Niki Williams

Senior Winemaker - The Prisoner Wine Company/Mount Veeder Winery

Behind the Brand - Niki Williams

March is Women’s History Month and Constellation Brands is committed to the advancement of women within our company, within our industry, and in our local communities. To get to know some of the women in winemaking, brewing, and distilling roles across our company, we’ll be sharing some Q&A conversations throughout the month. The first installment is a discussion with Niki Williams, Senior Winemaker - The Prisoner Wine Company/Mount Veeder Winery. The Mount Veeder brand received attention in Wine Spectator throughout 2020, including a 93-point score given to the 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet, a feature story in July, inclusion in the November Cabernet Issue cover story, and inclusion in the coveted Top 100 Wines of 2020 list. Congratulations to Niki and the winemaking team on the well-deserved recognition!

What inspired you to first get involved in the wine industry?

I am from a long line of Midwest farmers on both sides of my family, and I wanted to get back to my agrarian roots. Wine is more interesting and more delicious than corn and soybeans, and it smells better than cattle.

What does it mean to you to be a female leader in a male-dominated industry?

Honestly, I do not view my work through the lens of gender. I do not want to be known as a female winemaker; I want to be known as a quality human being who helps others grow great grapes and make great wine. Hopefully, we collectively grow and find joy in this process, too.

What personal attribute has helped to make you successful?

Curiosity. I would rather explore new, random paths than follow an obvious, well-worn trail, and I like to collect unique experiences and perspectives. This never-ending quest to learn and to evolve helps me generate creative ideas and inspires connection and collaboration.

Who is a strong female leader that inspires you?

Stacey Abrams: she perfectly models the strength of empowering others, not just pursuing personal power and success.

What is your go-to weeknight food and wine pairing?

Chianti and pasta. Fast, easy, and classic for a reason.

What is your favorite month in the winemaking process and why?

September. I start every day that month walking through vineyards in one of the world’s prettiest places, and I’ve yet to hit the end-of-harvest, running-on-fumes, did-I-brush-my-teeth, re-wearing-dirty-jeans days of October.