Nichole Healey-Finn Wine Club Manager/Enologist
Nichole’s journey into the wine industry starts in the late 80’s running around the Pesenti vineyards in diapers. It wasn’t until her teenage years until she got hands on experience. Punishment in her household came in the form of going to work with her dad. That meant depending on the time of the year it could be pruning, suckering, thinning or bird netting. As her senior year rolled around Kevin finally asked her what she wanted to do with her life? The answer was ‘this’ standing in Bella Luna’s Estate vineyard.
In the fall of 2004, Nichole started the Enology program at Fresno State. Being underage in a winemaking degree, Nichole also enrolled in the Viticulture program, as no age requirements required. At Fresno State Nichole worked in the research lab under Dr. Wample the department chair. It was here she found herself in vineyards all over the central valley, experimenting with new technology to help vineyard managers improve fruit quality. She was also actively involved in the Viticulture Club and Enology Society clubs on campus. Nichole graduated in the spring of 2010 with a BS in Enology.
In the fall of 2010, Nichole went down to the Santa Maria valley to work at Tantara Winery and see the different clones of Pinot Noir. While working at Tantara, Nichole sent her resume to the southern hemisphere to do a spring harvest in 2011. Her resume landed in Larry Cherubino’s hands and she ended up with an internship at Wise Winery in Eagle Bay, Western Australia. This was the harvest that changed her life. She also fell head over heals for her housemate, Lukas. After coming home, and missing her flight by a day, her parents will not let her live that down, she announced she wanted to go back to Australia. A couple months later Lukas flew out from Australia with an extra return trip ticket in hand. Nichole and Lukas tied the knot in January 2012 on a beach in Western Australia. That February they went to work together at 3 Oceans, where Lukas had been working since 2007. They made it though harvest together and continued working together for the next 4 years. Every other year Lukas and Nichole would return to Bella Luna to help her dad with harvest. This was Nichole’s way of finding her passion for winemaking which can easily get smothered at large facilities.
In 2015, they welcomed their first child, Stevie Ray. Nichole and Lukas decided it was best for their daughter if Nichole stayed home with her, so the first time ever Nichole became a harvest widow. For Stevie’s 1st Birthday they came to California so she could meet the American side of her family and do a bit of a harvest as she was born in September. It was then they got an opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to be there own boss and help the family business out. After 2 long and gruelling years dealing with immigration, for the second time, Nichole had to do it to become a permanent resident of Australia, they were approved. In August of 2018 they made the move. Nichole got to do her first full harvest since becoming a mom and felt right at home in the cellar, doing what she knows. She is beyond excited to get out in the vineyard and help plant the new vineyard with him which will also be dry-farmed. She is also looking forward to collaborating on the Estate Riserva with her dad and see if they can make the wine he has been chasing for the last 20 years.