Courtney Humiston

Sommelier, Journalist

Healdsburg, California

Courtney Humiston

Courtney is a professional writer and sommelier based in Northern California. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America's Advanced Wine and Beverage Program, a Certified Sommelier and has worked two harvests in Napa and Sonoma in vini- and viticulture. Courtney contributes regularly to, 7x7 magazine and her work as appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The World of Fine Wine and Sonoma Magazine, among many other publications.


Down to Earth

Somm Journal Link to Story

To See the World in a Grain of Rice

Somm Journal Link to Story

Acid Test: Acidification in Napa Valley

The adding of tartaric acid to wine in California has been a common practice for years. But is it necessary in napa valley, asks Courtney Humiston, if the region is actually higher in natural acidity than many people realize? Why has acidification become so routine? and how much better balanced and longer-lived might some of the wines be if the solution were sought in the vineyard rather than in the winery?
The World of Fine Wine Link to Story

Coombsville shines as Napa's new star

For nearly 30 years, Tom Farella referred to the area where he grows grapes and makes wine as "the region just southeast of the town of Napa," which doesn't exactly make for the sexiest copy on a wine label. That changed in late 2011 when the horseshoe-shaped valley, formed by a volcanic caldera, got its name - quite literally - on the map. Now Farella's wine proudly bears the designation Coombsville. Still not sexy, perhaps, but at least distinct. Or is it?
San Francisco Chronicle Link to Story

Wine City

If the very thought of Wine Country evokes images of stretch limos teeming with feather boa-draped bachelorette parties, hordes of Midwesterners bellied up at tasting room bars, and grapevine-swathed, cork and barrel everything, you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But off the beaten path, curious city folk may find tiny civilized hubs where the art and design are contemporary, the cuisine is cutting-edge, and the shopping is more Manolo Blahnik than The North Face.
7x7 Magazine Link to Story

Inside the CIA

As the sun rises over the vineyards of Charles Krug, at the northern end of Napa Valley, the light dramatically illuminates the stone surface of the three- story castle-like Greystone building. Home now to the West Coast outpost of the Culinary Institute of America, it rises like a fortress from the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas mountain range—a remnant of Napa Valley’s first boom time when Catholic missionaries, European entrepreneurs and ambi- tious frontiersman flocked to the fertile valley to farm and build and, of course, make wine. Up the same stairs that winemakers at the turn of the century once climbed to check on fermentations and perform punchdowns, students in freshly pressed and spotlessly white chef coats now trudge through an early morning fog, lugging their “chef roll” of knives and meat thermometers and pastry-making paraphernal
SONOMA Magazine Link to Story

The Art of Grapevine Pruning

On a cold morning in January, one of the coldest mornings in a season of very cold mornings, it might not look like much is happening in the vineyards of Sonoma, but this is when the growing season truly begins. We’re standing in a chardonnay vineyard on Carriger Road just a few miles from the Sonoma Plaza, waiting for Steve Matthiasson—who planted the vineyard in 2006—to teach us about balance. About how what he does now, when the vines are dormant and tourism has migrated from Wine Country to Puerto Vallarta, will affect the balance in next year’s wine.
Sonoma Magazine Link to Story

Sonoma producers protest new labelling law

Small producers in Sonoma County are angered by new legislation requiring them to label their wines Sonoma County even if they are part of specific sub-appellations. Under the new law, which comes into force on 1 January 2014, a Russian River Valley producer will to also have indicate the broader and geographically diverse ‘Sonoma County’, which spans 400,000ha and includes 15 sub-AVAs on the front label.
Decanter Link to Story

Settling The Scores: SF Somms Influence California Winemaking

San Francisco sommeliers are nurturing a new california style that celebrates wines with a sense of individuality—conventional point system be damned.
7x7 Magazine Link to Story

Tasting 50 Years of Legendary Napa Valley Wine

What if we could assemble every winery that put Napa Valley on the map? And what if we could taste the most important wine they ever made? The answer, of course, is that would one would be one epic tasting. And it was.

US consumers 'confused' by multiple Sonoma AVAs |

Sonoma Valley has announced the launch of a new campaign to differentiate the region from the larger Sonoma Coast and even larger Sonoma County AVA.
Decanter Link to Story

Is That a Whole Cluster in Your Pinot or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Makers and drinkers of pinot noir gather to discuss the meaning and merits of stem inclusion When you're a tasting a glass of pinot noir, how do you know - can you even tell and does it matter - whether or not the wine was made with the whole clusters and not just the grapes?
Tabletograve Link to Story


Courtney Humiston

Courtney moved to Napa Valley from New York City — where she was covering food and wine as a reporter for NBC New York — in 2010 to study under the direction of Karen MacNeil at the Culinary Institute of America, where she also earned the designation as a Certified Sommelier through The Court of Master Sommeliers. She has worked at PRESS restaurant, which has the largest and deepest collection of California wines in the world, in the cellar of The Scholium Project for the 2011 harvest and as a viticulture technician for Boisset Family Estates. She has been honored as a fellowship recipient at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and was selected to be a Wine Specialist for the Concourse Mondial in Slovakia. She currently serves as the Wine Director at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen.