Director of Winemaking & General Manager
Bob Cabral has been involved in growing and making wine professionally since 1980 and has had an interest in wine and farming since his childhood helping his grandfather make wine in his barn. Growing up pruning grapes, irrigating vineyards and harvest became routine on his family’s 70 acre ranch near Escalon, CA. A fourth generation farmer and grape grower from the great San Joaquin Valley, he took all he learned at the family farm and applied it to his degrees at Fresno State University.
His passion for pinot noir was evident very early on as he would spend every spare dime, and good chunk of his student loans, on buying wine from all over the world - especially Burgundy and Russian River Valley pinot noir. One of the first North Coast wineries he became passionate about was Williams Selyem. He joined their consumer list during graduate school in 1985 as customer #576, soon after experiencing the Williams Selyem 1983 vintage wines.
In the mid 1980’s while working at a large winery south of Fresno, Bob knew that Sonoma County was where he could best hone his skills and learn to make wines that could rival the best made anywhere in the world. He worked the next 11 vintages in various winemaking positions as the Associate Winemaker at De Loach Vineyards, Custom Crush Winemaker at Kunde Estate Winery, Winemaker at Alderbrook Vineyards and Winemaker at Hartford Court Winery. In 1998 Burt Williams recommended that Bob take over for him as Winemaker at Williams Selyem. Bob met with John Dyson, then the new owner of Williams Selyem, and discovered that they shared a similar philosophy about winemaking and viticulture: that the most important aspect of winemaking is in the vineyard. Bob became the winemaker at Williams Selyem July 29, 1998.
Heading into his 15th vintage at Williams Selyem and 33rd at a commercial winery, his winemaking philosophy has not changed: “The key is to respect the vineyard and value the fruit. Working with some of the best grower’s and vineyards in the world allows us to farm to the highest possible standards and provides us with the finest fruit available. That’s more than half the battle in working with Pinot Noir. Once the fruit is taken care of, then we try to intervene as little as possible. While there is no shortage of hard work in the cellar and you must still pay careful attention to detail as great wines are really made in the vineyard. My job is to just guide it along and allow the individual vineyard to be expressed in every bottle.” Bob is an experienced winemaker whose meticulousness and patience yield wines that are authentic expressions of each vineyard site.
Bob was awarded the 2011 Wine Star Award from the Wine Enthusiast Magazine as Winemaker
of the Year.
Bob, his wife Heather and daughter Paige, make their home in the Russian River Valley.