As Ayca O. Revaz immersed herself in winemaking as an intern in Cappadocia, a winemaking region two hours from where she grew up in Turkey, her curiosity took over. “How is wine made in the rest of the world?” she remembers wondering. She researched regions that offered the freedom to make wine using innovative methods and found her answer – California.
Her first stop was the University of California Davis, where Ayca participated in a summer research project in food technology in 2013. While there, she volunteered to make small-scale wine for graduate student projects. That’s when she realized she had an affinity for cool-climate varieties.
“Chardonnay has a very special place in my heart,” she says, adding that the citrus blossom and stone fruit aromas transport her to “a joyful, peaceful place.”
Ayca returned to Turkey a year later and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Food Engineering from the Middle East Technical University. She couldn’t wait to get back in the vineyards of California and immediately began looking for new internship opportunities. In 2014, she landed a job making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at a winery in Healdsburg, which solidified her decision to stay in California. She then set her sights on the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Master’s program, taking a job there as a researcher until she got accepted into the program and graduated in 2018.
Not long after, she was approached to work as a microbiologist with E. & J. Gallo Winery. This new role took her a few hours south into the acclaimed Central Coast growing region. In 2020, she seized the “opportunity of a lifetime” to work at Talbott Vineyards, making cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
“Not every enologist gets to do what I do,” Ayca says. Working closely with Talbott winemaker David Coventry, Ayca works on making barrel selections and monitoring the vines. At the same time, she continues to build her skills through the mentorship she experiences with Women Behind the Wine. “I try to stay connected with other female winemakers, especially at J Vineyards and Pahlmeyer. They’re my idols,” she says.
Ayca lives in Marina, California, and relishes being just a mile from the Pacific Ocean, where she and her family enjoy walks along the beach with their dog. When she isn’t in the cellar, Ayca hones her baking skills, trying new recipes for breads and French pastries. “A flour-coated counter and kitchen filled with my family is my happy place,” she says.