Matthew Meyer, a Winemaker with Deep Roots
Family dinner in the Meyer household did not equate to burgers and fries.
At 4-years-old, Matthew Meyer, today Winemaker at The Williamsburg Winery, savored sips of wine at a dinner table where proper dress was expected, understandable perhaps given his lineage. Matthew is the son of Henry Meyer, one of seven Diamond Consultants worldwide along with being a professor at Purdue University.
“Travel, education, culture were important to him, and he instilled that in his children along with an appreciation for food and wine,” Matthew says. “Unless you had a note from the pope or the queen, you were expected at the dinner table.”
It was well known that his mum, Helen Meyer, was an extraordinary cook, making dinner time something to look forward to.
“I spent many hours in the kitchen with my mum stirring pots, pans and licking spoons . . . a memory I shall always cherish.”
The British citizen moved to Washington, D.C., as a baby and traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe as a young adult, fueling an interest in international relations and public policy, his major at the University of Maryland.
Yes, Matthew was a wine geek, too, “But I thought that was just a hobby,” he says. Yet at a friend’s prodding, he transferred to the University of California-Davis, and completed a Bachelor of Science in Enology and Viticulture, with a minor in Business and Marketing.
Matthew remained in California for his first four years out of college, starting at Grigch Hills and then later at Heitz Cellars, home to Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designed Cabernet Sauvignon, the Martha’s Vineyard. He would later take over the Cellar Select Chardonnay program as Cellar Master and Assistant Winemaker.
Matthew moved to the East Coast in 2002 for the position at The Williamsburg Winery he currently holds. Winemaking in Virginia posed a far different set of challenges.
Matthew immersed himself in growing The Williamsburg Winery into an industry leader. His wines earned numerous Double Gold, Gold and “Best of Class” Awards. His signature blend Adagio was awarded the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Award, bestowed on state’s highest rated wine, in 2014. The Adagio has become one of Virginia’s premier wines, receiving multiple 90+ Point ratings from the renowned Robert Parker Wine Advocate and the Beverage Testing Institute.
Humble about the accolades, Matthew offers this wisdom, shared by Joe Heitz, the legendary winemaker behind the Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, considered among the top 10 wines of the millennium.
“Make no mistake about it, young son,” Heitz advised “Not one person ever makes a wine. It’s a team effort. I didn’t make that wine by myself.”
Matthew treasures those words. “At a winery like this, it takes a team. I want everybody on my team to be involved and to know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I make sure everybody here is happy and taken care of.”
Matthew won’t reveal a favorite wine — “All of them are my children,” he confides. He and his wife, Elena Barber, also of The Williamsburg Winery, enjoy traveling and socializing with friends, over wine, of course.