theresa heredia winemaker

Theresa Heredia, Winemaker, Gary Farrell Winery

theresa herediaTheresa Heredia is back on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger today. She is the winemaker at Gary Farrell Winery and she has been on CWC twice in the last few years, first in April of 2017 and again in December of 2018.

Theresa Heredia from Gary Farrell Winery is back on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger. Steve Jaxon reads from the winery’s website: “’Explore the legacy of our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay roots.’ That’s enough for me! My two favorite wines in the world,” says Steve Jaxon.

The Gary Farrell brand has been around since the early 80s. His first was 1982 when he worked for Rocchioli. Gary went to Fresno State and studied political science and made beer in his dorm room, which is how he got into fermentation science. Dan adds a little to the story, about how Gary’s first job at Davis Bynum was as a handyman. He was painting and doing light construction. All the while he was paying attention to his surroundings and Hampton Bynum gave him a chance to make wine.

From the lab to the vineyards

Theresa Heredia is the current winemaker at Gary Farrell. She comes from Pittsburg California which is not a wine making place. She studied biochemistry as an undergrad at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo then worked in biopharmaceuticals for a short time before starting grad school in biochemistry at UC Davis. When she had meetings with the other chemistry majors where they would describe their work to each other, she discovered the wine program when the enology students brought wine to the meetings. She has been at Gary Farrell for 9 years. Before that she was winemaker at Freestone Vineyards for 10 years.

The Gary Farrell Portfolio of Wines

Dan Berger ads that every bit of equipment at this winery is carefully constructed to get the result that they do, which is delicate wines that go well with food. Theresa Heredia says that Gary Farrell Winery makes “between 24 and 27, approximately” different wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé of Pinot Noir, about 8 different Chardonnays, 12 to 14 Pinots and a Zinfandel.

Dan Berger says of the 2018 Chardonnay, that the last thing you taste is the acid, and it is very smooth. Venovia vineyard is planted in the Burgundian style, the vines are lower and closer together so the plants have more competition. Gary Farrell retired after the 2005 vintage. Dan says that Theresa and others are carrying on a lot of the work that Gary Farrell did in the wine world.

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Next they taste a 2017 Pinot Noir. Dan Berger describes it. It is too young, but has a lot of potential. It’s not a strawberry/raspberry Russian River Valley style. It is more like the Petaluma Gap, having better acidity. It would go well with rare roast beef, says Dan. It’s so young, and it does need time.

Gary Farrell Winery is located in the heart of Russian River Valley on West Side Road. The winery is at the top of a hill, in front of Mt. Jackson. Dan Berger says that Sonoma County people probably don’t go wine tasting, like many people who live in famous cities don’t frequent the local monuments. But Gary Farrell winery is one to visit. Dan tells about some friends who went there and said it was their favorite winery experience.

Next they taste the Taboni vineyard, near Santa Rosa, and it’s a classic Russian River Valley style, strawberries and raspberries with a little bit of wild thyme. Compared to the other one, this is succulent. It’s got more pizzaz, and you can drink it now, even if it’s just a 2018. The 2017 needs more time in the bottle but this one is silky, juicy and delicious right now. Dan Berger likes it because it illustrates what Russian River Valley does best.

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