The Story of Mommenpop
How it started, our citrus obsession, and why we make our own wine.
HOW IT STARTED
Mommenpop started tiny - 23 cases tiny - as a kind of weird thing happening in Napa. In 2017, winemaker Samantha Sheehan and her husband Michael were on a spritz kick, drinking them almost daily over the course of a particularly hot California summer. Sam developed Mommenpop at home that year - just for her family and friends - as a less-sweet, dye-free alternative to aperitifs that she loves but that were just so sweet. She used locally-grown peak-season Seville oranges and a juicy base of her own Chardonnay. That first barrel got people talking and Sam and Michael’s summer drink ended up in Wine & Spirits Magazine later that same year as one of their Top New Spirits of 2017.
AS SEEN IN
“It’s a joy to drink”
“Hard to compare to other styles of [aperitifs] you might be familiar with, eschewing the traditional herbal and bitter aspects for bright, exuberant, fruitiness.”
“It’s the perfect gift for every level of home bartender, and universally delicious”
“Mellow citrus peel, marigold, baked-croissant aromas…the essence of a fresh California moment. Perhaps appropriate for breakfast.”
THE CITRUS OBSESSED
Our citrus obsession began in 1991, when our founder Samantha was eight years old. Her family’s house in Los Angeles had a beautiful Meyer Lemon tree in the backyard. With both of her parents working full time, she had to find ways to entertain herself - and so she started up a 25 cent lemonade stand. She would slice the backyard lemons, squeeze them with her little electric juicer, and mix in a bit of sugar.
Today we are proud to make an adult version with the same love and care Sam gave to her lemonade. Our citrus is fresh, organic, never waxed, and stays on the trees until it reaches peak ripeness. This gives our aperitifs a signature round and juicy mouthfeel, and a sun-drenched California vibrancy.
THE WINE - WE MAKE OUR OWN
What is a wine doing in an aperitif you ask? Wine is the base for aperitifs, and at Mommenpop we do something different - we make our own base wine. As you may have seen above (see more below) our founder Samantha is a winemaker. Samantha handmakes the base wine for Mommenpop with either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes grown in Napa Valley. Why is this important? The taste is amazing compared to commercially available bulk wine, and making our own wine means that we can control the amount of natural sugars and flavors so that we don’t have to add refined sugar, artificial flavors, or essences later.
WHO WE ARE
Winemaker Samantha Sheehan and designer Michael McDermott are the married couple behind Mommenpop.
Samantha has been making Champagne method sparkling wine, rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Cabernet under the brands Poe Wines and Ultraviolet Wines for 10 years. She has been featured in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40, Forbes, Bloomberg, the New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and many others.
Michael is an artist, designer, and bon vivant with a love for good food and drink. He is known for creating iconic wine labels like Favia, Matthiasson, and Donkey and Goat, and he is the designer behind Mommenpop’s packaging. His career spans 20 years and hundreds of brands and labels created alongside winemakers such as Paul Hobbs, Andy Erickson, and Celia Welch.
Samantha and Michael live in Napa with their two sons Owen and Cash, and their lurcher dog Jet.