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Grape Collective | Gary Farrell’s Theresa Heredia on Early Picking, Great Vineyards and Overripe Bananas

BY DOROTHY J. GAITER AND JOHN BRECHER

PUBLISHED ON: 8/14/2020

Wineries all over California bear the name of someone who sold the brand – and hence their own name – long ago. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well. In 1986, we had an excellent Gamay from Charles Shaw, whose name was later bought and is now better known as Two-Buck Chuck. Sometimes it works out fine. Almost 20 years ago, Gary Farrell sold his pioneering winery in the Russian River Valley and it continues to produce outstanding, site-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Much of that success can be attributed to Theresa Heredia, the winemaker since 2012, and to a management team that simply wanted the best person for the job – and found a third-generation Mexican-American woman at a time when, even more than now, there were not many winemakers who were either.

Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery made stunning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from great vineyards and that is still the case – names like Rochioli, Sanford & Benedict, Bien Nacido, Durell and Fort Ross. And Heredia, 50, like many winemakers, tries to give all the credit to those awesome vineyards: “If you’re choosing to work with the best sites possible, my goal as a winemaker is to — pardon my French — not f— it up.” But when we called Heredia recently, we were reminded that, while great wines start in the vineyard, they ultimately also express the soul of the winemaker, who must make about a million decisions, big and small, that ultimately determine how that wine tastes. In Heredia’s case, it all comes back to bananas and peaches…. Read more at Grape Collective

Russian River Valley Vineyards

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