Born and raised in the Dry Creek Valley, Clay is part of the sixth generation of a grape-growing
family. Pioneers from Sweden, they raised Merino sheep for the wool and planted their first
vines on land they settled in 1868, an area that now anchors the Rockpile AVA.
After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1997, Clay returned to Sonoma County,
where he worked at Kenwood Vineyards, and later honed his skills alongside winemakers at
Jordan Vineyards and Winery, Taft Street Winery and Dry Creek Vineyard. In 1998, the
Mauritson Family Winery was founded with the first bottling of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
Clay is committed to making wines that exemplify a sense of place, and his philosophy of
winemaking is simple: “You need exceptional fruit to make exceptional wine.” And his heritage
provides an advantage -- with more than 350 acres of family owned vineyards and strong
relationships built over decades with other growers, Clay has access to some of the best grapes in
Clay lives in Healdsburg with his wife Carrie, sons Brady and Davis, and daughter, Ella. He has
been President of both the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Rockpile Grape Growers
Association and served on the board of the Sonoma County Vintners Barrel Auction Committe.
Clay also is a founding board member of the Down Syndrome Association North Bay (DSANB).
The nonprofit raises awareness, promotes advocacy, furthers educational pursuits, and supports
research to improve the lives of people with Down Syndrome and their families. Along with his
wife, Carrie, and close friend, Chef Charlie Palmer, Clay launched “Project Zin” in 2012, and the
now annual event has raised more than $500,000 for DSANB.
At U of O, Clay earned a degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and
a minor in Finance. He also played outside linebacker for the Ducks, including in the 1995 Rose
Bowl and 1996 Cotton Bowl, exhibiting the intense drive, discipline and dedication to excellence
that continues to help him succeed today: “What inspires me is the challenge of making wine that
removes all outside influence, including ego, and creates the path of least resistance to allow a
specific vineyard site to live up to its full, unique potential,” he says. “That, to me, is the true
competitive spirit of making great wine and the essence of perfection!”