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Nikolai Stez is the Woodenhead winemaker. He has been at fermentation since he was a boy making the traditional Russian drink “kvas” (a fermented bread or fruit drink) that his immigrant parents taught him to make. In college, he made wines for his biology and botany classes, and started making home wines in earnest since 1986. Nick worked for 17 years of crush fun for the famous “two guys in a garage cult winery” that put Russian River Valley Pinot on the map. Working for Burt Williams as an assistant winemaker confirmed his life’s passion for wine. Born in San Francisco and living on the Russian River since age one, he considers the North Coast his back yard and knows it well, from Sonoma County north to Humboldt and Del Norte.