Heron Wines: a “2012 Value Brand of the Year” Wine & Spirits Magazine, June 2012
Heron Wines Manifesto
"Distinctive, delicious wines from the best places on earth.
We at Heron Wines believe that delicious wines should be an unalienable right. Yes, an overstatement, but we really think that high-quality, approachable wine should not come at a huge price. For years, we have heard from wine lovers from around the globe that we consistently exceed their expectations for quality, style, and balance.
Geography & appellation
Our wines come from some of the greatest growing regions in the world. Our original wine was a groundbreaking Merlot from St. Chinian in southwest France. Today we make wine in California, France and Spain; and our focus is on the purity of fruit. We go where the best grapes are grown in order to maximize the natural characteristics of the wines we make.
We don’t own any vineyards. This allows us to spend our money where it matters (on exceptional grapes and barrels, not mortgages.) By establishing both short and long-term contracts with our growers, we have the benefits of consistency and flexibility. We are picky about the vineyard locations, and that they are managed by people as passionate about quality as we are. Whenever possible, we work with vineyards that are certified or managed organically, biodynamically, or at the very least, sustainably. Most of our vineyards are dry-farmed, and we generally prefer old-vine, higher elevation, marine-influenced vineyards with moderate climates, allowing for slower maturation of intensely flavorful grapes.
We firmly believe in the “less is more” philosophy; a winemaker’s job is to allow the best qualities of the fruit to shine through. Our grapes are picked at peak intensity then treated gently throughout the winemaking process. This often means hand-harvesting, hand-sorting, and extended maceration for the reds. We are one of the few wineries in California not using malolactic fermentation on Chardonnay because we prefer the natural bright acidity of the grape. We prefer to use French oak barrels including some we make at a cooperage using old-growth oak from France’s Tronçais Forest. Our goal is to make wines of character and soul rather than sameness, not according to a formula or projected return on investment. In the end, we believe that elegance, balance and complexity are what wine lovers appreciate most.
My unconventional childhood–living in mining towns on four continents–fostered my love of travel and adventure. My desire is to explore and to experience the cultures, foods and wines of the world. Wanderlust and curiosity have led me on many paths including studying winemaking in Bordeaux, opening a restaurant and importing wine in Denmark, and Master of Wine studies. With this love of wine and an entrepreneurial spirit, I started Heron Wines in 1994 with little more than a credit card, a “business plan” sketched out on a napkin, and an idea to make great and affordable wine. Even today, I continue my global exploration to make distinctive and delicious wines from the best places on earth."
An additional important note worth mentioning is that Laely is committed to sourcing strictly sustainable fruit with a strong preference for Biodynamic viticulture and these methods yield LIVING wines with impressive depth and breadth.