Stephen Ross Wine Cellars

San Luis Obispo Small Production Urban Winery

Stephen Dooley

Owner, Founder, Winemaker since 1994

Stephen Ross Dooley headshot

Background: I grew up in the upper Midwest and call Minnesota “home”. My mother was a geography professor and dean, and I have two siblings. I attended Mankato State University and the University of California, Davis, to earn a degree in Enology. I spent 10 years making wine in the Napa Valley, two harvests “down under” in South Africa and Australia, before coming to the Edna Valley, where I worked for others for seven years, and then launched Stephen Ross in 1994. I met Paula in 1989, married in 1995, and we have two incredible kids. 

Wine Inspiration: Turning sunlight into wine – I get to make it, and yet it makes itself – all part of the science, artistry, agriculture and magic of winemaking. Really, it is all I ever wanted to do. 

Hobbies: Drinking good wine and enjoying good food, woodworking, running, swimming and gardening.

What I Do: It would be easier to say “What I don’t do at the winery.” You name it, I do it; from winemaking to wineglass polishing…

Paula Dooley

Crew Member since 1994, Owner since 1995

Background: I grew up mostly in San Antonio, Texas. My dad was career Army, my mom was a nurse and I am the youngest of four children. I went to the THE University of Texas at Austin and earned my degree in Business Finance. I had some great jobs in aviation-related and corporate finance for 13 years and for which I am eternally grateful because they brought me to me to San Luis Obispo. I was able to use my business background to help Steve found and grow Stephen Ross. At the same time, we grew our family with two fantastic children, currently teenagers.

Wine Inspiration: I met Steve in 1989, and to fall in love with Steve was to fall in love with wine.   I am inspired by small wineries worldwide who passionately and painstakingly produce interesting wines.

Hobbies: Drinking wine (of course), swimming (anytime, anywhere), reading and yoga. I’d like to say travel, but we don’t have time to do much… someday.

What I Do: All the business-side of things.  It isn’t as exciting as being the winemaker, but it suits me well :-)

Maureen "Mo" Forsberg

Crew Member since 2012, Tasting Room Associate

Background: I have been involved in the community of San Luis Obispo for over 30 years. In my many jobs that I've had, my favorites have been working for the Chamber of Commerce and for Stephen Ross. I recently resigned from the Chamber of Commerce; but continue to work at Stephen Ross because I love the wines, and we have an awesome team here. 

Wine Inspiration: Chardonnay is my "go to" glass of wine, but I would never turn down a glass of Steve Dooley's wonderful Pinot Noir. 

Hobbies: Powerwalks, reading, binge watching on Netflix, and reading about, talking about and drinking wine.

Julian Hart

Crew member since 2018, Marketing & Tasting Room Associate

Julian Hart headshot

Background: I grew up in Venice Beach, California and came up to San Luis Obispo to go to Cal Poly! My degree is a BS in Graphic Communication which led me into graphics and marketing here at Stephen Ross. I took the job because of my interest in wine but a big part of it was also the opportunity to stay in San Luis Obispo, and now I find myself part of an amazing team!

Wine Inspiration: What really fascinates me is the way that wine is ever changing and how everyone interacts with it in their own way. Things like how a bottle could be predicted to taste better after a few years of aging but how are you going to compare that to the bottle you open today. Other things like  how the name, the label and presentation effects the perceived value of a wine. It is an industry that is ever changing and I want to see what I can do with that.

Hobbies: Surfing, drawing and painting, photography, beer, wine, cooking, and then just throw me into the wild.