Our Past, Present and Future
Beginning in the late 1970s, Gary Farrell was working with seminal Russian River Valley vintners such as Davis Bynum, Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger and Robert Stemmler – a group that was instrumental in showcasing the world-class Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of the nascent Russian River Valley AVA, a breathtaking, redwood-studded wine region 55 miles north of San Francisco whose mighty river cuts a scenic swath through the heart of Sonoma County. He made his first wine under the Gary Farrell label in 1982 and built the winery into one of the most acclaimed producers of small-lot Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Russian River Valley.
Gary built a state-of-the-art winery in 2000 on a ridge overlooking the Russian River Valley. The barrel room and cellar reflect his legendary obsession with cleanliness, natural process flow, small-tank fermentations, top-flight French oak cooperage and meticulous attention to detail. With its northeastern orientation, the "crush pad" houses custom belt systems for gently moving and hand-sorting grapes, European presses and varying sizes of temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The fermentation room is a winemaker’s dream with ample room between the rows of small custom-designed, open-top stainless steel tanks, raised tank pads and pneumatic punch-down devices. The barrel rooms allow for precise temperature and humidity control to provide a perfect environment for fermentations and barrel aging.
Although he sold the winery in 2004, the Winery continues its collaborative partnerships with many of the same growers we’ve worked with for 30+ years as well as Gary’s legacy of crafting wines that capture the unique character of the vineyard.
Today, Gary Farrell Winery is in the capable hands of The Vincraft Group, a fine wine investment company led by a trio of top wine industry executives: Pete Scott, former CFO of Beringer Wine Estates; Walt Klenz, former president and CEO of Beringer Wine Estates; and Bill Price, owner of famed Durell Vineyard and Gap's Crown Vineyard, and a partner in Kistler Vineyards.
Vincraft is actively nurturing Gary Farrell’s legacy of producing small lots of Burgundian-styled, varietally expressive and regionally distinctive Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. This regimen is being maintained and evolved by Winemaker Theresa Heredia
, a highly respected winemaker who has long specialized in small-lot, single-vineyard wines. She joined Gary Farrell Winery in 2012 from Freestone Vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation, where she achieved significant critical acclaim, including “Winemaker to Watch” honors from the San Francisco Chronicle
Over the years, Gary Farrell Winery wines have garnered innumerable awards and accolades, but we’re not satisfied with the status quo. We are preserving Gary Farrell’s legacy while striving to push quality to an even higher level. To that end, we are seeking additional elite grape sources within the Russian River Valley to elevate wine quality even further.
Gary Farrell Winery is a “Grand Cru” of the Russian River Valley. Year in and year out, our wines achieve the pinnacle of wine quality and regional typicity to be found in the appellation, but we’re not resting on our laurels. With new vineyards coming on line and the various experiments we’re conducting, our wines will continue to grow and evolve.
Our winery’s hallmark wine style remains one of balance, elegance and purity of varietal expression over power and brawn. Gary Farrell Winery wines are conceived for the table, beautifully complement food, and are built to age gracefully in bottle. They perennially appeal to discerning wine lovers eager to experience the pure essence of the Russian River Valley. In the elegantly appointed tasting room at Gary Farrell Winery, that experience comes with a breathtaking view.