Lorenzo Dalla Brea was exposed to agriculture at a young age having grown up in Tuscany, Italy, where his grandfather managed the family farm. His family planted a variety of produce, including olives, grapes and tomatoes, and each year, they would harvest the farm together. While Lorenzo loved the practice of agriculture, his parents hoped he would pursue a professional career in business, so Lorenzo chose to study Accounting in high school. He tried a variety of professions after graduating, always searching for a career he could be passionate about, but Lorenzo found it difficult to find an occupation in business that he loved, so he decided to return to a practice he knew he enjoyed—agriculture.
Lorenzo enrolled in a viticulture program in Florence and earned his Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology. Through this program, he was able to get hands-on experience in the vineyards, working several harvests across Italy, and gaining exposure to international varietals. After graduating, Lorenzo decided to continue his education and earned a Masters Degree in Winemaking, as well.
After completing his formal education, Lorenzo worked harvests across the world, including California and Australia, and he decided to settle in Napa after meeting and marrying his wife—a Sonoma County native. Lorenzo also has a love of 1970’s Americana music, so settling in California suited him perfectly.
In Napa, he worked as a viticulturist for Domaine Chandon and Newton Vineyards, where he gained diverse experience, traveling across the North Coast managing the brand’s various properties. Lorenzo first visited Hess at this time with his parents who fell in love with The Hess Collection. Little did they know that just a few years later their son would be the winery’s Director of Vineyard Operations.
Driven by the desire to continually grow as a viticulturalist and expand his skill-set, Lorenzo left Domaine Chandon to become the Vineyard Manager for Antinori Wine Estates in Napa Valley where he had the opportunity to oversee all operations and spearhead an aggressive replanting project. Despite the growth this role provided, Mount Veeder always held a special place in his heart as it reminded him of his home in Tuscany with its Mediterranean climate. When Lorenzo had the chance to join The Hess Collection team, he took the opportunity to apply the knowledge and understanding of his native land to the place he now calls home.
Lorenzo most enjoys and appreciates working in the serenity of nature, and he values his role acting as a steward of the vineyards, saying it is his responsibility as the viticulturist to “interpret his surroundings.” He also strives to integrate sustainable practices into every aspect of grape growing at Hess, thereby honoring Donald Hess’ credo “nurture the land and return what you take.”
Like Donald Hess, Lorenzo considers it his responsibility to honor and respect the land, as well as those that inhabit it. “Many people think the job of winegrowing is just growing grapes, but it’s not just that, it’s about nurturing the earth and caring for the land we have the privilege to farm,” he says.