Meet Our Winemaker

Michael Pierce

Michael Pierce,
Director of Enology

Please join us in welcoming Michael Pierce, our new Director of Enology. Michael is an Arizona native who has been working in the Verde Valley wine industry for the last four years.

Along with Nikki Check, Director of Viticulture, Michael will oversee the establishment of the Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College and all operations associated with wine making. He will also teach up to 9 credit hours per semester.

Michael grew up in the Phoenix area and graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2004. Shortly after graduating from college, Michael began taking classes for viticulture and enology from Washington State and found his passion for wine making. He and his father now have a 27 acre vineyard in Willcox, AZ.

Michael is an Arizona native who graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2004 with a degree in Electronic Media/Visual Communication and worked for a number of companies for 5 years. He enrolled in the UC Davis Enology extension program in 2005, then switched to Washington State University’s program in 2007, and upon completion there received his Certificate in Enology in 2009.

Michaels’ first grape harvest was at Delegat’s Wine Estate in Hawkes Bay New Zealand in 2009, followed by a stint at 12th and Maple in Oregon, and then Tamar Ridge Winery in Tasmania in 2010 before getting a position with Arizona Stronghold as a cellar hand in July 2010 and worked his way up to Winemaker in 2013.

Michael brings an excellent palate and knowledge of wines, winemaking and viticulture with him to Yavapai College.