A native Californian who grew up in St. Helena, Natalie Bath came back to the Napa Valley after graduating college with the intention of applying to law school. However, she fell back in love with the beauty of the Napa Valley and gained a new appreciation for wine while working at Angèle restaurant, and set about to explore if winemaking was the right path for her.
Natalie completed her first harvest with an internship at Etude in 2010, embracing the long hours, manual labor, and comradery that comes with harvest. She then spent the first part of the 2011 vintage in the Southern Hemisphere at Villa Maria in New Zealand, and the second part of 2011 at Littorai in Sebastopol, getting her first experience with biodynamics working under Ted Lemon. Not knowing where to go next and determined to make winemaking her career, a conversation with longtime friend Samantha Rudd turned into an opportunity to work harvest at Rudd Estate in 2012, and she has worked her way up the ladder ever since.
“It was like finally coming home — I grew up playing in the vineyards and running around the estate as a kid with Samantha. Being here just felt right.” In 2014, Natalie joined the Winemaking team fulltime as a cellar hand and became the oenologist in 2016. An opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, allowing Natalie to travel overseas to work harvest at Château Pétrus in 2016. Coming back from her travels refreshed and rejuvenated, Natalie became the Assistant Winemaker in 2017 at Rudd Estate, and the following year the Lead Winemaker for Crossroads.
After nearly a decade influencing the wines both in the cellar and in the vineyards by innovating the white wine program, helping the vineyard team integrate biodynamics into our organic farming practices, refining our wine analysis program, launching our companion Crossroads label, blending 8 vintages of Rudd wines, and creating our first vintage of sparkling wine, Natalie became Winemaker of Rudd Estate in 2021, a plan that had been many years in the making.