to the flavors associated with
Malbec from a specific site. The goal of this study is to determine what areas are best for growing Malbec and what sensory
profiles the wines from these sites possess. This information will provide a tool to develop new Malbec vineyards
in the United States as well as inform growing and grape purchasing decisions for those already in production.