Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry attended the University of California at Davis to study biology, eventually graduating with a BS in Genetics. “I had good lab skills and a desire to do something both creative and technical, and that first harvest I worked in Carneros as a lab technician. I had the good fortune to work for a man who was not only a good winemaker but a mentor. He must have answered a million questions, and I was hooked” Harry went on to work on bottling lines and in cellars during the following few years, before returning to Davis for his Master’s in Enology, with an emphasis in studying wine yeasts during fermentation.
Following graduation, Harry went to work for Gloria Ferrer Caves in Sonoma, making sparkling wine, barrel fermented Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. In 2001, he moved to Edna Valley Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, where he quickly developed a reputation for innovation and consistently high quality in Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Under his leadership, Edna Valley Vineyard grew quickly, began production of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Not content with this, Harry also revived Edna’s Reserve Wine program, making some exciting reserve quality Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Syrahs with innovative techniques and risk-taking winemaking. “It’s curiosity and a hunger to do something better, something new, that drives me. How can I better express the beauty of a vineyard site and flavor of the grapes in a glass of wine?”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”