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Gary Farrell’s Theresa Heredia on Early Picking, Great Vineyards & Overripe Bananas

August 18, 2020

Wine industry luminaries Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher recounted their history with Gary Farrell Winery in a recent Grape Collective story.

The pair was first introduced to the wines during a visit to Sonoma in 1987, and while Gary Farrell sold the pioneering Russian River Valley winery almost 20 years ago they report that it “continues to produce outstanding, site-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” and that “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.”

Gaiter and Brecher spoke with Heredia recently during a Zoom tasting, where they said “she tries to give all the credit to those awesome vineyards,” adding a quote from Heredia: “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.” While this is true, they continued, “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. 

“I like to pick on the earlier end of the ripeness spectrum. And when you pick earlier you capture these really vibrant, fresh aromatics, more floral and mineral and citrus as opposed to riper golden fruit like ripe apples, ripe pears, tropical fruit, pineapple – those aren’t the qualities I’m looking for.    

“When I eat bananas or I eat peaches or nectarines, I don’t like to eat fruit when they are softening and beginning to get overripe. I like them when they’re fresh. Bananas, as soon as they get spots, I don’t like to eat them anymore because they don’t have that fresh vibrant flavor anymore and they don’t have as much tangy acidity.

Gaiter & Brecher share further context on her philosophy of early picking, as well as other great gems that define Heredia’s winemaking style, which you can read in full HERE

GFW_GrapeCollective_8.14.2020

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