Winemaker Heather Pyle
Heather Pyle moved to the United States with her family from England while in grade school...following a lifelong dream of her father to raise his family in America. While in college at UC Davis, Heather fell into a life of learning about, making and loving wine and in 1985, she completed her Masters in Winemaking at Davis.
The first gig, a harvest internship at The Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley, which was the beginning of a long learning, tasting, blending and consequently rewarding career with the “first family” of wine in California. Heather says her time at Mondavi did more to shape her views on wine and food than anything else probably ever could have accomplished.
Mondavi in the 1980’s and early 1990's was the ultimate wine university, where tasting the world’s wines and talking to world famous winemakers was an everyday occurrence. Mr Mondavi (Robert) was in relentless pursuit of wines that were “as powerful as a Pavarotti and as soft as a baby’s bottom”. Heather caught that fever early on and still feels today that wines should be balanced, seamless and above all drinkable.
From 1989 through 1996, Heather crafted Mondavi’s Napa Valley Cabernet and Merlot based wines. In 1997, Heather was named General Manager and Winemaker at La Famigia di Robert Mondavi, which was taking shape at what used to be the Vichon winery on the hill in Oakville.
After a long stint travelling and tasting in Tuscany, Heather developed four vintages at La Famiglia, making Barbera, Sangiovese, a Super Tuscan styled wine, Pinotgrigio and a Frizzante Moscato. It was great fun and a great experience managing people, wine styles and vineyards at the same time.
After a successful career with the Monday family, in May of 2001, Heather decided to applying her experiences to helping small wineries in Napa, Lodi and throughout California. The bond that is formed over a mutual desire to make great wine and the many ways to get there that keeps me inspired.
As Heather worked more in the Lodi Appellation, she learned a ton about farming and the different challenges and rewards that this vast area of grapes has to offer. She also has a major role in the winemaking at the Lucas Winery where they specialize in Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Together with her husband and fellow Winemaker Dave Lucas, they farm 3 acres as certified organic for our own label and an organically certified Cabernet and Merlot vineyard in south-east Napa.
Heather says it would be hard to overstate how much she grew as a winemaker in 10 years of ‘farming’. From suckering to the pick, she did all the work herself, including the installation of her own frost protection.
Heather says since 2002 David and her have formed a life bond that goes way beyond wine. Living among the vines and wines, where they share a passion for wine, life and travel.