The 12 years of various winemaking and business experience does not create the extensive picture of Stephens’ on his canvas of life. A second generation winemaker, Stephens grew up on the grounds of the Petri Winery in Escalon, where his father, Ed, was a winemaker for Italian Swiss Colony. Stephens was a participant in the wine industry throughout his adolescent years in all walks of winery life. After studying abroad at Lund University, Sweden and Durham University, England Stephens returned to California and graduated from Santa Clara University. Stephens went to work for the world’s largest barrel producer, Copperage 1912, living in the Midwest and honing his barrel knowledge before returning to California to become a fulltime winemaker. Stephens’ first professional winemaking tenure was at Bronco Wine Company for six harvests during the creation of the successful Charles Shaw brand. Stephens directed all aspect of production during his years at Bronco from the barrel program to the red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Stephens then ventured South to make wine in Argentina, as he desired to expand his conversation ability with the Spanish language. Upon returning to the States, Stephens shifted his focus to small lot Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir programs, as a winemaker for the prestigious estate producer Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards.
Years later, Stephens fatefully crossed paths with childhood friend, Mathew Bruno. The chance encounter brought together two enthusiastic friends with a vision for a premium wine program. In 2009, Stephens signed on to join the Mathew Bruno Wines team to create a premium Napa Valley wine program with the Bruno family.